In the last episode of the SEAT Ateca story, it was carted off on the back of an AA truck, immobilised due to one of the most commonplace problems in everyday motoring. The lack of a proper spare wheel meant that the Spanish SUV wasnít go anywhere in a hurry. Stock issues with replacement tyres meant that it was recovered back to SEATís headquarters in Milton Keynes, but thatís old news now, as Iím pleased to say that it has been sorted out and the Ateca can return to its daily duty of providing transport for me, my wife and the kids.
Being without our sunshine coloured car was a real wrench and I was so pleased to see it back in our life. Itís very easy to take its many abilities for granted, but a few days driving my wifeís six-month old Ford Kuga made me miss it even more. The blue oval-badged car may well have a reputation for fine handling and for being an entertaining steer, however, I reckon that my Latin-labelled car is equally as good. Even though we opted for the economy-focussed Ecomotive model, thereís decent grip when cornering and very little in the way of body lean. This inspires you to take corners faster than you perhaps would in other SUVs, and delivers a driving experience that is much more akin to a five-door hatch. If you were to place a metaphorical blindfold over the driver, Iím sure that many would swear that they were piloting a Leon rather than an elevated Ateca, and thatís just one of the reasons why the latest SUV from SEAT is winning so many fans.
Wrapped up in a bodyshell that is around 10 centimetres longer than a Leon hatchback, thereís an astonishing amount of extra space, much more than the on-paper figures may suggest. Whichever seat they choose to be carried in, passengers have lots of room in every direction ñ for heads, shoulders, knees and toes, as the childrenís song goes. A deep glass house delivers good visibility for both driver and passengers, helping to avoid the feeling of claustrophobia. Some SUVs feel quite closed in by comparison ñ yes Range Rover Evoque and Toyota C-HR, Iím looking at you.
Before I drove the latest Peugeot 3008 at Christmas, I was certain that my Ateca led the way in the SUV sector, but there are aspects of the Lion-emblemed car that impresses me more. For instance, the cabin may be neatly laid out and perfectly good in my SEAT, it just doesnít have the swishness and wow factor that the Pug does. The Ateca, by contrast, feels quite ordinary, in a rather staid way. I would describe it as akin to someone choosing to wear silk boxer shorts to work. Alright a pair of standard cotton Y-fronts will do the job just as well, but the more luxurious materials just makes your day a whole lot better, turning mundane, everyday tasks into something so much more pleasurable.
Date arrived: 27th September 2016
Fuel economy: 65.7mpg (combined) 44.9mpg (on test)
The handling is neat and tidy through the bends, belying its more upright stance.
Whereas some rivals offer a four-, five- or seven-year warranty, the SEAT only offers three years’ worth of cover.