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Used test: Seat Ateca vs Volkswagen Tiguan

The Seat Ateca and Volkswagen Tiguan are closely related under the skin, but there are also key differences. So, which is the better used buy?...

Used test: Seat Ateca vs Volkswagen Tiguan

The Contenders

Seat Ateca 2.0 TDI 190 4Drive Xcellence auto

List price when new £30,795
Price today £21,000*
Available from 2016-present

We love the Ateca, but can this range-topper really be a great-value used buy?


Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 TDI 150 4Motion SE Navigation auto

List price when new £31,960
Price today £21,000*
Available from 2016-present

The Tiguan may have less power, but it hits back with a plusher, more practical interior.

*Price today is based on a 2017 model with average mileage and full service history, correct at time of writing


The Seat Ateca and the Volkswagen Tiguan are essentially twins. They may look somewhat different, but they share the same DNA, aka many mechanical parts. This could be equally disastrous for both family SUVs but fortunately their similarities make for impressive results in a fair few areas, such as practicality, economy and refinement. Looking at used ones? We've got you covered. 

Seat Ateca vs Volkswagen Tiguan

Here we have our duo, kitted out to £21,000 used. Both have four-wheel drive and 2.0-litre diesels under their bonnets, although with different power outputs – the Ateca gets 187bhp while the Tiguan receives 147bhp. The Ateca features range-topping Xcellence trim – the Tiguan is a mid-range SE Navigation car. That said, it's worth noting that the Tiguan was meant as the pricier alternative from the get-go.

With this in mind, can the more premium Tiguan beat its Used Car of the Year 2021 winning sibling? Read on to find out.

Seat Ateca vs Volkswagen Tiguan

Driving

Performance, ride, handling, refinement

Both cars’ engines are well insulated. Sure, there’s a little diesel clatter at idle and they’re clearly audible when worked hard, but neither is intrusive in city driving or at a steady cruise. However, the Ateca’s bigger tyres create more road roar and you also hear more wind noise.

The Tiguan wins on comfort too, dealing better with rough surfaces, especially with our test car’s optional adaptive dampers (that cost the first owner £810) in their softest setting. The Ateca isn’t too uncomfortable, but you always feel more of the road’s surface. Our test car’s optional 19in wheels didn’t help, causing the car to bob up and down continually along crumbling urban streets, while potholes send a jolt through your backside. We’d recommend sticking with the standard 18in wheels, but even then the Ateca is stiffer than most of its rivals.

Seat Ateca vs Volkswagen Tiguan

Accept the Ateca’s firm ride and – by SUV standards, at least – you’ll be rewarded with remarkably agile, enjoyable handling. Chuck it through a series of bends and you’ll be amazed by how upright it stays and how well it grips the road. The Tiguan still handles very tidily, but it sways about more and its front tyres relinquish their grip earlier.

The Ateca has more naturally weighted steering and also gives you more feedback, making it the easier car to guide along a winding country road. That said, our test Tiguan was fitted with optional Progressive Steering (£195 when new), which applies lock at a faster rate the more you turn the steering wheel. This reduces arm-twirling at low speeds, making it easier to wind your way up multi-storey car parks, but it feels a bit artificial at higher speeds.

Seat Ateca vs Volkswagen Tiguan

What about performance? Well, the Ateca not only has a 39bhp power advantage but is also quite a bit lighter. This helps it to accelerate more briskly, so you can pull off overtakes with greater confidence and get up to speed on motorway slip roads far more easily. With noticeably more vigour at medium revs, it’ll pull you up steep slopes more ably and deal more easily with a full complement of passengers and luggage. The Tiguan is no slowcoach, but its engine always needs working harder.

Both cars are surprisingly capable off road, easily climbing steep, muddy inclines on their standard tyres. Of course, they don’t have Range Rover-like ground clearance, but you’re unlikely to get stuck at any holiday camp site.