Seat Ateca (2018): a tech-filled SUV that's moving-house qualified

People will tell you that moving house is one of the most stressful things you can do in your life. Others will tell you it's the most stressful thing. 

I can confirm that it's no walk in the park.

While a car certainly can't alleviate all of the stresses associated with moving, a reliable, good-sized and fairly priced vehicle will at least give you a little slice of calming satisfaction come the big day. 

The Seat Ateca isn’t the only affordable SUV in a crowded and competitive market, but if it can cope with the stresses of moving then it's off to a great start.

Space for the whole family

We drove

Seat Ateca Xcellence
Engine: 1.4 Eco TSI
Power: 150hp
0-60mph: 8.5 seconds
Top Speed: 125mph
Fuel economy: 52.3mpg
Price: £28,555

The Seat Ateca is light, airy and spacious inside, with plenty of cabin space in the front and back. The seats are comfy, and leg room for the rear seats is good enough for adults to sit comfortably on long journeys.

The rear seats fold down in a 60:40 split, and the Ateca comes with useful release handles in the boot that let you instantly fold these down – perfect if you’ve just come out of IKEA and need to flip them down to fit in your latest bookcase purchase.

My Ateca was fitted with the optional Xcellence pack (£1,270) which includes a virtual pedal tailgate – in short, waving a foot under the rear of the car (with the key in your pocket) will open up the back, perfect for when you’ve got your hands full.

Once you’ve loaded it up, the powered tailgate is easy to close thanks to the button located on the underside of the lid, allowing you to stroll round to the driver’s door as the rear closes up.

These may seem like relatively insignificant things, but they’re extremely useful when you need them and make the Ateca all the more practical

The elevated seating position gives you a better view of the road ahead and your surroundings, but the Ateca doesn’t feel too large. It’s still easy to navigate (and park) around town – another check it the ‘practical’ column.

I was driving the top-of-the-line Xcellence spec, which starts at £26,830 (about AED130,000); Seat Ateca prices start at £21,880 (about AED105,000). This meant I was treated to some extra goodies included in the top few spec options, such as a rear-view camera, tinted rear windows, DAB radio, ambient interior lighting and satellite navigation.

There are also Ateca-branded puddle lights that shine from the base of the wing mirrors when you unlock the car at night, adding a little extra class to proceedings as well as providing additional lighting.

Seat Ateca exterior gallery

Tech talk

As mentioned, the top couple of spec tiers for the Ateca comes with satellite navigation installed, giving you a solid, if rather basic, guidance service.

Things can be easily improved though, as the Ateca’s 8-inch touchscreen interface also supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Link your smartphone to the car via one of the two USB sockets at the base of the centre console (there are another two USB sockets in the back for rear-seat passengers) and you can use their mapping smarts on the Ateca’s display.

Google Maps and Apple Maps provide a much more user-friendly and comprehensive mapping experience than the included software, and you also get support for other key apps such as Waze and Spotify, as well as Siri and Google Assistant voice control.

We found the touchscreen pleasingly responsive – something which isn’t always guaranteed at the cheaper end of the connected car market – and clear enough that we could easily read all the options, instructions and information.

You also get a small digital display in the instrument cluster above the steering wheel, providing you with navigation directions (if you use Seat’s own navigation) as well as various details about the car and infotainment.

Another nice touch is the inclusion of a wireless charging pad at the bottom of the center console, so if your smartphone supports the Qi wireless charging standard you can top it up without having to even think about a cable.

Other premium features, such as climate control, cruise control, heated seats and automatic lights, also grace the Ateca, and with the 360 cameras included as part of the Xcellence pack (plus parking sensors and the aforementioned rear camera) manoeuvring was a breeze.

Surprisingly agile

On paper the 1.4 TSI engine in the Seat Ateca may not set the heart racing, but in practice it’s surprisingly agile, providing a decent slug of power when the accelerator is depressed.

The six-speed gearbox is smooth, and the Ateca can happily cruise at speed as well as handle the stop-start nature of city driving.

There are more powerful engines on offer if you require more grunt, and have the additional cash, but we can’t really fault the performance of the 1.4 litre here.

So, did the Seat Ateca deliver? In a word, yes. With the rear seats folded down and the car packed to the rafters the house move went smoothly. 

The huge amount of luggage space also came in handy, with the Ateca taking trips to a garden centre, a hardware store and, yes, IKEA in its stride.

  • John McCann is getting behind the wheel to give you an alternative look at the wealth of cars – and the tech inside them – available today. From super-fast sports cars to tech-packed hatchbacks, he'll take you through a range of makes, models, power and price tags in his regular TR Drives column.
John McCann
Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.