Seat Ateca reminds us VW saves its best designs for Europe

Anyone else find it strange that Skoda and Seat, Volkswagen's two car brands that aren't sold in the United States, are almost always better looking than their VW-badged brethren? Take the new Seat Ateca, which just debuted in Geneva.

Like many vehicles the Volkswagen Group sells, it rides on the company's MQB architecture, meaning it's related to the Golf. But it's like the very handsome lovechild of that car and the Audi Q3. It serves in a similar size class, too – it's barely an inch shorter than the Q3, and it gets comparable choice of powertrains.

Being a small, Euro-market CUV, the Ateca gets a two gas engines and three diesels. The base petrol powerplant is a 1.0-liter, three-cylinder turbo with 113 horsepower while a 1.4-liter, turbo four with 147 hp is the top-end gas engine. Diesel selections consist of either a 1.6 or 2.0-liter TDI engine, with three different power levels – the 1.6-liter is fixed at 113 hp, but the 2.0-liter can be had with either 147 or 187 hp. Front-drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is also available.

We've got a good look at the new Ateca, which, it should go without saying, will never be sold in the United States, in the gallery up top. Hope that when Volkswagen sells a sub-compact CUV in America it looks half as good as this does.

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Barcelona / Geneva, 01/03/2016 - SEAT presents its first SUV model. The new ATECA is a unique combination of distinctive design, dynamic driving fun, urban versatility and compelling utility. First-class connectivity, innovative assistance systems and highly efficient drives are among its technology highlights and make the ATECA one of the most innovative SUVs in the segment. Outstanding quality, precision production and very attractive value-for-money make the ATECA a true SEAT. Front and centre, however, is its agile, light-footed and precision driving fun – the ATECA makes every day and every kilometre that little bit more of an experience.

"The SEAT ATECA is called to be our next brand pillar following the successful Leon and Ibiza. The SUV segment offers us enormous opportunities, as sales in Western Europe will grow by a 25%," says Luca de Meo, Chairman of the Executive Committee of SEAT, S.A. "Moreover, the arrival of the SUV will be a key contributor to brand image improvement. That is our key challenge."

When the SEAT ATECA commences advance sales this spring, it will already come in a wide range of variants. The choice of powerful turbocharged TSI petrol and TDI diesel engines spans from 85 kW / 115 PS to 140 kW / 190 PS, with either front-wheel or all-wheel drive, not to mention manual or dual-clutch DSG transmissions. The extensive array of technology options extends from full-LED headlamps through a broad portfolio of assistance systems, like the innovative traffic jam assist and the new Emergency Assist, to a package of latest-generation infotainment systems with 8-inch touchscreens and Full Link connectivity. Three equipment lines offer colours and top-quality materials to suit every taste, with the top-of-the-range being the ATECA XCELLENCE.

"The ATECA is a pure emotional vehicle with a clear SEAT Design DNA and exceptional interior quality. In our first SUV we have put together an amazing package of technologies and innovations- delivering more safety and utility but, above all, the most dynamic ride possible and outstanding driving experience," says Dr. Matthias Rabe, Vice President of SEAT, S.A. responsible for Research and Development. "We will surely set a whole new standard within the segment with the ATECA's light-footed, precision handling, demonstrating amazing capabilities both on – and off – road."

In keeping with SEAT tradition, the ATECA derives its name from Spanish geography. The ATECA village lies in the west of Saragossa in the heart of the Iberian Peninsula.

Design – 100 percent SEAT and yet 100 percent SUV

The ATECA's design is utterly unmistakeable. As an SUV, too, the typical SEAT design language is a striking combination of dynamism and functionality. Many elements, like the trapezoidal grille, the side blisters with their minimum radii and maximum sharpness and the triangular light signatures, are typical of brand icons, such as the Leon. Yet every single detail has been carefully developed to the next level for the ATECA.

"The ATECA shows the clear evolution of our characteristic design language. It's immediately recognisable as a SEAT, yet every element has been carefully redesigned for an SUV," says Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos, Head of SEAT Design. "Our design is sculptural and full of tension. And it's created with precision and quality in every detail, of the kind possible only with the enormous passion and expertise of all involved."

The front end of the ATECA is therefore 100 percent SEAT and yet 100 percent SUV. The large, high grille brims with self confidence, while the sharply defined lights and substantial air intakes leave no doubt as to the ATECA's dynamic credentials. At the same time, the SEAT SUV maintains a broad, muscular stance that exudes solidity and reliability.

Full-LED headlamps with a clear signature

Typical SEAT features include the optional full-LED headlamps with their extremely pleasant light colour and excellent luminance. Combined with the triangular signature of the daytime running lights, the overall impact is utterly unmistakable. In the ATECA, the indicator lamps are also an integral part of this signature.

State-of-the-art technology and an emotional experience go hand-in-hand in the SEAT ATECA. One example is the "welcome light". As soon as you unlock the doors, LEDs in the exterior mirrors illuminate the area close to the doors, projecting the ATECA's name and silhouette onto the ground.

