Review: Seat Ateca FR

Review: Seat Ateca FR
Review: Seat Ateca FR

Seat’s smashing small SUV, made a bit sportier

For some, an SUV is now a default new car choice. But what about those who still yearn for a bit of the sporty satisfaction they used to get from their old hot hatches? Enter Seat, a maker well known for its hot Cupra and FR models, which is now giving its latest Ateca SUV the sports treatment.

We already know the Ateca is fun to drive, already much sportier than many would expect. The FR treatment is thus aimed at accentuating this further, with body-colour wheelarches, flashier alloys and a chunky body kit. The only mechanical change is the fitment of a faster, more responsive steering system.

Although the FR will be offered with a new 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine, we’re testing it here in the more real-world 148bhp 1.4-litre TSI turbo. This turns out a perfectly decent 0-60mph time of 8.4 seconds, and pulls eagerly in all gears just so long as the revs are over 1500rpm.

Seat Ateca

Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150 FR

Seat Ateca

Price: £24,960
Engine: 41.4-litre, four-cylinder turbo petrol
Power: 148bhp
Torque: 184lb ft
Gearbox: Six-speed manual
0-60mph: 8.4sec
Top speed: 125mph
Official economy: 52.3mpg
CO2, tax band: 123g/km, 23%

The FR comes in front-wheel drive guise; you can also get a couple of 2.0-litre turbodiesels which offer four-wheel drive – but unless you really need the extra traction, we wouldn’t bother. This one is fine as it is.

Particularly as it’s such good fun around twisting roads. Unlike some SUVs, you don’t need armfuls of steering lock to fight it around corners, something aided here by the ‘progressive’ steering that turns the wheels faster as you apply more steering lock. With its well-weighted feel, it’s a good setup that adds to the Ateca’s agility.

The only gripe we have is one familiar to drivers of sportier cars – a stiff ride. It’s particularly noticeable around town, where even the standard 18-inch wheels jiggle, albeit not as much as its Audi Q2 sister car. For this reason, even though they look better, we’d avoid the 19-inch optional wheels.

Seat Ateca interior

Pleasingly, a great set of spirts seats are standard inside. They are much more hip-hugging than standard models. FR cars also get aluminium pedals, although the changes are otherwise minimal – not that this is a bad thing, because the interior is robust and roomy enough, with decent space in the rear. The boot is OK too, although not quite a match for a Nissan Qashqai.

Sporty SUVs don’t always work, but this Ateca FR does – very well indeed. The engine is a gem, the styling tweaks give it added dash and the slightly more agile drive makes it as much fun as ever behind the wheel. Indeed, as it’s likely to be the model most sought-after by used car buyers, lower depreciation means there’s a running costs bonus from choosing it too. What’s not to like?

Seat Ateca

Review: McLaren 570S Spider

You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, or so they say. But sometimes it’s hard not to and sometimes first impressions can be

Review: Skoda Karoq vs Seat Ateca

If it’s a winner, use it again: that’s the message Skoda has taken from the Seat Ateca for its new small SUV, the KaroqIn 2017,

Review: Honda Civic Type R

No-one likes being compared to older siblings but in motoring it’s an inescapable evil. Every new version of a car is measured against

Review: Vauxhall Insignia long-term test month 2

The great thing about long-term test cars is you get to dig deeper into the fancy on-board systems than a single week would allow.Take Vauxhall’s