Ateca push a matter of ‘see it go’?

Is this the best SEAT in the house? The local distributor for VW’s Spanish brand announces its ace model.


PRICING and specification of the model that will present as SEAT’s A-game model here have been revealed.

Having been the sickly runt of the Volkswagen Group, SEAT – the pronunciation of which is open to debate (some say it’s as you see it, like the chair, others prefer ‘See-at’ or ‘Say-at’) –is counting on sports utilities to lead its resurgence.

Its first ever SUV is the Ateca is scoring well. The car that heads the brand’s campaign back to profitability after 11 lean years has achieved huge sales in Europe over the past six months.

Fittingly, then, it is also being relied on as being the hero car for SEAT New Zealand, part of the European Motors Group, set achieving greater penetration than the Leon Cupra hot hatch announced last week.

Still, there’s only so much expected of it.

While the model has good bones - the latest VW Tiguan is the primary donor but it draws even more from the Skoda Kodiaq recently launched here (in fact, it’s built in the same factory as the Czech car) – the SEAT sales network is small. In fact, whereas both VW and Skoda have national sales networks, the SEAT operation will initially represent in Auckland only.

Ateca will show in three specification levels and three engines across four models here.

There will be a 110kW petrol engine available in Style and Xcellence specification; a 140kW diesel with 4Drive also available in Xcellence specification; and a 140kW petrol engine with 4Drive in FR specification. All models will be standard with 7-speed DSG gearboxes.

Ateca carries a EuroNCAP five star safety rating. Standard fare on the safety front includes front assist with City Emergency Braking and Pedestrian Protection, Blind Spot monitoring and a rear view camera. The brand's Full Link system is standard on all Kiwi models and features Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink.

The range will start at $38,900 for the Ateca Style; the Ateca Xcellence will be $44,900 with the two 140kW 4Drive models, the $52,400 FR 4Drive and $52,900 Xcellence 4Drive. The latter is the first model landing, with availability in September – also when Leon Cupra comes in sale. FR, incidentally, is the brand’s sports designation.

As their prices suggest, the Xcellence and FR models are also the high-end variants. Accordingly, they get more spec than the Style. Extras include adaptive cruise control, a top-view camera, alarm, keyless entry, alcantara upholstery, full LED headlights, a hands-free electric tailgate and 18-inch (Xcellence) or 19in (FR) alloys.

The Ateca finished 2016 as Europe's 14th ranked compact SUV/crossover, playing a key role in the overall segment's 21 percent increase in sales to 1.44 million units.

The Ateca is the first of three SUVs that Seat will release in the coming two years. A smaller brother, the Arona is SEAT’s version of the Skoda Karoq, arriving here in early 2018. The Arona will be revealed for the first time this month and is expected to be on sale here by next June.

A third SUV will arrive in 2019. This will be a seven-seater that is larger than the Ateca. SEAT is currently running a world-wide competition to choose the name for this new model.

SEAT boss Luca De Meo, who took over the reins after a stint as global marketing manager at Audi, wants SUVs to account for 30 percent to 35 percent of Seat's global sales, up from five percent last year, because he knows it will help Seat maintain its financial well-being.