► SEAT's family SUV gets its mid-life facelift
► Updated styling and safety kit
► New petrol but still no hybrids
Blink and you’ll miss it – SEAT’s given its Ateca SUV a nip and tuck for 2020, with styling mirroring that of the new Leon plus a raft of upgraded safety features.
It’ll doubtless be another feather in the cap of this Peugeot 3008, VW Tiguan and Ford Kuga rival, which has already proven itself a worthy option during reviews and a long-term test. More than 300,000 have found homes in Europe since launch, of which 35,000 were in the UK.
So what’s new on the styling front?
It’s inspired by the new Leon hatchback as well as the Tarraco SUV, so most of the sharper edges have been rounded off and there’s a new corporate grille. It’s pretty tough to spot, but you’ll notice a larger grille with a chunkier chrome surround that now connects with the headlights.
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New front and rear bumpers add 18mm to overall length, but width and height are unchanged.
Changes at the rear are even subtler, with new LED taillights, new faux-exhausts in the rear bumper and the new handwriting-style script bearing the legend ‘Ateca’ below the number plate. Pretty cheap-looking script, to our eyes, but it’s already featured on the Leon so you can expect it on all SEATs going forward.
All models now get LED lights, which is good news for base models which previously looked rather low-rent with halogens. The top two trim levels now feature dynamically scrolling rear indicators as well.
Finally, there’s a new colour palette with ten shades including two blues and a red – good news for people who hate monochrome cars, though it’s a shame SEAT’s dropped the orange which was the car’s standout launch colour.
What about inside?
Standard fare for a facelift – there’s the latest VW group infotainment system, with an 8.25-inch screen on the base model and a 9.2-inch one on the other trim levels, plus a 10.25-inch digital instrument pack.
There’s now an electric driver’s seat for the first time, plus four USB Type-C ports to hook up smartphones or charge tech on the move. The particularly eagle-eyed might notice new door cards and bright trim pieces on the dash surfaces.
What about that new tech?
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are both standard, obviously, but there’s now a SEAT Connect app, giving owners access to a range of functions including remote locking, tracking where it’s parked or setting up speed alerts should you lend your vehicle to someone with a particularly leaden right foot.
There’s bags of safety kit, too, with autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring and ‘exit assist’ – which monitors for oncoming traffic as you pull out of a parking space and will warn the driver or brake the car automatically.
SEAT’s also fitted ‘predictive’ cruise control, which uses GPS and traffic sign data to set the cruise speed appropriately. It’ll slow down on the approach to junctions, for example, or alter itself for changing speed limits. The driver’s still expected to keep an eye on things, though.
Oh, and there’s a new virtual assistant, too…
A sort of Alexa-type deal?
In a sense. The digital assistant should be able to control functions such as heating, nav destination or music hands-free. The only problem is, SEAT hasn’t opted for a standard activation phrase. Instead of talking to the car – like ‘Hey Volkswagen’ or ‘Hey Mercedes’, or even giving the assistant a name as Skoda’s done with its ‘Hey Laura’, the SEAT system responds to…
It’s got some. Pure petrol or diesel for now, none of this hybrid malarkey, kicking off with a new 1.0-litre three-cylinder offering 109bhp. It runs the Miller combustion cycle with a variable-geometry turbo.
SEAT reckons economy and emissions will be improved by 10% over the outgoing 1.0-litre… which you can still buy, for now. It offers a very slightly chunkier 114bhp. The two engines will be available concurrently before the 114hp unit is phased out.
There’s also a 1.5-litre four-cylinder with 148bhp, in six-speed manual or DSG auto flavours, plus a 190hp 2.0-litre with DSG and four-wheel drive.
As far as oil-burners go, there’s a 2.0-litre four-cylinder – available with 114bhp and a manual ‘box, or with 148bhp and manual, DSG, or DSG + 4WD.
SEAT’s not given us any performance or economy figures to go on yet, nor a revised list price – but expect the usual slight increase over the outgoing model. We’ll have more information closer to launch.