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Used Seat Ateca long-term test

The Seat Ateca family SUV is our reigning Used Car of the Year, but now we've put our money where our mouths are to see what it's actually like to live with...

Seat Ateca long term test lead image

The car 2020 Seat Ateca 1.5 TSI Evo FR Run by Max Adams, used cars reporter

Why it’s here To find out whether a used family SUV is a better choice than an equivalent family hatchback or estate car 

Needs to Demonstrate practicality benefits without costing too much more to run

Mileage 3773 List price new (2020) £27,460 Price new with options N/A Value now £20,394 Test economy 37.5mpg Official economy 42.5mpg (WLTP) Running costs (excluding depreciation) £287.82 

13 April 2021 – Goodbye to the Ateca

The end of a relationship can result in either party feeling regret for things not said or done, and that can be said of me with my used Seat Ateca. I’d had all these great plans for places to go with it, but ultimately couldn’t (understandably) because of lockdown.

Seat Ateca Goodbye

But hey, I didn't need a long, luscious road trip to know the Ateca was an excellent car. Indeed, the urban journeys and short hops which became the norm for me showed that it lived up to be everything we said it would when we named it our 2021 Used Car of the Year.

As I noted in my original report, buying used meant I saved a pretty penny on the Ateca, and if you look at it next to the latest model, there are not an awful lot of visual differences. Also, it’s not as if I'd be getting a load more safety kit for my money with the new versions because lane keep assistance and blindspot monitoring are still reserved for higher-spec models. In short, the older Ateca proved to be perfect for my needs.

Not everything was hunky-dory because I discovered that the rubber weather stripping on the rear offside door had come loose. With dealerships now open, though, I made an appointment to have it looked at by Camberley Seat and, in the end, the whole experience was painless.

Seat Ateca loose weatherstrip

I dropped it into the centre mid-morning and left in a courtesy car, meaning I was still mobile. I received a call a couple of hours before closing time to say it was all done, and to inform me that no diagnosis charge was incurred because they were satisfied that it was a warranty claim. All I had to do was replace the fuel in the courtesy car provided, collect my Ateca, and I was on my way. The stripping looks like it's going to stay stuck down now, too.

Aside from that, I didn’t have anything else that was a great cause for concern. It’s perhaps a shame that the boot, while massive, doesn’t have any particularly clever features, such as an adjustable height floor to get rid of the load lip. 

Some might find the ride to be a bit too firm, but I was quite happy with it, and at least my FR version has a more controlled ride than the posher Xcellence Lux model with 19in wheels I happened to try before getting this Ateca.

Seat Ateca outside Camberley Seat

You have to be a bit careful about not looking like a hooligan when setting off smartly from a junction because it’s pretty easy to get the front wheels spinning. Mind you, you could argue that that’s in keeping with the racing red paint and sportier FR styling cues my example had. I warmed to those after a while, and they do make the Ateca easy to find in busy car parks.

It wasn’t just the paintwork that stood out for me – the best thing about the Ateca is that it's still by far the nicest used SUV of its type to drive. If you’re coming into one from only having driven family cars such as the Seat Leon or Ford Focus, you won’t be disappointed.

In fact, if you do happen to be stepping out of a Focus into the Ateca, you’ll no doubt be very impressed with its engine. This 148bhp 1.5 petrol provides plenty of punch when you wind it up, yet it is still very peppy at low revs and is highly refined. Yes, I (and my wallet) would have preferred slightly better fuel economy, but given that we were all restricted to local journeys only, the result was inevitable.  

Ateca: new vs old

Although the grand road trip or long sweeping journey I had in my head when I got the Ateca didn't quite pan out, I did nonetheless enjoy my Seat Ateca every time I got behind the wheel. When a car can impress you that much in such a short space of time, it's a clear winner in my book.

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