The side profile clearly conveys the dynamics and performance of the new SEAT. The precise lines with razor-sharp radii interact with sensually flowing forms, such as those around the lower door section, demonstrating not only the designers' fine feel for form, but also the expertise of SEAT's toolmakers and production specialists. Slightly rectangular wheel arches framed in black provide an imposing setting for wheels measuring up to 19 inches in diameter. Meanwhile, the window line framed in chrome and with a kink along the rear edge of the side window gives the car an even longer and more elegant line. The exterior mirrors sit on the door shoulders – a detail usually seen only on sports cars.

Likewise typical of SEAT is the highly sculptural rear end with the licence plate recess set low down. The LED lights are pulled slightly upwards on the outer edges to emphasize the ATECA's powerful shoulders. The very low loading lip at the rear indicates the incessant attention paid to optimum functionality.

Interior conveys refined sporting character

The interior harmonises perfectly with the exterior design. The interior, too, combines refined elegant but still dynamic character with that unique feeling of solidity and safety so highly prized by SUV drivers. Key factors are the raised seating position as well as the clearly visible vehicle front end and solid door strips.

The cockpit has a horizontal line with a clear driver focus. The controls are grouped closely together, while the read outs, such as the infotainment display measuring up to 8 inches, are just a brief glance away. The high centre console is a further example of how well the ATECA combines the SUV sense of proximity and solidity with the agile feeling of a shortened gearstick. Light is another special feature of the interior. The new ambient lighting with "waterfall" look in the doors gives passengers a choice of eight different colours to adapt the personal preferences.

Excellent use of space with plenty of room

At an exterior length of 4.36 metres, the ATECA offers the best use of space in the segment, with maximum interior length and a luggage compartment that holds 510 litres in its standard configuration or 485 litres in the versions with all-wheel drive. A double load floor is great for keeping things in order, while the folding rear seats can be operated from the luggage compartment providing an easy and versatile use of the interior space. The bodyshell is outstanding not only for its wide-ranging versatility, but also for its intelligent lightweight design. Incredibly stiff, the ATECA is also among the lightest vehicles in its segment, which gives an agile driving experience not only for urban traffic conditions.

Once the driver has stepped inside, a ring of light around the illuminated start button pulsates like a heartbeat – indicating the ATECA is all set for its next road-going adventure. The SEAT Drive Profile is on-hand for adapting the ATECA to the current driving situation, road conditions and personal preference – with the Driving Experience Button on the centre console offering the profiles Normal, Sport, Eco and Individual. The ATECA models with 4WD have the added benefit of Snow and Offroad profiles as well as the Hill Descent Control function. A further convenient feature is the electric tailgate, which can be opened with a foot gesture and – for the first time – closed again the same way. Another convenience option is a stationary heating system with remote control and pre-select.

The range of innovative driver assistance systems is extensive:

Traffic Jam Assist: This assistance function makes progress in heavy stop-and-go traffic far more bearable. At full-blown "traffic jam speeds", the ATECA steers, accelerates and brakes automatically within the system boundaries. At higher speeds of up to around 60 km/h, the system provides support with speed control and lane keeping. However, the driver's hands have to stay on the wheel.
ACC with Front Assist: The traffic jam assistant is based on the radar-controlled ACC adaptive cruise control system. Within a certain speed range, the integrated Front Assist can provide autonomous braking in dangerous situations.
Traffic Sign Recognition: Never miss another speed limit or traffic restriction thanks to the on-board camera and display.
Blind Spot Detection: Changing lane is made safer with the practical blind spot assistant. Two radar sensors monitor traffic behind the ATECA on both sides. A visual signal in the exterior mirror warns against vehicles approaching in the blind spot.
Rear Traffic Alert: Backing out of a parking space is a critical manoeuvre, as approaching vehicles are often difficult to spot. Radar sensors monitor cross traffic and warn against potential collisions.
Top View: Four cameras cover the entire area around the ATECA, with the image displayed on the monitor as a bird's eye view, making tight parking spaces far easier to negotiate. There is also additional protection for the valuable alloy wheels – one of the four image modes shows one front or all four wheels with lines indicating their proximity to the kerb.
Park Assist 3.0: The latest version of the parking assistant ensures stress-free parking in every situation – now supporting both parallel and perpendicular parking. The system also uses small parking spaces, calculates the best path, steers itself and warns against obstacles.
Lane Assist and Emergency Assist: The lane-keeping assistant recognises lane markings and issues warnings when the vehicle leaves the correct lane. Emergency Assist is a new function: If the driver remains inactive beyond a certain period, the vehicle issues first a visual then an acoustic warning, followed finally by a brief pulse of the brakes. If there is still no reaction, the ATECA slows down to a standstill, while staying in lane and activating the hazard lights and the electronic parking brake.

