Under the skin it’s a close relative of the Volkswagen Tiguan, although it’s a little shorter than the VW and considerably more affordable.
The Ateca sells in three specification levels and with three engine options, with price starting at $38,900 for the base front-drive Style. If you’re planning to hook up a boat or caravan, we would recommend looking no lower than the 2.0 TSI or TDI variants.
The model we tested was equipped with a powerful 2.0 TDI diesel, with 187bhp and 295lb ft of torque. With a towing capacity of 2100kg, we decided to drop off our standard Haines Hunter 600SF test boat for a lighter 535 variant with a weight of 1200kg.
The reversing camera offered good guidance for lining the boat up to the bar. Coupling was made a treat with Seat’s unique hidden tow bar. With a simple press of a button, out pops your tow bar – simple twist and lock and you’re good to go.
The vehicle intuitively recognised a trailer was attached and warned the driver that the blind spot monitoring system had been deactivated. Be aware the vehicle allows a standard euro style trailer plug so don’t forget to have an adaptor handy if necessary.
Space-wise, the Seat is right up with the roomiest cars in its class. In the back of the car there's enough head and legroom for a 6'3" passenger to sit behind a 6'3" driver without digging their knees in the back of the front seat.
|At a glance|
|Model||2017 Seat Ateca Xcelence 4Drive|
|Engine||2.0 TDI Turbo Diesel|
|ANCAP Safety Rating||5 Star|
|Power||140kw at 3500rpm|
|Towing Capacity Braked||2000kg|
|Towing Capacity Unbraked||750kg|
On the hill section of our test, the Ateca’s performance was solid accelerating from 50kph to 80kph at about 2450 rpm without hesitation. Another nice touch were the paddle shifters, allowing for an easy and quick drop down of the gears with the DSG. We did try out sport mode but is didn’t seem to make a dramatic difference and really wasn’t necessary for towing.
Motorway cruising was the usual affair, this turbo diesel coupled to a seven speed DSG saw the vehicle canter along at a mere 1700rpm in 6th gear. On the flat we attempted 7th gear but we could tell this was pushing the vehicle a little too far as the vehicle eventually rolled back into 6th gear and continued to cruise along contently. Stability is very good, too. The Ateca handled the lane-change test well, keeping the boat under control.
Only a few minor issues to be aware of: the reflective covers on the mirrors picked up a bit of glare, we noticed a slight rattle around the rear view mirror, and at times the ride can seem a bit firm.
The Ateca has a good combination of a powerful engine, swift gearbox as well as four-wheel drive. This makes for a quick and economical tow car, as well as the versatility of a family mover. Strap on a sensibly chosen boat or caravan and the Ateca will put on its gumboots and get stuck in.
Thanks to SeaCraft Miller Moyes for the test boat & trailer.