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First drive: SEAT Ateca 115 TSI 2021MY. Image by SEAT UK.

First drive: SEAT Ateca 115 TSI 2021MY
Should you aim higher up the range in the facelifted Ateca family, or stick to this three-cylinder model?

 



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SEAT Ateca 1.0 TSI SE Technology

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Our second go in the updated SEAT Ateca sees us trying a smaller engine than last time in a much lowlier spec. Can this Spanish crossover-SUV still impress us as much in this more affordable format?

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: SEAT Ateca 115 TSI SE Technology
Pricing: Ateca range from 23,670, 115 TSI SE Technology as tested from 24,755
Engine: 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol
Transmission: front-wheel drive, six-speed manual
Body style: five-door crossover-SUV
CO2 emissions: 153g/km (VED Band 151-170: 540 first 12 months, then 150 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 41.5mpg
Top speed: 114mph
0-62mph: 10.7 seconds
Power: 115hp at 5,000-5,500rpm
Torque: 200Nm at 2,000-3,500rpm
Boot space: 510-1,604 litres

What's this?

It's the updated SEAT Ateca again, so if you want to know everything that has changed, click on the link in the intro above for the review on this car's sister model, the 150 TSI Xperience. This is our quick rundown on the other model available to test drive on the same day, the 115 TSI SE Technology. As its name suggests, it's not only a lesser specification of trim level, which starts at less than 25 grand as tested, but it's also the smaller three-cylinder engine under the bonnet. Visually, the changes on the outside here are smaller 18-inch alloys and lower body-cladding that doesn't make you think of outdoors-type off-roading experiences, while inside there's a plainer, less well-equipped interior. But there are still plenty of useful toys on the Ateca 115 SE, so should you be going for this car or the 150 TSI Evo?

How does it drive?

SEAT has uprated the Ateca's triple from 110hp previously to a new peak of 115hp here. It drives the front wheels only through one of the Volkswagen Group's mega-slick six-speed manual transmissions, but on paper its economy and CO2 emissions are hardly any better than the 150 TSI's and it also sacrifices two seconds for the 0-62mph sprint as well as 10mph on the top speed.

Both metrics that don't actually mean anything in the real world, of course, because 114mph is just as illegal as 124mph and no one actually rinses cars off the lights any longer. However, this data does go some way to indicating that the 115 TSI is ever so slightly too small an engine in an ever so slightly too large crossover body. The 1.0-litre powerplant is working less than 1,400kg of machine here, which is easily the lightest of the Ateca range, but while a little 110- or 115hp unit delivers perfectly well in something smaller like a SEAT Arona or the revised Audi Q2, it feels a bit lost in the bigger Ateca.

You have to work it that bit harder to keep up with traffic flow, which is not a major hardship because that gearbox is a little peach and of course the gargling burr of a three-cylinder petrol engine is a great noise to listen to, but it soon becomes vaguely annoying that downshifts are needed in places just to recover a handful of lost miles-per-hour, when the 150 would simply utilise its superior torque and power to better effect. If the 1.0-litre TSI was far more economical or significantly cheaper than its equivalent 1.5-litre TSI as way of compensation, then we'd possibly advocate it. We'd also have some reason to recommend the 115 if it felt a lot sharper in the corners, thanks to the reduced weight over the nose, but we couldn't really discern any noticeable edge to the dynamics of this three-cylinder model, save for a marginally smoother ride on the smaller alloys. So, as nice as this Ateca is, the fact it's only about 1,600-1,900 more to step up to a 150 TSI means we'd suggest you do that instead if you're interested in the Spanish crossover-SUV.

Verdict

A perfectly pleasant family machine, the SEAT Ateca 115 TSI represents a solid entry point to the revised line-up and there's enough equipment on it to make life for an owner very easy. However, the sweeter 150 TSI four-cylinder is a marked step up in road-going performance, for not much more of an outlay and without costing anything notable in terms of fuel consumption or emissions. So it's that excellent model of petrol Ateca we'd suggest you go for, first and foremost.

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Exterior Design

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Interior Ambience

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Passenger Space

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Luggage Space

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Safety

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Comfort

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Driving Dynamics

4 4 4 4 4 Powertrain


Matt Robinson - 22 Oct 2020









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2020 SEAT Ateca 115 TSI SE Technology. Image by SEAT UK.2020 SEAT Ateca 115 TSI SE Technology. Image by SEAT UK.2020 SEAT Ateca 115 TSI SE Technology. Image by SEAT UK.2020 SEAT Ateca 115 TSI SE Technology. Image by SEAT UK.2020 SEAT Ateca 115 TSI SE Technology. Image by SEAT UK.

2020 SEAT Ateca 115 TSI SE Technology. Image by SEAT UK.2020 SEAT Ateca 115 TSI SE Technology. Image by SEAT UK.2020 SEAT Ateca 115 TSI SE Technology. Image by SEAT UK.2020 SEAT Ateca 115 TSI SE Technology. Image by SEAT UK.2020 SEAT Ateca 115 TSI SE Technology. Image by SEAT UK.








 

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