The only petrol engine on offer it a 103bhp. 1.2 turbo. It’s not exactly quick, but it’s flexible enough to keep you going at a decent rate. The diesels will be more popular. The 103bhp 1.6 is adequate rather than electrifying, while the 138bhp 2.0 gives strong, smooth pace.
Seat’s tall hatch has good handling, thanks to firm suspension that keeps body movement in check. The downside is a rather unforgiving ride, and in a car that’s designed to carry families, ride comfort is more important than handling. The longer XL version feels virtually the same as the standard Altea.
We have no complaints about the engines, which are generally refined. However, road noise is far too pronounced at motorway speeds, and you can hear the wind licking at the rear edges of the front doors.
List prices are competitive for the Altea, undercutting those of key rivals such as the VW Golf Plus. Buyers should be able to haggle for a discount, too. Running costs are reasonable and there’s a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty. The popular diesels command higher resale values than petrol models.
The Altea’s cabin is solidly built. Seat has tried to make it interesting to look at, but the hard plastics, sombre colour scheme and small glass area make the cabin feel dark and drab. The Altea’s VW-sourced mechanicals are proven and should present few problems.
All Alteas come with anti-lock brakes and stability control to keep the car in check, even in slippery corners. There are also twin front, side and curtain airbags, and ISOFIX child seat mounts, as well as an alarm and deadlocks fitted.
The driver’s seat is height-adjustable and the steering wheel moves for reach and rake to give good comfort. The controls are logically placed, too, but the small windows between the windscreen and front doors are of little use, while the upsweep of the rearmost side windows creates a blind spot when reversing.
There’s lot of space in the cabin for adult passengers, and the rear seats split, fold flat and slide. However, they don't tumble, and can't be removed completely like they can in other MPVs. That said, the split-level boot is deep and large, especially in the longer XL model. XL models also have roof rails.
Entry-level S models have air-conditioning, front electric windows, a CD player with an Aux-in socket, while S Copa models add alloys, Bluetooth, and climate and cruise controls. SE trim brings electric rear windows and a leather steering wheel, while SE Copa trim adds sat-nav, DAB radio and automatic lights and wipers.
Order a brochure, find your nearest dealer or book a test drive
This version combines excellent practicality with low running costs. Stylish, clean and roomy, this is our favourite version of the Altea.