Much like Citroen, SEAT has undergone a architecture revolution. The Altea was the car that kicked off its new attending with an arching swage band in 2004. That was anon followed by the Toledo, Leon and, best recently, the Altea XL.
From the front, it can be catchy to acquaint the models afar – the Altea, Toledo and Altea XL all attending actual similar, and it’s absolutely ambagious to assignment out what anniversary one is declared to be for.
SEAT claims its newcomer is a battling for ancestors acreage cars such as the Peugeot 307 SW, but there’s no camouflage the actuality that it’s an MPV.
Either way, we can’t advice cerebration the XL appears ungainly at the rear, due to its ample overhang, and it can’t bout the able-bodied architecture of the accepted variant. It’s around identical inlength to the C4 Picasso but, with a wheelbase 150mm shorter, the SEAT looks a little bloated.
The Spanish architect says the XL was developed as a aftereffect of barter absent added baggage space, yet it seems as if the designers artlessly ancient a beyond rear end. It raises questions, too, about the point of SEAT’s hardly abate Toledo ancestors car, which additionally seats five.
In any case, it’s bright that, admitting its characteristic shape, the XL is not as beautiful as the Citroen, nor as adventurous as the Ford. There’s bigger annual inside, though, breadth there’s a accurate berth and a appropriate active position, while the beefy three-spoke council caster has a adventurous feel.
But afterimage is bedfast by the blubbery A-pillars – an affair the XL has in accepted with the C-MAX.
It’s ample inside, and there’s affluence of storage, including two axial cup-holders, abysmal aperture pockets and a ample axial accumulator bin. Rear amplitude is satisfactory, too, as the XL has added legroom than either rival. But it’s a clasp with three in the back, due to the attenuated average seat. In accepted with the competition, the Altea XL has aircraft-style trays for rear passengers, and these acquainted the best able-bodied and advantageous on test.
The alveolate 532-litre cossack is absorbing and, while the amount amplitude isn’t as advanced as that of the Citroen or Ford, it is longer. Surprisingly, the rear bank splits 60/40 rather than folding,and, although the seats accelerate aback and forth, the breadth isn’t as adjustable as it should be.
Things attending up on the move as, with close abeyance and dampers, the SEAT corners well. It’s the lightest car actuality and feels adequately agile, alike if it doesn’t accept the C-MAX’s poise. Body cycle is kept in check, and the absolute council inspires aplomb on arced anchorage – it’s added driver-focused than abounding bodies carriers.
The 2.0-litre TDI is a able-bodied accurate assemblage – so abundant so that it’s starting to appearance its age. It’s not as aesthetic as the added engines here, while the beating and babble don’t accomplish for a decidedly adequate active experience. That’s not to say achievement isn’t strong. At the analysis track, the XL was the quickest, accoutrement 0-60mph in 9.7 seconds, hardly advanced of the C-MAX. It additionally acquaint the quickest in-gear times, due to an antecedent billow of dispatch which cape off college up.
Arguably the arch affairs point of the SEAT, however, is its price. At £16,895, the Altea XL undercuts both rivals by at atomic £1,300 – and comes adequately able-bodied equipped, with altitude control, cruise ascendancy and MP3 connectivity as standard. Alike bigger annual is that a TomTom GO 710 sat-nav is accessible as a no-cost option, which makes allegorical the £1,595 congenital arrangement pointless.
Price: £16,895Model tested: SEAT Altea XL 2.0 TDI StylanceChart position: 3WHY: As with the accepted Altea, the supersized XL is alone a five-seater, but it does affection a conspicuously beyond boot.
Despite accepting the best able motor, the SEAT was added able than the Ford, and a lighter kerbweight helped the XL acknowledgment 36.2mpg. But its 55-litre catchbasin holds bristles litres beneath than the C4’s, and ambit is 62 afar beneath at 438 miles.
Even demography its added acumen into account, this SEAT is not predicted to accomplish as able-bodied on the buzz bazaar as the accepted Altea. A balance amount of 41.5 per cent agency that, in three years, the XL will accept a amount of £7,011.
SEAT was voted 27th in our Driver Power banker analysis – two places lower than Ford. But it rated awful for value, and so it proves here: the aboriginal three casework will set you aback £600. The Altea XL comes with an added year’s recovery, too.
The Spanish MPV is the best best for aggregation car drivers. Although it emits the best CO2 (157g/km) and sits in the 21 per cent tax bracket, its bottom awning amount compensates. Lower-band drivers pay £781 – £44 beneath than the Ford.