You can now get an automatic gearbox on the award-winning Seat Ateca. Does it add further polish?
The Seat Ateca is proving to be a smash hit for the Volkswagen-owned Spanish brand. Car buying website What Car? reports it’s a bigger hit in terms of clicks than best-selling cars such as the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Golf, showing that buyers have an insatiable demand to read all about it.
Seat’s now tapped into an even broader section of the car buying public by finally launching an automatic gearbox option for the petrol-engined Ateca – something glaring from its absence at launch. At last, a DSG self-shifter is now available, for a £1350 premium on the 148bhp 1.4-litre turbo engine’s price.
That sounds a lot, but if you’re buying on a PCP, it’s a fair bit cheaper: around £20 a month. CO2 rises only slightly, which pushes up the company car benefit in kind tax band by 1 per cent, but real-world economy should be little different.
Seat Ateca 1.4 EcoTSI 150 DSG
Price: From £23,060
Engine: 1.4-litre, turbo, petrol
Torque: 184lb ft
Top speed: 123mph
Economy: 51.4mpg combined
CO2/BIK band: 125g/km/24%
So what’s the gearbox like? Once up to speed, it’s very impressive. It shifts gear super-fast, always at the right time and with real smoothness, and there are paddleshifters on the wheel if you’re in a bit of a racier mood.
At lower speeds, it’s not so impressive. When you’re manoeuvring at slow speed, it’s jerky, and you will feel a bit of a hiccup when pulling away. No matter how smooth you try to be on the accelerator, the DSG auto will ever so slightly jolt.
The 1.4-litre turbo engine is strong, pulling well even at low revs; press the accelerator harder and it will downshift to release more revs and more surge. Given how well the Ateca handles, you may be encouraged to do this: it’s great fun to drive, and not many small SUVs will outpoint it through a twisty sequence of bends.
The pay-off for this roll-free handling is a firm ride. It’s particularly noticeable at low speed – for this reason, we’d stick with the SE trim’s standard 17-inch alloy wheels rather than upgrading to better-looking but stiffer-riding 18-inch or 19-inch wheels.
Inside, the Ateca isn’t as nicely finished as a Volkswagen Tiguan, but it’s decent quality and logically laid out. Front seats are excellent and two adults won’t find much to grumble about in the rear, either. You can get three adults in there at a push, but you’ll have to be sure they all get on. The boot is a pretty decent size, made even easier to use if you take the £115 optional height-adjustable boot floor.
If you really must have an automatic car, the Ateca DSG automatic is yet another impressive iteration of Seat’s excellent small SUV. We’d still stick to the manual version, as it’s smoother and cheaper, but if you need an auto, you’ll struggle to find a better one than this.