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Used test: Seat Ateca vs Skoda Karoq

Two of our favourite family SUVs go head-to-head to find out which one makes the most sense used. Read on to find out if the Seat Ateca or Skoda Karoq is the best choice...

Seat Ateca vs Skoda Karoq

The contenders

Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150 FR DSG

List price when new £26,340
Price today £18,000*
Available from 2016-present

Efficient, practical and fun to drive – is there anything the Ateca can't do?

Skoda Karoq 1.5 TSI 150 SE L DSG

List price when new £25,815
Price today £18,000*
Available from 2017-present

Though more comfort-oriented, the Karoq is still great to drive, not to mention impressively spacious inside.

*Price today is based on a 2018 model with average mileage and full service history, correct at time of writing

The Seat Ateca isn't just the shining star of the used family SUV talent show, it's one of our favourite used cars, full stop. That's right, it's like Ant and Dec at the National Television Awards: it just can't stop winning. We even crowned it our 2021 Used Car of the Year, citing its exceptional well-roundedness and value for money as key reasons.

With that in mind, it'd be safe to assume that the Ateca is in a league of its own, right? Well, not quite, because the Skoda Karoq – with which it shares parts – is our 2022 Used Family SUV of the Year, making it the Ateca's toughest competition yet. It won't cost you any more to buy or run, plus it's comfortable, roomy and refined.

Seat Ateca rear

We've tested a 2018, mid-spec, petrol version of each car to see which is the best. Will it be the capable Karoq or the almighty Ateca? Read on to find out. 


Performance, ride, handling, refinement

One difference between our two rivals is their engines. When the Ateca was first launched, it used the VW Group’s established 148bhp turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol unit, while the Karoq, launched a year later, was fitted with the company’s next-generation turbo 1.5. That changed in 2018, when the Ateca adopted the 1.5-litre engine too, but here we’re testing it in its earlier 1.4 form. 

Skoda Karoq rear

The two engines generate identical power and torque, so you’d presume there'd be barely anything in it when it comes to the performance of the two cars. Except that isn’t the case.

The Ateca feels a little more potent and pulls harder when you squeeze your right foot. The Karoq’s 1.5 motor sounds wheezier past 4000rpm, and feels less energetic from mid to high revs – a point proven in our acceleration tests: the Karoq sprinted from 0-60mph in 9.2sec, while the Ateca took just 8.4sec.

New Skoda Karoq vs Seat Ateca

Both our test cars had optional seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearboxes fitted. A knock-on effect of the Karoq’s less enthusiastic engine is that when you put your foot down, its gearbox tends to change down one or two more gears than the Ateca’s, forcing the engine to rev harder. On the move, both cars’ gearchanges are mostly slick and quick, but they can get a mite jerky in stop-start traffic.

The Karoq was designed with comfort in mind, and it showed in our testing. While the Ateca stays on the right side of comfortable, it is firmer over ridges and potholes, especially around town. The Karoq irons out imperfections more adeptly, but the trade-off with squishier springs and dampers is more bounce over peaks and troughs.

New Skoda Karoq vs Seat Ateca

The Karoq's softness also means you get more body lean through corners. Factor in its lighter, slower-geared steering and it’s the less agile car, but it’s handles tidily by SUV standards. The Ateca is downright sporty – this is a car that you can enjoy down a winding road, drawing confidence from its tauter body control and more alert steering.

The Seat Ateca is a little more refined too. There’s less suspension noise around town and less background engine, tyre and road noise on motorways than in the Skoda Karoq. That said, both cars can eat up the miles with ease.

Next: What are they like inside? >>

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