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Road Test: SEAT Ateca SE 1.0 TSI Ecomotive

Forget the tiny engine, this car makes a big impression. By Julian Kirk.

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Sector: Crossover Price: £19,590 Fuel: 54.3mpg CO2: 119g/km

SEAT’s first foray into the SUV market with the Ateca has been well-received since UK sales began in September, although until recently no-one has had the chance to drive perhaps the most intriguing variant – the 1.0-litre petrol model.

Until very recently the idea of such a small capacity engine being offered in a mid-size SUV would have been unthinkable, but technological progress, especially in the area of injection and turbocharging, has resulted in diminutive engines pushing out far more power than they ought.

So here we are in a large-ish family car being pushed along by a 999cc triple offering 115bhp and 148lb/ft of torque. That latter figure, which gives motion in the gears, is well down on the 184lb/ft available in the 1.6 TDI, but on the road that gap doesn’t feel so noticeable.

You obviously know you’re driving a petrol from the lack of vibration at idle and the near-silent engine running, and once on the go that distinctive three-cylinder hum remind you this is a petrol, but the performance on offer is eye-opening. Not as in ‘oh my gosh fast’; more a case of having to remind yourself of the engine’s capacity.

A fast motorway trip from the Midlands to Southampton and back saw the Ateca cruise in the general traffic flow happily, although it did guzzle through a tank of petrol – the drawback of long running at higher revs.

So this car is more suited to those drivers who aren’t putting 20,000 miles a year on the clock; user-choosers who only need a car for commuting are the key target here.

And they should be happy – the Ateca is a smart looking and spacious family car with some nice tech details built in such as an intuitive touchscreen infotainment system containing Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It will also be cheaper in company car tax terms than the same trim in 1.6 TDI spec – two BIK bands lower and around £2,300 cheaper at the front-end.

Verdict:

The Ateca offers great value for money and, in 1.0 TSI spec, offers useful tax saving for low mileage drivers.

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