Seat Altea: driven
On sale: July
You'll like: Spacious accommodation in a sharp-looking body
You won't: Changes still don't make the Altea a genuine MPV
It'll be all change in Seat showrooms this summer – as well as the revised Leon, you'll also find a new version of the Altea.
Like the Leon, the revised Altea has new bumpers, a redesigned grille and reshaped headlights. At the rear, the lights and badge are different, while a new, deeper window gives better visibility. However, the biggest changes are inside, with a new steering wheel, redesigned instrument cluster and a selection of different trim colours.
Under the bonnet
There's news in the engine line-up, too, where the headlines are taken by a new common-rail 2.0-litre turbodiesel also introduced to the Leon. Available across the range, it gives every version of the Altea (standard, XL and Freetrack) a healthy turn of speed, as well as impressive flexibility and good fuel economy.
The 207bhp 2.0-litre petrol engine also reaches the Altea, but only in the four-wheel drive Freetrack model. With a sub-eight-second 0-60mph time, this makes a suitably sporty flagship for the Altea range, which is a decidedly sporty take on the compact MPV theme.
On the road
For the type of car it is, the Altea has always been surprisingly good to drive, with fine grip and nice balance through bends, and the good news is that none of that has changed.
Likewise, the revisions do nothing to damage the flexibility on offer: the Altea remains a spacious five-seater, with a sliding rear bench that allows you to juggle passenger and luggage space; the XL version gives you more of both, and the Freetrack gives you the extra versatility of four-wheel drive.
However, the Altea still makes more sense as a large hatchback than a full-on MPV.
Still a sporty and stylish alternative to a conventional MPV.