In October my partner and I decided it was time to upgrade our car to something a bit more practical to accommodate our 1 year old daughter. Having driven smaller cars for most of my driving days I was a little nervous when the Seat pulled up in my driveway! However, it is a great looking MPV (which is more than can be said for a lot of them), with a smart interior and plenty of visibility. It comes with handy little extras like cup holders and a sliding parcel shelf. The boot is extremely spacious and easily fits the pram and shopping in.
The engine is a little bit noisy, but if like myself you do mostly dual carriageway driving then it's not a problem and you soon tune it out. This car is fantastic on the fuel, I get around 550 miles to a tank of fuel which makes it very cost efficient and as I do a lot of miles I am very thankful for this, and the cruise control!
My favourite part of this car is the parking sensors! As this is the first "big car" I have driven I was very nervous about parking and misjudging the space and having a bash! But with the parking sensors I am very confident and it makes driving this car even more enjoyable.
I bought this car 5 years ago when we had our first child, I had the Seat Arosa before that and absolutley loved it, however with babies comes so much excess baggage and there was just not enough room!! I use the Altea all the time and have found it a great family safe and secure car to be in, I have since had an additional child and I have no inclination to change the car as yet, it drives well, it is a bigger car ideal for famalies but not too big to feel like you are driving a tank!! You can have a child seat and a booster chair in the back nd still have room for Nannie in the back to keep them occupied on a long journey!! The only downfall for me is the hieght of the roof.. me being only 5ft tall has to stretch to clean the top but it also gives me a good excuse to take it to the car wash!! If you are looking for a family car spacious boot big enough for pushchaire and shopping without the feeling of taking over the road, the Altea is the car to go for. i love it
Previously we had a Renault Scenic as our family car, but decided to get a slightly smaller car now the kids were a bit older and prams and buggies were needed no more.
We've had our Altea now for 2 years and covered about 20,000 miles and havent had any problems so far (touch wood). I was under the impression that Seat were just the same engines as Volkswagon, however I feel this cars quite noisy compared to the Golf TDi I had a few years ago.
Its a good car to drive, the wife and I both like it, its good round town and on motorways. It also feels safe.
The engines acceleration, mpg (about 40-45) and reliability are all fine, its no sports car but certainely sufficient for family use(its actually quite nippy). Theres plenty of space both in the boot and inside the car,
Equipment levels are fine on this model, nice alloys, electric windows in the front, sporty fog lights. The front sport seats fit round really well to help ride comfort.
If youre considering a Seat the Alteas a good choice.
When you think of all the great car producing countries around the world you automatically think of the USA, Japan, Germany & that once great car producing country, the UK.
Spain is not one you think much of but in actual fact both Nissan & Ford produce cars in Spain & the country has been producing its own cars since 1953, namely Seat (pronounce it See-at).
Early Seat models were made under license from Fiat in Italy but it helped to kick start their motor industry, Seat vehicles were only sold in Spain. It wasn't until the mid 1980s that Seat took the brave step to produce a model of its own, the Ibiza.
This 'supermini' was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro & boasted as having "Italian styling & German engines" as Porsche were responsible for the engine design. It was known for having a rather quirky interior instrument layout, marked by a lack of control stalks. The indicators were operated by a rocker switch & the headlights by a sliding switch. It was the first official Seat car imported into the UK & although build quality left a lot to be desired it established Seat in the UK.
It wasn't long after that when Seat were taken over by Volkswagen & today all the Seat models are based on VW models but with a less conservative look both inside & outside. Seat cars appeal to a younger market & tend to be more stylish than the VW models they are based on.
THE SEAT ALTEA
It is difficult to 'pigeon hole' the Altea, its like a tall five door hatch back or a mini MPV, either way it looks very stylish although looks are a subjective matter. For this particular test I drove the 1.9 turbo diesel model which came with a reasonable high level of equipment.
As you can imagine with links with VW the Altea is finished off to a very high standard, the doors have a solid feel to them & close with a reassuring 'clunk' each time. The standard of paintwork & panel gaps is excellent, this looks & feels like a premium product.
The key has a 'switch blade' type function for the ignition & three remote buttons on the fob, press it once just to unlock the drivers door, you need to press it again to open the remaining doors & tailgate. The tailgate also has a separate button for remote access.
Open the door & step inside & rather than lower yourself in to the car you merely step inside, great if you are elderly & find it difficult climbing into cars. The seating is very comfortable & there is loads of space for five adults with decent amounts of head, leg & shoulder room. The boot is vast & would carry five peoples worth of baggage without much problems, a pull out tonneau cover helps to cover the luggage area rather than a shelf.
