Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Medium-sized SUV has plenty of pulling power

Medium-sized SUV has plenty of pulling power

MANY thousands of UK motorists have taken to the roads this summer towing a caravan.

Caravans these days come in all shapes and sizes, but when I think of towing a caravan I visualise larger vehicles with equally large engines.

Not that this is always necessarily so. There was one category in the prestigious annual Tow Car Awards that was won by the moderately sized SUV (sport utility vehicle) that I have been driving this week.

The Seat Ateca this summer took best tow car award in the 1,400kg-1,549kg category. Its smaller sister stablemate, the Arona SUV, scooped the ultralight tow car prize in an award that has now been running for 12 years.

I may not know much about towing a caravan — though I once took a huge caravan to La Rochelle in France behind an equally large 4x4 — but I was interested in the results of this award.

It puts the Ateca into perspective. Today, you can buy an SUV that will cost you a small fortune.

But you can also buy one to suit you — both in price and, importantly, in size. And if you are looking for a moderately sized SUV that can do some (moderate) heavy lifting, the Ateca fits the bill on both counts.

So over to the expert. David Motton, tow car editor of Practical Caravan magazine, says: “Stability is the cornerstone of any good tow car and the Ateca is reassuringly secure at all speeds. The petrol engine provides punchy performance, and four-wheel drive helps put the car’s power to the road.”

Anyone who has towed will like the sound of those words because the biggest enemy of towing a caravan has to be instabilty at any speed.

Actually, the Ateca is no stranger to awards as it notched up many in its first year, including Car Dealer magazine’s Power Car of the Year.

When I first drove the Ateca in 2017, I remember taking it into central London, thereby testing its ability on all manner of roads, including motorways and fast dual carriageways and in heavy traffic.

I said then that the Ateca scored highly on drivability, style, performance and comfort.

Two years on I have no reason to change that assessment. And as I also said then, this is an SUV that should appeal to all ages, especially young families with children.

I noted that it would be wise carefully to consider specification if you were buying a new Ateca.

That advice still applies (as it does to any new car). I have been driving the Ateca Xcellence 2.0 TDI 150PS 7-speed DSG, which was just about the perfect specification for me.

There was the right level of comfort, enough “grunt” and go from the two-litre diesel engine and — always to be recommended — excellent automatic transmission management from the seven-speed DSG gearbox.

If you want a sporty version of the Ateca there is the Ateca FR to add that dimension to Seat’s first SUV range.

There is a choice of four engines — two petrol and two diesel, all of them turbocharged. Beginning with the 1.4 Eco TSI 150 PS, available with six-speed manual or DSG-auto transmission.

The new 2.0 TSI 190 PS, debuting in Ateca, is offered exclusively with 4Drive all-wheel drive and DSG transmission. Its statistics are 40.4 mpg combined fuel economy and 0-62mph in 7.9 seconds.

The 2.0 TDI 150 PS also comes with 4Drive for added traction, posting benchmarks of 0-62 mph in nine seconds exactly and 122 mph maximum, with 55.4 mpg average fuel economy and CO2 emissions at 129 g/km.

Topping out the powertrain options is the 2.0 TDI 190 PS with 4Drive and seven-speed DSG transmission. It offers 0-62mph (7.5 seconds), and a top speed of 132 mph.

I think the Ateca is great value for money and has something for everyone in the various specifications available.

Factfile

Seat Ateca Xcellence 2.0 TDI 150PS seven-speed DSG

Colour: Samoa Orange, Metallic

Economy: 46.3- 47.9 mpg

Emissions: 123 g/km

0-62mph: 8.8 seconds

Maximum speed: 124 mph

Black Alcantara sport seats

Towbar with hook (£700)

Total cost of car with option: £31,225

Motoring

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