We have the car from new it is an excellent car and has never let us down 1000 km for full tank
A fun steer
Well made, quiet
Good looking, fun-to-drive, good value.
Odd rear ends
No small TDi
Not C-Max sharp
Basic rear seats
ESP not for all!
Not really an MPV, basic R spec, firm ride.
The Altea is essentially a Golf Plus, although it’s considerably sexier than the VW, with the exception of its bland rear end. The XL’s rear is larger but no more appealing, while the Freetrack uses plastic cladding to look like an off-roader. Irish importers are looking at a lower-spec Freetrack.
The 1.6 hits 100km/h in a respectable 12.8secs & tops 181 km/h but the 1.9 TDi is quicker (12.3s/183km/h). The 2.0 is faster (9.6/206km/h) but the 140bhp 2.0TDi isn’t far behind (9.9/201km/h). The 170bhp 2.0TDi is quick (8.5s/208km/h) but you shift gears a lot. The 2.0T rocks: 0-100 in 7.8, 220km/h.
The Altea is a surprisingly spirited handler. It’s based on the Golf’s platform, so it steers with precision and doesn’t roll much in corners. The brakes are strong, but the ride is rather firm for a small MPV. The Freetrack's AWD system compensates well for the elevated suspension.
The interior has a soft, organic shape to it that curls all the controls towards the driver, making for a cosy and simple-to-use driving environment. The all-red illumination hurts the eyes at times, but otherwise it’s tough to fault the Altea’s cabin. The Freetrack's cabin is essentially the same.
Being based on the Golf’s sophisticated platform, you can expect the Altea to ride with composure (it’s a tiny bit too firm, though) and isolate occupants from the road well. Quality is up to VW standards too, but some plastics still aren’t quite as good.
The Altea achieved an exemplary 5-Star NCAP score and comes with front, side and curtain airbags, traction control, three 3-point rear seat belts, three headrests in the rear and ISOFIX child seat anchors. Front belt pre-tensioners and load limiters also feature, but ESP only appears on top models.
The rear seats don’t do anything clever like sliding, flipping or disappearing into the floor. There’s decent room in there, though, and there are over 30 storage places in the cabin, as well as a huge boot. Still, it’s all a bit pointless, really.
The Altea is good value, offering Focus C-Max/Renault Scenic space for family car money. It's also well equipped and very safe. How much it costs to run depends on which engine you get, and the same applies to residual values. The high-spec Freetrack won't come to Ireland a low-spec version might.
The R has electric front windows, remote locks, CD player. The S adds 16” alloys, foglights, leather steering with audio controls, climate control, rear electric windows, electric folding mirrors, trip computer, cruise control. The FR adds 17” alloys, bodykit, sports seats, sports suspension.
Six engines offered: a willing but overworked 102bhp/148Nm 1.6; a gruff 105bhp/250Nm 1.9TDi, a perky 150bhp/200Nm 2.0 and a grunty 140bhp/320Nm 2.0TDi. The 200bhp/300Nm 2.0 turbo powers sporty FR and is better than the 170bhp/350Nm 2.0TDi, which has too narrow a powerband for performance driving.