IT'S catch up time at Spanish car maker Seat for the company which is part of the massive VW empire has amazingly not had an SUV in their range despite such vehicles being very popular for some time and the best sellers in Europe last year.
For some inexplicable reason Seat has not had an SUV despite other companies in the group such as Volkswagen and Skoda having had such models for a long time but that situation is about to change for Seat is to launch the Ateca in September with prices starting at £17,990.
The very stylish Ateca which is being built in the Czech Republic at the Skoda plant is related to the new VW Tiguan and no doubt the next Skoda Yeti will be competing against rivals such as the formidable Nissan Qashqai and others such as the new Kia Sportage so it is an extremely competitive market place.
Luca de Meo the President of Barcelona based Seat said the Ateca following Seat tradition of naming models after areas of the country takes its name from a village in Zaragosa right in the heart of the brand's homeland marked the start of a new era for the company.
At the UK launch Ateca will be available in a wide range of variants with petrol and diesel engines mated to manual and DSG automatic transmissions with the choice of either front wheel or all wheel drive. It will be available in three trim levels with the latest Group technology such as traffic jam assist and emergency assist along with high end infotainment systems with eight inch touchscreens.
Ateca will have a premium feel about it with one rather cool example being a welcome light which is displayed when the doors are unlocked LEDs in the door mirrors illuminate the area below the doors like so called puddle lighting projecting the Ateca's name onto the ground. Another natty touch is obvious once the driver is in the car at night for a ring of light surrounding the illuminated start button pulsates like a heartbeat indicating the Ateca is all set for the next journey! And a new safety function known as emergency assist activates if the driver remains inactive beyond a certain period issueing a visual and acoustic warning followed finally by a brief pulse of the brakes and if there is no reaction such as if the driver is ill the Ateca automatically slows down to a standstill.
The Spanish manufacturer has come a long way since the time many years ago when Seat cars were based on old Fiat models and they have been producing stylish cars for a long time but as mentioned earlier they have lacked an SUV. As with Skoda Seat's fortunes improved after they became part of the Volkswagen group and the Ateca seems set to provide the Spanish company with an impressive SUV with big showroom appeal.
Despite being so late getting round to producing such a vehicle I feel that the Ateca will really mark the start of a new era for Seat as their President says and they already have plans for two other types of SUV so the future looks much brighter for the company from sunny Spain.
Model: Seat Ateca
Engines: Diesel and petrol
Trandmissions: Manual and automatic
Trim levels: Three. Sale date: September
Prices: From £17,990.