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Skoda Karoq vs Seat Ateca – Which is Better?

Accounting for more than 1 in 5 new cars sold, SUVs and crossovers have become increasingly popular in the UK. It’s in this competitive segment that the Skoda Karoq and Seat Ateca go head to head. You will be forgiven for thinking it is a Czech versus Spanish battle. However, it’s not that simple.

With both companies essentially owned and operated by Volkswagen, it is more a family feud than anything else. It has become common practice at VW to manufacture vehicles using similar platforms on the same factory floor. This “technically” makes the Karoq an equal sister to the Seat Ateca.

However, there are differences between the two vehicles, which we’ll run through in this advice guide:

Brand History

Seat is a major Spanish car manufacturer founded in 1950. However, it wasn’t until 1963 that their first self-developed model was released. In the early years, Seat cars were simply Fiats that had been rebadged or restyled. That was due to a lack of technical expertise and an alliance with Fiat which meant that Seat cars couldn’t be sold outside of Spain - a market which they came to dominate.

That alliance changed in 1967, with Fiat ending the export restrictions in exchange for a bigger share in the company. Fast-forward 15 years and a lack of investment from Fiat led to the end of the alliance, paving the way for Volkswagen who eventually entered a partnership with Seat in 1982. Today, while wholly belonging to the VW Group, they have established factories with the facilities to develop and design their own vehicles.

Skoda Auto, a Czech automobile company, has been in business since 1895. What initially started out as a bicycle repair shop grew into something far grander. Despite maintaining a decent reputation in post-war Czechoslovakia, Skoda’s lack of contact with technical developments from non-communist countries meant they fell behind in the 1960s to 1980s.

Fortunately for Skoda, the fall of communism in the late 1980s opened the door for Volkswagen, who were chosen as the privatisation partner for the Czech automobile industry over Renault. Volkswagen’s expertise and investment allowed Skoda to transform their range of vehicles, while still maintaining Czech production. Over the past two decades, the brand has gone from strength to strength, even poking fun at their poor reputation of yesteryear with the tagline “It’s a Skoda, honest.”

Design

Though its predecessor was the Skoda Yeti, the Karoq is much bigger with a lot more leg space and head room for all occupants. While the old Yeti had a funkier design, the new Karoq plays it safe with a reserved exterior and flowing lines. The Ateca, on the other hand, is bolder, boasting various sport versions with accompanying trim and kits.

Both makes offer models with four-wheel drive capability, which could be a great option if you drive frequently across rough or muddy terrain, or slippery lanes in colder months.

Practicality 

Both the Karoq and Ateca have phone connectivity by means of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, multiple USB ports, and ample space in the door bins. 

The one place where the Ateca has a slight advantage over the Karoq, are the handy levers in the boot that enable the rear seats to collapse forward, where the Karoq’s levers are on the front section of the rear seats.

Skoda has gone further to add the optional extra Varioflex seating system to the Karoq. This not only enables the seats to turn down, and then to fold over to create more space, but they can also be removed entirely. Removing the middle seat allows you to carry longer items with two full seats either side, or just create a more executive seating experience for two rear passengers.

While the Karoq’s 521 litre boot space is already marginally larger than that of the Ateca’s 510 litres, the true difference comes in when the seats have been removed, giving the Karoq an astounding 1820 litre space in the back area.

Besides this, the Karoq also has a 12v socket and a complimentary mini torch in the boot, collapsible umbrella under the passenger seat, optional foldout picnic tables with cup holders for rear seat passengers, and a larger cubbyhole than the Ateca.

This means for practicality, the top-range Skoda Karoq has the edge over Seat’s Ateca.

Performance

Since Seat is viewed as being Volkswagen’s sportier wing in the automobile industry, the Ateca can be a bit bumpy on the road with nippy acceleration to boot. It offers great variance with three diesel options and three petrol. Looking at the petrol options there is a modest three-cylinder 1.0 litre EcoTSI, a 1.5 litre TSI Evo that can shut half of its cylinders down to boost economy, and then there is the 2.0 litre EcoTSI that punts out 190hp and races to 60mph in under 7 seconds.

Both being under the Volkswagen umbrella means that they have very similar engine options. It is interesting to note, though, that the Karoq’s preferred petrol model is the 150hp 1.5 litre TSI Evo that gets to 60 mph in just under 9 seconds. There is a 2.0 litre TDI option on the cards, which offers similar performance, but the fact that the engine is about 180kg heavier means it offers a similar acceleration as the 1.5 litre.

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