The highest level of connectivity

Connectivity, the constant connection with the digital world, is a major part of a modern, urban lifestyle for many people. The SEAT ATECA offers the very highest level of connectivity – with the latest generation of Easy Connect infotainment systems, SEAT Full Link and the exclusive SEAT ConnectApp:

Media System plus, with its 8-inch screen, is the highlight of the new-generation infotainment systems. It provides a significantly clearer and more precise view of navigation and infotainment content.
The Connectivity Box in the centre console of the SEAT ATECA is easy to reach and for the first time enables wireless smartphone charging and, thanks to automatic coupling with the roof antenna, ensures better reception. It incorporates two USB ports for parallel connection of MirrorLink-capable smartphones and external music players.
SEAT Full Link is the connectivity world for users of virtually all smartphones. Alongside MirrorLink, Full Link also incorporates the functions of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. MirrorLink is the perfect technology for operating smartphones and many of their functions and apps safely via the ATECA's infotainment system. It "mirrors" the smartphone screen on the touchscreen and can be used seamlessly with a growing number of MirrorLink-compatible Android smartphones.
The exclusive SEAT ConnectApp makes perfect use of MirrorLink integration. The driver is "always on", yet remains fully concentrated on the traffic. One central function is "Voice Replay". This text-reading function converts messages from sources such as e-mail, text messages, Facebook and Twitter accounts into speech then reads them out loudly and clearly. Answers can be "dictated" by voice command. Another exclusive function is gesture control, whereby functions can be activated at will with just a small finger gesture on the touchscreen.

Extraordinary driving fun in every situation is at the core of the SEAT brand. The Leon in particular is a unique combination of precision and agility with comfort and safety, as confirmed by enthusiastic customer reactions and numerous comparison tests carried out by trade journalists across Europe. The ATECA is no less impressive when it comes to fulfilling this promising combination. With its compact character, powerful engines and perfectly tuned suspension, it offers performance and handling that sets a new benchmark among its SUV competitors. And it fits perfectly for an urban and versatile lifestyle.

The ATECA's dynamic drive comes courtesy of a palette of state-of-the-art power units – all of them turbocharged. Ranging from 85 kW / 115 PS to 140 kW / 190 PS with outstanding torque figures across the board, they meet every possible performance desire. The array of diesel engines starts with the 1.6 TDI and 115 PS. The 2.0 TDI is available with 150 and 190 PS. Consumption figures range from 4.3 to 5.0 litres / 100 km, the CO2 figures from 112 to 131 grams / km. The entry level petrol engine is the 1.0 TSI with 115 PS. The 1.4 TSI comes with cylinder deactivation under partial load and produces 150 PS. The consumption and emissions figures for these engines are between 5.3 and 6.2 litres and between 123 to 141 grams. The TDI and TSI engines with 150 PS are available with DSG or with all-wheel drive, while the TDI with 190 PS comes as standard with DSG and 4WD.

The TSI engines in the SEAT ATECA:
1.0 TSI 1.4 TSI 1.4 TSI
1.4 TSI
1.4 TSI
kW/PS 85/115 110/150 110/150 110/150 110/150
Nm @ rpm 200
Vmax/km/h 183 201 198 192 189
0-100/s 10,5 8,5 8,6 9,0 8,9
CO2 121 125 126 143 141

The TDI engines in the SEAT ATECA:
1.6 TDI 2.0 TDI 2.0 TDI
2.0 TDI
2.0 TDI
kW/PS 85/115 110/150 110/150 110/150 140/190
Nm @ rpm 250
Vmax/km/h 184 202 201 196 212
0-100/s 10,5 8,3 8,5 8,6 7,0
CO2 112 114 116 128 131

All-wheel drive for all eventualities

The ATECA's all-wheel drive is among the most modern and efficient systems of its kind in the world. SEAT uses a newly developed multi-plate coupling with hydraulic actuation and electronic control – a fifth-generation Haldex coupling. It reacts extremely quickly to all imaginable drive situations to deliver a clear benefit in active safety and handling.

The SEAT ATECA is offered initially in three equipment lines. The entry-level Reference line offers not only an attractive price, but all the features needed in everyday life, such as air conditioning and the Media System touch with a 5-inch screen, as well as safety systems like seven airbags, drowsiness detection, tyre pressure monitoring and Front Assist for the EU countries. The Style line comes with extras such as 17-inch alloy wheels, LED rear lights, Climatronic, a leather steering wheel and rear parking sensors.

The new highlight is the XCELLENCE top-of-the-range version. This variant of the ATECA has a particularly distinctive and comfortable look-and-feel with Alcantara upholstery (leather optional), extensive trim elements and multi-colour ambient lighting. On the outside, the ATECA XCELLENCE literally gleams with roof rails and window frames in chrome, a high-gloss black grille, dark tinted windows and 18-inch alloy wheels. The standard technology package in the XCELLENCE includes full-LED headlamps with welcome light, SEAT Drive Profile, reversing camera, rear parking sensors rain and light sensors and go system. All these intelligent technologies make the ATECA your best companion for your urban challenges.

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