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SEAT rave about new Ateca

Created on 23/09/2016 @ 07:12
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Test Drive by Graham Breeze

Many would say the SUV sector is already overcrowded so why would SEAT launch the Ateca - and expect to be successful?

And they do expect to be successful, in fact they are positively raving about their latest newcomer, which they claim will grab sales from the all-conquering 
Nissan Qashqai as well as Ford Kuga.

It's all about image at SEAT these days and bosses see the Ateca taking the brand a step further, predicting the company's UK market share will rocket from 54% 
to 75% with this latest arrival - promising a baby brother for 2017.

SEAT revealed the Ateca to the eagerly waiting UK press this week and it's easy to see why bosses are so upbeat because the big news is pricing with a range 
from £17,990 to £29,990, significantly undercutting the main opposition.

Launching the Ateca has been a massive investment for SEAT coming after a disappointing drop in sales for the company during 2015. So the model has to be dead right if the predicted and unprecedented growth is to happen in the UK. Early signs suggest all will be well with an order book hinting that supply meeting 
demand may be an issue.

The Ateca becomes SEAT's third brand pillar alongside Ibiza and Leon and at launch there are five trim levels S, SE, First Edition, SE Technology and Excellence with trim and technology packages to match. All the signs suggest it may become as important to the company as Ibiza and Leon have.

There's a choice of five engines, two petrol 1.0TSi 115 and 1.4 TSi 150, and three diesels, 1.6TDi 115, 2.0 TDi 150 and 190 with four wheel drive available on both the 2.0 TDi engines.

Outwardly the Ateca is as good looking as any other SUV on the UK market, but you wouldn't say it stands out and I'm not sure SEAT has done enough inside either. Behind the wheel it's typically SEAT but I wanted to be oozing compliments about the fascia but found little to excite.

So how will the Ateca gain all these predicted sales? Well pound for pound it's easily the best buy in the SUV sector and back that up with surprisingly low 
running costs and you can see where all the hype is coming from. 

Expect the 1.6TDi to be the best seller in both private and fleet sectors.

I drove the TDi Ecomotive 115PS 6-speed manual which goes on sale at £21,900 though you will need to cough up another £4,000 if you want a navigation system which includes an 8" touchscreen system; winter and advanced driving packs which give you heated seats, headlight washers, blind spot detection and rear cross traffic alerts; LED headlights; park assist; 17" bi-colour alloys and tinted rear windows.

But you can expect 65.7mpg with CO2 emission levels at only 113g/km, 0-62mph in 11.5seconds and a top speed of 114mph.

I didn't get the opportunity to test the Ateca off-road with top of the range models benefitting from a, now common, system giving the driver a choice of 4Drive or 
Snow option motoring.

You sit high up and all-round visibility is excellent. There's more room inside than most families will ever need with leg room in plenty supply and space for three 
rear seat passengers. The boot is impressively deep with a false floor and rear seats fold away neatly to give that extra room when needed.

I've rarely seen a motor manufacturer more bullish about a new product. But cost is a major factor in the SUV sector and SEAT have been careful to be better than Nissan, Renault, Ford, Kia and Hyundai when it comes to parting with your hard earned money.

I've a feeling SEAT bosses may soon be celebrating a few sales awards.

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