Leisurely. The 1.0-litre TSI petrol engine is peppy, quiet and refined when it’s just you in the car, with 0-62mph taking an achievable 11 seconds. You’d think only having three cylinders would bring about a distinctive engine thrum, but the unit is barely audible at cruising speeds.
However, as soon as you start to add people or luggage or hills, progress quickly begins to sound and feel strained, especially when working through first and second gears of the positive six-speed manual gearbox.
It’s still great fun to drive, mind. Most SUVs have a habit of rolling around in the corners or pitching under braking. The Seat Ateca, however, has a natural agility and flow that is more akin to an accomplished hatchback than a lofty SUV, staying composed despite some pretty ambitious corner speeds.
The steering offers more accuracy than a Nissan Qashqai
and the body is more resistant to roll than a Renault Kadjar
, which will prevent passengers in the back from feeling car sick. Unfortunately, there is a slight trade off in ride comfort, with the suspension failing to smother bigger ruts and bumps in the road.
Driving visibility is great, there are seven airbags as standard, Isofix-mounting points for two child car seats in the back, and the boot offers a buggy-friendly 510-litres of space. There’s also a lever in the back to help you tumble the split-folding rear seats effortlessly, which gives a mountain bike-friendly 1604-litres of space. Just keep in mind you’ll need to pay extra for a raised boot ledge to create a flat loading bay, as well as a space saver spare tyre – items we’d consider essential.