The Nissan Qashqai is well known as the brand's breakout family SUV when they launched the first generation Qashqai back in 2006. The current third generation, the All-New Nissan Qashqai SUV, was revealed in 2021 and brought with it a new style into an increasingly competitive market more full of SUVs than before.
The SEAT Ateca was first introduced in 2016 and shares the same platform as other models in the the repertoire of the Volkswagen Group such as the Skoda Karoq and the VW T-Roc whilst still keeping the style that belongs to the brand. It was given a facelift in 2020 and there is also an Ateca model in the performance-orientated Cupra brand too.
One of the things that makes the SEAT Ateca so popular is it's sporty styling which is made up of angular lines and sharp detailing that's heavily inspired by the SEAT Leon. There are a number of things that make it more of an SUV, such as the taller ride height, squared-off wheels arches and straight roofline.
It's facelifted design saw exterior changes from the previous Ateca model include a redesigned bumpers, revised radiator grille, new LED headlamps and tail lights, and redesigned fog lamps. The Ateca’s block-capital badge has been swapped for the same script which is the same as on the rear of the SEAT Leon.
The Nissan Qashqai is an imposing car too with its large grille, chrome details, and squared off headlights. It's also got plastic trims around the wheels and door mirrors to keep it on track with it's SUV style.
Both give an elevated and commanding driving position but the Ateca has more head room than the Qashqai which means that you can also the raise the seat positions higher. It does have thick rear pillars, so the Qashqai has better reversing visibility and also a great rear view camera from the Acenta Premium model onwards.
The facelift of the SEAT Ateca was revealed in June 2020 and saw a new leather steering wheel, updated door cards and a choice of new upholstery designs being added across the range. It also has an eight-way electrically adjustable driver’s seat, a pair of new USB-C ports, a multi-colour ambient lighting system and voice recognition. The Ateca has an 8.25-inch infotainment system as standard with a larger 9.2-inch unit as an option.
Both cars boast practical, comfortable cabins, with multi-adjustable driver's seats and steering wheels. A better driving position is easier to adjust to in the Ateca and it has sturdier controls but the Qashqai features a chicer interior plus nicer finishing trims.
With all five seats in use the SEAT Ateca has the most boot space at 510 litres compared to the Nissan Qashqai at 430. However if you fold the rear seats the Qashqai gives a completely flat loading bay all the way along. The Ateca still has more room with 1604 litres compared to the Qashqai's 1598.
Both the Nissan Qashqai and the SEAT Ateca are both well equipped cars but at entry level the Ateca is better equipped from the get go.
The SEAT Ateca SE has 17 inch alloy wheels, an 8.25 inch colour infotainment screen with a proximity sensor, roof rails, a wireless phone charger, and adjustable lumbar support for the front seats. Looking at the Qashqai these are all available but you have to look for a higher trim level than the entry level Visia. Plus the entry level Ateca is only £580 more than the Qashqai Visia.
As you upgrade through the trim levels on both models, the SEAT Ateca continues to offer tech and equipment for less money than the equivalent Qashqai whilst staying at the same standard. Across both models you can still expect similarities such as offering Apple Carplay and Android Auto, LED headlights, and adaptive cruise control.
Both models have a choice of petrol engines with the Qashqai options all being supported by mild hybrid technology.
The SEAT Ateca offers more engine sizes with a 1.0 litre, 1.5 litre, and 2.0 litre petrol and 2.0 litre diesel options all available compared to the Qashqai's 1.3 litre with two power outputs. It does mean that you'll have more power if you opt for the 2.0 litre Ateca as it gives 190PS compared to the 160PS option for the Qashqai. Both offer a four wheel drive option with certain engines.
The best fuel economy for petrol engines comes from the Qashqai with a combined mpg of as much as 44.9 for the 160PS engine compared to 35.3 mpg for the 2.0 litre 190PS Ateca engine. The emissions are lower for the Qashqai too, 142 g/km of CO2 against 184 g/km for the same two engines.
The SEAT Ateca does have better results if you opt for the 2.0 litre diesel engine. It can have as much as 58.9 combined mpg and emissions as low as 126 g/km but is a better option if you do longer journeys outside of towns and cities.
The driving experience is good in either model. The Qashqai's suspension is softer so it absorbs much more of the bumps in the road at any speed but the Ateca has better control meaning that it recovers from body roll better after dips. The Qashqai sways a little more in the corners than the Ateca with it's tighter handling and more responsive steering.
The Nissan Qashqai and the SEAT Ateca are both great crossover options, especially if you're looking for a family SUV with lots of room, but each shines in its own way.
If equipment is important when comparing the Nissan Qashqai vs Seat Ateca, then the Ateca gives you more for your money from the very first trim level. However if it's performance that's most important than you might be drawn more towards the Qashqai which has better emissions and fuel consumption results.