The dash layout is more stylish than the conservative layout of VW models, it wraps itself around the driver but it's a shame that Seat hasn't made it truly suitable for right hand drive. The centre console is sculptured away to allow easy access to the handbrake lever for left hand drive models, less so for right hand drive. The dials are also set out to suit left hand drive rather than right hand drive, but having said that you soon get used to it.
The instrument panel has the speedo on the right, a small rev counter in the middle & the fuel, temperature & warning lamp readout on the left. The heating & ventilation controls look overly complicated with separate temp setting for both passenger & driver, is this really necessary when you are sitting so close together?
There is a good quality radio CD below the heating controls but the black on green display looks very 1980ish, there is a separate socket for an ipod on the centre console with an awkward flap to protect it. The rest of the switchgear is scattered around on the right hand side of the dash, door & centre console including a switch to switch on or off the traction control.
The materials used inside are of high quality & give me the impression they will take a fair amount of abuse. The throttle pedal is fixed to the floor instead of hanging down but it works really well, there is also a generous foot rest next to the clutch pedal.
Front seats are very comfortable with generous range of adjustments including seat height & lumbar support. The rear seats fold down to increase luggage space & are easy to operate. There is ample cubby space on the doors & dash including two hinged areas under the front seats to hold a first aid kit or similar.
A nice touch is sun shades for the rear door windows that roll into the door when not in use & clip onto hooks on the door frame when required; they cover the entire window area & are really effective in hot weather.
Equipment levels are good with electric windows, central locking, radio CD, climate control, traction control & alloy wheels.
DRIVING THE ALTEA
It is easy to get a comfortable driving position & a good view of the road ahead. As you start the car up it leaves you in no doubt that it's a diesel. As far as diesel engines go this are not the quietest diesel engines on the market despite generous sound deadening material fitted.
As you move off performance is very brisk indeed & as you gather speed the engine noise becomes less intrusive. The gear change is pleasant enough & the clutch pedal light & smooth, the brakes have a reassuring feel to them & have no problem stopping the Altea at various speeds.
For such a tall car the handling is safe & predictable & encourages spirited driving around corners, the ride is smooth & the car absorbs bad surfaces really well.
All in all, a very impressive car indeed using tried & tested VW mechanicals with a more stylish interior & body. On the day I took it for a 60 mile run I met a service manager at a local Seat dealer who explained that these cars have their fair share of problems. A generous warranty will cover anything that will go wrong but this has to be kept in mind when buying one.
Would I buy one, it's not for me, but based on a 60 mile run I must say I was quite impressed with the Altea, It was well finished & very roomy, if Seat could get the reliability issues sorted out this would be real cracker of a car.
SEAT ALTEA STYLANCE 1.9TDI-COULD BE GOOD,BUT.....................
I've been running my Altea for 2 years now,and have covered 70,000 mostly trouble free miles.I decided to buy one to replace my Renault Megane 19 DCI coupe,which although fast and sexy,was not practical enough for my new family.I chose Lunar Grey metallic,and ordered an electric sunroof,a steal at £310.
On taking delivery of the Altea,i was shocked when i started it up.The engine was SO NOISY.I had a Golf TDi once,which had the same powerplant,but VW fitted much better sound insulation.Driving the car,i also noticed road noise was excessive,compared to most other cars.
The car,however drove quite well,with a good balance of sharp handling/steering with decent ride quality,although bumpy town roads do feel uncomfortable at times.Long journeys are much better,and the seats are superbly confortable,even after 5 hours of driving.
Economy is not the class best( i average 44mpg) and performance is repectable at best.The car is practical with a large boot,which can be made bigger by sliding the rear bench seat forwards.There is a few cubby holes,for bits and pieces and the rear seats fold 40/60.
The Altea is well equipped with nice 16" alloys,front fogs,cruise control,multi airbags,remote control radio/cd,trip computer,and leather steering wheel.
I said at the beginning of the review,that i had done 70,000 mostly trouble free miles.Now i will tell you about the other none trouble free miles......
2000 MILES......started to have gearbox problems.
The gear box kept jumping out of 5th.I took the car to a Seat dealer,who changed a bearing in the gearbox.All was well until
6500 MILES......very loud noises from gearbox.
The car was recovered by towtruck and taken to another Seat garage,who eventually fitted a new gearbox.Total time off road in 6500 miles was 14 days.
25,000 -70,000 MILES.....excessive road noise,especially less than 30mph.This is caused by irregular tyrewear,caused by wrong suspension geometry.This is a common problem with many Alteas/Leons,and Seat UK won't admit to this,although some dealers do,as will many tyre retailers.This noise has spoilt any enjoyment i have from this car,and it is akin to driving over a cattle grid.My daughter hates this,sitting in the back,i hate it,and Seat dealers won't do anything about it.
Quite simply this should be a good car,but for a few quite annoying issues,it isn't.