We rented the 1.9TDI for two weeks holiday in July, with two drivers.
One driver normally drives a Skoda Octavia and a Fiat-based village bus and the other, a Peugeot 306 HDI and a Peugeot 205 GTI. Both drivers were unanimous in their verdict that this was the worst car that they had ever driven.
There is very dangerous blind spot either side of the windscreen, due to the excessively thick front windscreen pillars and exacerbated by the pillars being placed too far in front of the driver. This compromised safely, when negotiating roundabouts and sharp bends.
It was very difficult to judge width, as the bodywork at the sides (below the window level) bulges out, (result, one ruined tyre after hitting a kerb). Reversing was also a pain due the rear blind spots and you had to rely on the (essential) parking sensors to warn of any problems.
Handling did not inspire confidence, even with the expensive Michelin Energy 205/55 tyres fitted.
The engine torque characteristics required fairly high revs to prevent stalling.
The air conditioning is a dual zone 'climate control' system, which sounds good. Unfortunately, the two zones are left and right side, not front and back. The result was frozen feet at the front, while trying to keep rear passengers comfortable during the hot weather of the holiday.
Ride quality in the back was poor.
The high seating position was also a problem when climbing in and out.
No spare wheel, not good with a duff tyre.
Once the "best for you" driving position is achieved, the visibility is excellent. The DSG gearbox is a dream, and goes well with the deisel engine. The torque generated makes overtaking easy.
Having only done less than 1000 miles, it's too soon to talk about reliability, but so far all's well.
The radio/ cd is good and easy to set. The climatic control also is good. My only niggles are the stiffness of the seat adjustment controls. I hope they will loosen up in time.
All round, it's an excellent car and far more enjoyable to drive than my previous Mercedes C220D.
My car has the DSG gearbox and the Bluetooth system.
It is comfortable, quick (too new to really try yet), seems economical (this will improve), it's easy to drive, has sound road manners, and it's pretty quiet on the road.
The front passenger door refused to open from the inside after locking, but this was quickly put right by the dealer.
The Bluetooth system doesn't work with all phones (mine included) but I've been promised it will in September this year.
The dealership is very helpful. I will keep you updated of progress.
I wanted a five-seater (not seven) "sitty-up" car and was undecided between Altea, Focus C-Max and Scenic.
I tried them all and eventually chose the Altea. Initial impressions after 1000 miles are good.
The 1.9 TDI pulls very strongly, I advise the use of cruise control! It's very quiet and economical at motorway speeds, with a whisper of wind noise from driver's side window.
I'm impressed with internal room, oddments storage and quality of build - there are no sqeaks or rattles.
The downsides are usual with all these vehicles - I'm unable to see the front of the bonnet and unable to see low objects close to the rear when parking.
Overall, I'm very pleased with the car and am impressed with build, internal room and comfort, performance and economy.
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