Our cars: Goodbye Seat Altea XL - Introduction

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  • Year-long Altea XL test
  • Photographer's life with the car
  • Magical boot, annoying niggles elsewhere
Car tested: Seat Altea XL 2.0 TDI Stylance
List price: £17,345
Target Price: £15,593
Run by: Will Williams, photographer
Tested for: 12 months/
34,768 miles
Why it's on test: To see if the biggest Altea can satisfy someone with an XL kind of life?

First things first: I like the Altea XL. Not a lot, but I like it.

At first sight, it perhaps wasn't the sort of car people might have expected me to choose. You see, I'm a sucker for looks; I tend to fall in love with a car at first sight and then deal with any impracticality later on.

Not this time, though.

I chose the Altea XL primarily because it was, well, extra large, and had room for my photographic kit, my girlfriend, her son and all of his toys. When I get a moment of peace, it also has room for my own favourite toy – my mountain bike.

I didn't particularly want to shell out loads of money for all of this practicality, though, which is why I went for the 2.0-litre turbodiesel version.

Official average economy of 47.9mpg boded well, as did carbon dioxide emissions of 160g/km. For company car tax payers, the XL sits in the 22% band.

The engine might not have put out much CO2, but it did put out a decent 138bhp and 236lb ft of low-down torque.

This was transferred to the road through Seat's Direct-Shift Gearbox, a semi-auto system that is claimed to boost economy and which changes gear a lot more smoothly than I ever could.

I deemed a few choice options essential, because I spend so much time in my car.

First off, I went for an iPod link, and then I ticked the box for Bluetooth mobile phone connection.

I do plenty of night-time mileage, so it seemed foolhardy to pass up the optional bi-xenon headlights that swivel when you turn the steering. Finally, I went for a set of 17-inch alloys, simply for the fact that they look good.



What Car? Photographer, Will Williams

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Our cars: Goodbye Seat Altea XL - Getting the know the Altea XL

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