Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI - It doesn't always have to be diesel

The Seat Ateca is the cheaper and smaller alternative to the VW Tiguan

Little damper for a hopeful start: Because the Seat Ateca as a diesel with front-wheel drive did not meet the exhaust gas limit values, the production of this variant had to be stopped shortly after the start of the order. Seat cannot avoid installing an SCR catalytic converter. The misguided economy of its manufacturer should not be negatively credited to the compact SUV itself. Mainly because there is an attractive alternative in the program with the 150-PS petrol engine.

Background: Until further notice, the Spaniard is only available in seven drive variants. The medium-sized diesel with 110 kW / 150 PS and front-wheel drive did not meet the exhaust gas limits required for type approval and cannot be delivered. Reason: Unlike the four-wheel drive version, Seat did not install the expensive SCR catalytic converter. The stop in sales and production is particularly unfortunate for the Spanish manufacturer, because it is precisely this combination of diesel and front-wheel drive with its favorable combination of low consumption and acceptable list price (from 27.650 euros) that would have been a hit in the portfolio.

The interior pleases visually and ergonomically
The interior pleases visually and ergonomically

Customers who have already ordered the corresponding model should be given the opportunity to switch to another variant. And new customers may also have to reorient themselves. Alternatives are the all-wheel-drive version of the engine (29.410 Euro) or the equally powerful 1,4-liter petrol engine, which is available with front-wheel drive for 24.700 Euro, as all-wheel drive for 26.550 Euro.

Anyone who does not wind up tens of thousands of motorway kilometers should be better served with the much cheaper gasoline engine. Because it is not only similar to diesel in terms of performance, but also offers similar driving performance: a top speed around the 200 km / h and a sprint time of just under nine seconds.

The Ateca is spring-loaded
The Ateca is spring-loaded

In practice, too, the four-cylinder has good manners and reasonable performance. Like most diesels, the gasoline engine is not necessarily a bundle of temperament. Nervous cranking is not his thing, he feels most comfortable in the relaxed lower speed range, between around 1.500 and just under 3.000 revolutions. There it combines powerful draft and moderate noise, and also retains some of its consumption. On the other hand, tours that are too low make a small turbo lag noticeable, those that are too high cause the engine noise and consumption to swell, less the pulling power. Hard-working switching is the order of the day. Fortunately, the lever of the manual six-speed box slides very well through its precisely guided lanes. If you want to relieve your left leg and prefer to keep both hands on the steering wheel, you should check the automatic option at the dealer. The six-speed dual clutch transmission, called the DSG by the VW group, is available for an additional 1.800 euro.

The old-fashioned roof antenna is due to the tight cost calculation
The old-fashioned roof antenna is due to the tight cost calculation

The turbo gasoline engine is no competition for diesel in terms of consumption. The inconspicuously operating cylinder deactivation does not help here either. If you make an effort, you will get it in the range of around seven liters, the standardized 5,3 liters (on the all-wheel drive model) are only shown on the on-board computer display under ideal conditions. However, the Ateca also tends to tip into the almost double-digit range, already just beyond the 130er brand it suddenly gets thirsty and sucks the 55 liter tank empty in record time. The Seat is therefore not suitable for the big brisk tour on the highway. But it's not made for that anyway. City and country road are rather his terrain.

His tight undercarriage predestines him for the latter, which keeps the body movements in moderation but joyfully passes bad roads on to the occupants. In view of the mileage of all current Ateca engines, it might have been a little smoother here. As with the steering, which is extremely precise, but also pleasantly smooth. Together with the comparatively low seating position for an SUV and the binding chassis, the Ateca looks more like a station wagon than a raised crossover when driving. This is very pleasant outside of town on a winding route. And the handy Ateca also appeals to city traffic. Despite the length of only 4,36 meters - less than the first VW Tiguan - it offers the driver and front passenger plenty of space. At least two medium-sized adults can sit comfortably in the back, the third place is at most children. Despite the short length, the luggage compartment is even more spacious than in many competitive models.

The bottom line is that the loss of the basic diesel option is not a major problem for many potential private customers. The cultured and sufficiently powerful gasoline engine is not a fuel-efficient engine, but in view of the significantly lower price, the additional consumption is only a cost trap for absolute frequent drivers. All others are also well served with the Otto engine. (Holger Holzer / SP-X)

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