SEAT certainly took their sweet time in jumping aboard the global SUV bandwagon. Only last year did the Barcelona-based marque pop the cork on their first ever crossover, the Ateca. After a lengthy spell in the development pipeline, totalling five years and encompassing two concept versions, the production-ready Ateca finally got its curtain call at last year’s Geneva Motor Show.
As part of the Volkswagen group’s three-pronged global product offensive, the Ateca piggybacks on the same platform used by the latest incarnations of the Skoda Yeti and VW Tiguan. Previously fleshed out by the S, SE and Xcellence derivatives, the Ateca range is about to take a step into the fast lane with the release of the new SEAT Ateca FR edition.
Unveiled in SEAT’s Barcelona backyard, the sportiest incarnation yet of the instantly successful SUV is underpinned by its uniquely tailored powertrain line-up, which features two turbo petrol and two turbo diesel options.
The 1.4 litre Eco TSI from the existing Ateca range returns as the base option for the new FR. However, if a mere 148bhp fails to sufficiently satisfy your appetite for power, help is at hand. Exclusively for the FR, the Ateca roster now includes SEAT’s brand new 2.0 litre TSI engine, whose 187bhp will see the gutsier SUV sprint from 0-62mph in 7.9 seconds with the help of all-wheel drive and a dual clutch gearbox.
Also kitted out with SEAT’s 4Drive AWD system is the 2.0 litre turbo diesel unit. Available in two separate power outputs, the more modest 148bhp variant will manage 0-62 mph in 9 seconds exactly and hit 122 mph at full chat. The king of the Ateca FR castle, however, is undoubtedly the 187bhp version of the turbo diesel. With a seven-speed DSG transmission on board, this top of the line engine will push the FR past 62mph in 7.5 seconds and hit the limiter at a none-too-shabby 132 mph.
Complementing its new-found punch, the FR gains a physique worthy of its place at the peak of the Ateca pyramid. Aluminium roof rails and door trims plus double chrome tailpipes provide the sparkle, while the high-gloss black front grille gives the FR a subtly meaner air than those below it in the Ateca ranks. Standard 18-inch or the optional but eye-catching 19-inch alloys are framed by body colour wheel arch surrounds and side skirts, with a small rear roof spoiler taking care of aerodynamic matters.
The upgraded cabin takes its cues from SEAT’s other FR derivatives, in the form of the Leon and Ibiza hatches, by throwing in selectable multi-colour ambient mood lighting, Alcantara leather sports seats as well as a grippier leather-trimmed steering wheel. In terms of infotainment, the Ateca’s eight-inch smart phone-compatible touchscreen is a nerve centre from which satnav, audio and – most importantly on the FR – drive settings can be toggled. Specifically, the Ateca FR’s steering and gearshift pattern are fully tweakable whilst the engine can be tuned for a sharper throttle response. Here, owners of the AWD models will get to play with further settings for off-road or snow-bound adventures.
Although the Ateca gains plenty of toys in FR guise, it’s still worth leafing through the options list for extras such as a panoramic sunroof, wireless phone charger and automatic Park Assist.
Base prices for the SEAT Ateca FR range from £25,000 to £31,000, depending chiefly on your preference in the powertrain department. Order books in the UK open up in July this year, with the first few deliveries of SEAT’s spritely new SUV due in time for the autumn.