In this comparison test, Seat Ateca wipes the floor in one important test area with three new and more popular competitors, Renault Austral, Nissan Qashqai and Volvo XC40. At the same time, he fails miserably on the one test item that many Dutch people consider most important.
Anyone who finds the driving characteristics of a C-segment SUV more important than all other attributes cannot ignore the Ateca Seat we tested. Not only does it have a sporty ‘FR’ (Formula Racing) badge on its rear door, but also a 4Drive badge (standard on the 190 hp 2.0 TSI). The abbreviation stands for four-wheeled vehicle. And then our Seat Ateca is also equipped with shock absorbers (925 euros).
Unsurprisingly, Seat’s second-largest SUV wins the ‘driving characteristics’ test section, ahead of the number two, Volvo XC40 (704 versus 626 points). That’s good because the Seat Ateca was the first SUV from Seat launched in 2016 and is therefore not a young car anymore.
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Don’t get knocked off track
Seat Ateca drives fast, develops high cornering speed and cannot be thrown off the track with a bat. When it comes to towing, the Seat wins gloriously. And what makes a quick trip in the Seat Ateca even more fun is that it willingly wants to take a safe step when you suddenly let off the accelerator in a fast corner. ESP is always ready to intervene if things threaten to get out of hand. The Seat Ateca also reports in the front line in the brake test. Unlike the Nissan Qashqai, which has better brakes, it’s only a decimeter job.
ESP of the overzealous type
The chassis of the new Renault Austral Hybrid 200 has a good layout. Promising for driving qualities, you can imagine. But the truth is very little: the car reacts with hesitation to the steering wheel. You have to work hard to get around sharp corners. In addition, ESP is of the overzealous type; even before asking if it is necessary to intervene, it has already thrown away the buoy of its life. As a result, all tempo is lost.
The Nissan Qashqai isn’t built for fast lap times either. There’s plenty of feel in the steering wheel, and its ESP intervenes only when absolutely necessary, but the car always gives the impression that you’re driving with the handbrake on.
Safety before everything
Safety also comes first in the Volvo XC40. When exploring the boundaries, the light steering filters all the contact’s feelings into the background. Quick steering movements are responded to by a listless keeper, and ESP works effectively. If you step on the brake pedal, you are looking for an open pressure point. This makes it difficult to measure stopping power. Unfortunately, front-wheel drive has plenty of traction, so you’ll never have to deal with front-wheel spin in a sharp corner.
‘Otherwise you’re just selling a boat’
So if you are looking for a midi SUV that offers a lot of driving pleasure, then you cannot ignore the Ateca Seat. But before you rush to the Seat dealer, you have to sell the boat or take out a second mortgage, because the Seat Ateca from this test costs at least 65,350 euros. That is no less than 20,000 euros more expensive than, for example, Nissan Qashqai! This is because of its complete FR equipment and 4×4 drive. Furthermore, the Nissan has ‘only’ 158 hp.
If you say goodbye to a four-wheel drive with 40 hp, you can drive the Seat Ateca 1.5 TSI with automatic transmission for 43,050 euros. You also cannot call the 163 hp Volvo XC40 (B3) the bargain of the month at a starting price of 50,995 euros. However, this is subject to many safety devices.
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Thermal performance, but …
After selling the boat and taking out a second mortgage, you still have to dig into your pockets once you drive the Seat Ateca 2.0 TSI 4Drive. Electrical support in the form of a hybrid system (mild), as in the case of its competitors, is not present and you can clearly see that on the consumption meter. Seat Ateca offers high performance (from 0 to 100 km/h in 7 seconds), but records a test consumption of 8.8 liters of petrol per 100 km, equivalent to 1 to 11.4. Therefore, the Seat Ateca scores the lowest in the ‘costs’ test.
Read the full driving test of the Seat Ateca, Nissan Qashqai, Renault Austral and Volvo XC40 Car Review 05/2023.