For anyone that has children, youíll be more than familiar with the long list of demands placed on a list for Father Christmas to bring on the 25th December. Many of them will no doubt be bulky, and we reckon that Santa Claus could do with an SUV the size of an Ateca in order to get everything in. With a capacious boot of 510 litres with the seats up and 1,604 litres with the rear chairs folded down, more importantly thereís a relatively low loading sill by SUV standards, with a tall space where you can really stack the gifts. This month our Ateca has been used to transport the Wright family Christmas tree home, and we managed to avoid replicating the hilarious scenes in National Lampoonís Christmas Vacation. Instead we picked up a more modestly sized tree and got it all in without needing to fold down the front seat. And while the treeís upper branches poked through the centre of the car, it still left plenty of room and a pair of seats for the driver and a willing elf. In fact, had we needed to, we could have angled the tree in such a way that it was still possible to carry an extra rear passenger in the one third portion of the 60/40 split/fold rear seats. It just underlines the flexibility of vehicles like the Ateca, adapting to family demands at the drop of a hat. While the Ateca swallowed the Christmas tree with ease, the space inside the house wasnít so voluminous, and so some vigorous hacking of the branches was needed so that it would fit. Note to myself: try to get a smaller tree next year, one that doesnít resemble the Norwegian spruce at Trafalgar Square.
This month it has been all about short journeys, both to work and darting around picking up gifts in readiness of the festive season. With the temperatures taking a nose dive in recent weeks, the fuel economy figure has dropped a little, too, although not quite as much as I had feared. Our current statistics are a little over 30 per cent worse than the official figures, and we all know how optimistic they are, but Iím hoping to see an improvement over the coming weeks as longer journeys are tackled. I can feel the engine loosening up nicely under my right foot, and that should reap rewards at the fuel pumps as the miles pile on. Despite a modest power output of just 114bhp, and an acceleration figure of 11.5 seconds, thereís more than enough punch to keep up with traffic. Iíve noticed a background drone at motorway speeds that Iím finding quite annoying, a similar sound to what weíve experienced in other Volkswagen Group cars, including the Skoda Superb. Since becoming aware, just a few days after the car arrived, my ears have become attuned to it and therefore is more annoying. Passengers havenít mentioned it, yet, so maybe itís just me.
Date arrived: 27th September 2016
Mileage to date: 3,188
Fuel consumption: 65.7mpg (combined) 43.6mpg (on test)
The boot is big enough for a Christmas tree to fit in with ease.
Ventilation control knobs feel low rent compared to the rest of the cabin.