I saw my first Ateca on the road today, a white example in SE trim. It didnít look as well appointed as my car, as it didnít have rear privacy glass, LED headlights or the larger 17-inch wheels. But Iím surprised that it has taken this long to spot another, having been on sale for more than six months. Usually as soon as youíve got one, you see lots of others, but not in the case of the Ateca. And itís not because the car hasnít been selling, as the cash registers have been constantly ringing up sales of SEATís first proper SUV at the Spanish firmís dealers.
For those stat monsters amongst us, a bit like our Editor, hereís a few nuggets of information to put the 2,024 Ateca registrations during 2016 into perspective. 62 per cent of those cars were diesel powered, while 61 per cent came with two-wheel-drive. Out of the 1,258 diesel engined Atecas sold, 52 per cent of them came fitted with the 1.6-litre TDI Ecomotive engine like our car, while the remaining 48 per cent were powered by the flagship 188bhp 2.0-litre TDI unit. By contrast, of the 766 petrol buyers, 60 per cent of them opted for the entry-level 1.0-litre TSI Ecomotive unit, with the remaining 40 per cent choosing the 1.4-litre EcoTSI powerplant. Surprisingly, more than a third of buyers opted for the top-specification Xcellence trim at 39 per cent, with SE specification in second place at 28 per cent, SE Technology at 23 per cent and the limited run First Edition accounting for 9 per cent of all sales. Amazingly, just 15 examples of the entry-level S trim were bought, and taking less than one per cent of the overall sales mix. These statistics certainly confirm a trend that is reported by many car makers, in that todayís buyers are demanding ever better specified models, eschewing poverty specification cars for those that are crammed full of kit.
And while our own long term car is positioned towards the bottom of the Atecaís range, our car came with a long list of optional equipment. Itís not something that we would normally recommend, however, it was SEATís own press team that did the option ticking in order to give us a good representation of the available kit, paired to a modestly powered and frugal engine. And while we are still some 20mpg off the quoted fuel economy figures, we havenít exactly driven the Ateca gently, thanks to a packed schedule. Early morning cold starts to take my wife to the train station doesnít allow the engine to warm through, and then itís a couple of miles to deliver the kids to school, once Iíve managed to round them up. Even my journey to work is only 17 miles, and so the SUV SEAT is barely up to temperature by the time I pull into the car park. Most of the journeys are in stop-start traffic, which doesnít allow the car to get into its stride. So the fact that weíve now managed to achieve 45mpg is remarkable, considering the Ateca is largely a box on stilts. SUVs and crossovers will never replicate the kind of fuel economy that a lower slung hatchback will, and so Iím pleased as punch that I can even record this figure.
Date arrived 27th September 2016
Fuel economy 65.7mpg (combined) 45.6mpg (on test)
There’s still something quite exclusive about driving a Spanish-badged car.
There are no USB sockets in the rear, which is near essential for keeping the family quiet in the back.