Behind wheel of most powerful diesel variant of popular SUV
With more and more Ateca SUV buyers choosing high-spec versions of the successful new SEAT model, we decided to try the more powerful of the 2.0-litre diesels to see how it fares. The TDI 190 boasts 187bhp against its 148bhp stablemate, and feeds all four wheels through the dual-clutch auto box.
While not quite up to the power and performance standards of a hot hatch, the torquey newcomer is certainly no slouch on fast B-roads and it is pretty impressive for a high-riding SUV though a series of bends, too. Body roll and suspension movement are well controlled, while braking and turn-in are crisp, well judged and confidence inspiring.
Seat Ateca 2.0 TDI 190 4Drive Xcellence DSG
Engine: 2.0 diesel
Torque: 295lb ft
Top speed: 132mph
CO2/tax band: 131g/km, 26%
Regarding the Ateca’s drivetrain, the four-wheel drive provides great traction but the DSG gearbox can be a little hesitant and jerky just off the throttle stop, which is off-putting in stop-start urban traffic. Changing through the seven ratios is smooth in auto mode, though, and there are manual shift paddles, too.
While the SEAT shares much of the VW Tiguan’s platform, its cabin bears little resemblance to that of its upmarket cousin. It has a well built and solid feel, but isn’t especially classy. Still, our Xcellence spec includes nice touches such as leather upholstery, extra black trim and an impressive eight-inch infotainment set-up.
There’s plenty of space for five inside the Ateca, and while the rear bench lacks the Tiguan’s sliding and reclining facilities, the nicely squared-off and easily accessible boot is more accommodating than in most comparable rivals.
This terrific SEAT more than deserves all the awards it’s already won, and it demands none of the compromises of some rivals. Is this the best version, however? Business users will pay more for the extra engine punch, but we’d be quite happy with the cheaper front-wheel-drive 148bhp 150 model, complete with the excellent manual trans. If we were buying privately, it’s the 1.4-litre TSI that we’d go for thanks to its smoother, great-performing petrol engine and cheaper running costs.