The working class suburbs to the south of Manchester city centre have given rise to their fair share of icons over the years - painter LS Lowry, singer-songwriter Morrissey and Manchester United Football Club to name but a few.

So perhaps Seat was hoping to embark on a success story of its own when it chose the industrial backdrop of the Victoria Warehouse, in the shadow of Old Trafford stadium, as the unlikely venue for the UK media launch of the Ateca, its first-ever compact SUV.

The warehouse, now converted to host corporate events with an urban edge, provided a gritty yet funky backdrop for the enjoyable cinema-style press briefing on a vehicle that is arguably the Spanish manufacturer's most important yet.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

WAREHOUSE: The press briefing taking place in urban surroundings

Seat says urban areas are the 'key habitat' for the Ateca, so where better to truly get under the skin of the vehicle than weaving through the many roundabouts, traffic-light-controlled junctions and challenging lane systems of Trafford, Salford, Stretford and their environs?

The route of the test drive took me within a stone's throw of Salford Lads Club, the spot where one of the most famous photos in music history was taken when the Smiths posed for a moody picture outside the building.

As I lined up the dynamic-looking Ateca for a photo in that very location, I was struck by the irony that the Smiths' lead singer, Morrissey, had started in humble Mancunian surroundings before finding great popularity in Spanish-speaking countries, and here was a Spanish manufacturer seeking to do the exact opposite by finding favour in Manchester and ultimately the wider UK market.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

ICONIC: The colour of Salford Lads Club and the new Ateca blend perfectly 

So far, the omens are looking good, with more than 11,000 members of the British public having registered an interest in buying one - even before the car hit the showrooms.

Once behind the wheel, it's easy to see why the vehicle is already creating a stir. Acceleration is swift and responsive on all versions of the car, handling is excellent and the vehicle benefits from eye-catching styling.

Buyers have a choice of five EU6 compliant engines from launch - comprising 1.0-litre and 1.4-litre petrol units along with three diesel versions.

First up, the Telegraph & Argus tested the most powerful 2.0-litre diesel version.

Unusually for vehicles in this class, power is available right up to 190PS, with four-wheel drive thrown into the mix on this impressive machine. Once you select Sport mode, the responsiveness of the engine is pleasing, with a decent 0-62mph time of 7.5 seconds.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

LINE-UP: A collection of Atecas ready for action 

Later in the day, I was able to test the 1.4-litre and 1.6-litre versions which, although a little slower off the mark, still proved quite sprightly.

The steering is accurate and neat, while there's very little by way of body roll.

Ride quality is also very composed as the car eases over bumpier surfaces.

During the relatively short test sessions, it was tricky to get a true picture of fuel consumption, but official figures show between 52 and 66mpg on the combined cycle, with emissions of between 113 and 135g/km, depending which version of the car you buy.

The driving position was comfortable and offered enough adjustment to allow most motorists to find a suitable position behind the wheel.

Indeed, the whole interior had a spacious feel, adding to its appeal as a potential family car.

Seat says the other target markets for the vehicle include 'wealthy homesteads', namely couples aged over 50.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

DISPLAY: A shining Ateca on show at the launch event

In terms of looks, the exterior features some elements of the popular Leon, including a trapezoidal grille, side blisters with sharp creases and a striking triangular light signature.

There is a choice of 11 paint jobs, and my test vehicle's orangey-red paintwork seemed a perfect match for the colour of Manchester's brick buildings, as illustrated in the image below.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

However, it would be equally fair to compare the car's somewhat dull dashboard to the slate grey afternoon skies above the north-west city.

In fairness, daytime driving meant I wasn't able to see the best of the new ambient lighting, which is said to be a 'special feature' of the interior and now doubt adds a bit more sparkle.

If the dash lacks a little in colour, it more than makes up for it in terms of equipment and functionality.

There's a user-friendly touchscreen infotainment system as standard, along with the Seat Connect App, which has been developed with Samsung.

The cockpit feels as though it has been designed entirely around the driver, with the controls grouped closely together.

With this vehicle, Seat is entering into a highly-competitive market - and it's never easy to be the newcomer. But the Spanish firm has decided it simply can't ignore the growing compact SUV segment any longer.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

LOCATION: Manchester United's stadium forms the backdrop

Everyone and everything has to start somewhere. While Lowry, Morrissey and Man United had humble beginnings all those years ago in Stretford, Hulme and Newton Heath respectively, perhaps a Trafford warehouse can prove the perfect launchpad for Seat's latest project.

In terms of cost, the Ateca is launching from a reasonable £17,990, undercutting a number of key rivals. However, it's worth noting that you'll need double that amount for a top power, top spec verion with options.

Another point to take onboard is the fact the Ateca has been given the highest ever residual value forecast for a Seat model, coming in at 59 per cent after three years or 30,000 miles.

All in all, it's a vehicle that's well capable of making its mark and could well be up there with the class leaders.

After today's foray over the Pennines, it seems appropriate to conclude with a commonly-used Mancunian term that best describes this vehicle: Sound.