Spanish brand SEAT hasnít exactly had a brilliant year. In a market that is up almost 2.5 per cent compared to last year, SEATís statistics show a 5.6 per cent decline. But hopes are high that the launch of SEATís brand new SUV, the Ateca, will reverse that trend, having been so long without a competitor in the popular sector. The first customers took delivery of their cars in September, at exactly the same time as we did.
The colour we chose could be considered a marmite colour. Some will like it, some wonít, but thereís no arguing that it is distinctive and Iíll never lose my car in a car park. Called Samoa Orange, itís a metallic finish and costs an additional £575.
We opted for the least powerful engine in the line-up, the 114bhp 1.6-litre TDI unit, that is set to be the most popular choice for the Ateca. While it canít quite match the frugality of the Nissan Qashqai and Renault Kadjar, both boasting CO2 emissions of 99g/km and fuel economy of 74.3mpg, the SEAT boasts an extra 5bhp and still manages vital statistics of 113g/km and 65.7mpg, respectively. That means vehicle excise duty isnít free like the Qashqai and Kadjar, but costs a reasonable £30 per annum. In our hands, weíve managed just 44.3mpg so far, but with the car covering a lot of urban journeys and still relatively tight, as the engine runs in, the figures will no doubt improve.
Although SE specification is pretty decently kitted out, with essential equipment like rear parking sensors, Bluetooth connectivity with Apple CarPlay, cruise control, autonomous emergency braking system and dual-zone climate control, the average driver doesnít actually need to choose much from the options list. I, however, went wild and spent more than £4,000 on extras, so that I can explain what they all do. And while strictly speaking a navigation system isnít required when youíve got an iPhone in your pocket and Apple CarPlay as part of the kit list, I wanted to test out SEATís latest eight-inch system. The winter pack is going to be made very welcome, if the last few days of cold and dark weather are a signal of what we can expect this winter. I will be making liberal use of the heated chairs, with the washers keeping the amazingly bright LED headlights clean and clear. The heated front windscreen was also a no-brainer of a choice at £155, seeing as the car spends most of its time parked outside. The embedded heating elements will save me vital minutes in the morning, not having to de-ice the windscreen when the temperatures fall below zero. But unlike other similar systems that I have used, the elements seem to be more visible through the glass, and only time will tell whether this will really annoy me.
The advanced driving assistance pack at £790 may be quite expensive, but thereís a lot of extra equipment in there, including blind spot detection and lane assist, as well as automatic headlights and wipers, an auto-dimming rear view mirror and high beam assist for the headlights. It also includes a rear cross traffic alert system which is like having eyes in the back of your head. The scanners watch out for approaching vehicles and alert you to their presence. It helps to stop those silly low speed accidents that occur when reversing.
One option choice is more sensational than all the others, though, and thatís the full-LED headlights. There simply arenít any better lamps on the market and the road ahead is lit as though it is daylight. Yes, I know Iím exaggerating, but they really put regular halogen headlights, and even Bi-Xenon units to shame. I certainly donít want to go back to regular lights now that Iíve experienced the ones on the Ateca. And while I am on the subject of lighting, I also chose the multi-coloured ambient lighting for the cabin, that can be changed between eight different shades. My ten-year-old daughter loves them to be set at red, but I quite like the cabin to be bathed in blue light. Itíll be interesting which one of us gets our own way over the coming months!
|Date arrived:||27th September 2016|
|Mileage to date:||2,360 miles|
|Fuel consumption:||65.7mpg (official combined)
44.3mpg (on test)
The infotainment system has a large eight-inch touchscreen and is fast to react.
The colour choice is definitely a love-it or hate-it colour.