I have owned this car since October and covered 3000 miles. I ordered the 2.0-litre diesel with DSG gearbox, normal suspension and 17-inch wheels.
The gearbox is the smoothest auto I've ever driven, especially when accelerating. My wife has back problems but both of us found the front seats to be very comfortable (we went for leather). I've also been impressed by the handling - it's in a different league to my old PT Cruiser. It even seems quite good compared to the Fiat Barchetta I also drive.
Economy has been 45-50mpg, depending on how much we do around town. I'm told this will improve as the engine is run in. The A-pillars aren't great, but no worse than the Picasso I tried, or the Cruiser. I found I got used to them quite quickly. The rear view isn't great either, but I didn't find it a problem to park.
Driving the car is a calm and quiet experience around town or on the motorways. The engine noise is a little intrusive at crawling speed, but in general it is very quiet. A friend just bough the Focus C-MAX, but having been in both I'm very pleased with the Altea and wouldn't swap it. The Altea feels better quality and better to drive, but the C-MAX does have more space in the boot and better options with the back seats.
Overall I'm very pleased - the only problems we've had are a delay in delivery and the boot being fractionally out of allignment, which meant the rear wiper didn't work at first.
As a former Toledo owner, I have waited for the new Leon to arrive for some time. However, having been inside one, I'm disappointed with its bland interior and small boot, although it looks nice on the outside.
The Altea has the Leon's good looks but is just a bit bigger, and its seating position and interior are better too.
The 2.0 FSI is new to me, as I have always had diesels before. Now, however, with the additional cost (5p per litre) at the pump and the £800 diesel premium it's not cost effective. The FSI is good on fuel (approximately 38mpg) but it has not got the mid-range pull of a diesel.
The car is smooth up through the gears and always gives the feeling that it is willing to go if required. That is not to say that it is slow - 150bhp is more than many diesels, but it just supplies it differently.
The ride on the Sport is firm, but the seats are very good with large bolsters. The new suspension is excellent, but the view out the front is not the best with the large A-pillars. If you can live with it, then this is a great car, and not too common either!
What clinched the deal was 12% off list price - there's not much discount on the Leon yet.
I've test driven the 2.0 Sport TDi DSG. It was a great drive and I am seriously considering buying one. But I have a question for Altea owners - I found the road noise on motorways/dual carrageways to be quite pronounced.
It sounded similar to the Cordoba I rented in Lanzarote earlier this year, and I would be interested to hear other views on this road roar impression.
As I do quite a bit of motoway travel and need to converse on mobile hands free and listen to the radio, I am slightly concerned. Do other drivers consider this an issue?
Other than that - wow!!
I paid under £10k for my pre-registered, brand-new Altea in May.
I must disagree with John Millns. I have owned, borrowed, or hired many cars ranging in size from a Seat Arosa Sport to a Volvo 245 estate and driven many Ford, Peugot, Renault, Rover, Skoda and VW cars.
This is the smoothest, quietest car of them all. The ride and handling are both very good; even at speed the car always feels safe and on the road.
Sure, the rear windscreen is high and narrow, so reversing requires care, but I don't need any parking sensors to drive my car backwards. I was fully accustomed to the width and visibility within days. These encourage care and observation when going forwards. Dangerous? No way.
The higher seating position compared with that of old cars has received only positive feedback from passengers getting in or out of the car.
The spare wheel is a £30 option.
The 1.6 litre petrol engine is fine, with a refined but gutsy note, while averaging 31mpg.
The car does everything I need. I will keep it for years if it proves as reliable as my M-reg Ibiza, which covered 110,000 faultless miles before it was sold. It required only new tyres, brake pads and discs, ignition leads, a wheel bearing and a clutch along the way.
No, I'm not easily pleased. I'm 34 and fussy.
The CD/radio is OK but my fussy streak has lead to upgraded speakers to improve sound quality.
This is an excellent car, especially for the price I paid.
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