- Fun to drive
- Efficient diesel engines
- Plenty of used car bargains
- Feels a little dated now
- Not the most comfortable
- Disappointing interior quality
Stylish, spacious five-seater MPV
The Seat Altea is one of the most striking looking MPVs that’s currently available. First introduced in 2004, the Altea offers family buyers a practical solution to their day-to-day needs. There’s ample space in the cabin, and build quality is excellent. Engines are also efficient, though they’re not as green as some of its more modern rivals. Nevertheless, the Altea is great to drive, and though it’s not the most comfortable, there’s plenty of space in the back for bulky items. An Altea XL version adds an even bigger luggage capacity for those who want increased practicality.
The Altea ceased production in 2015, and was replaced by the crossover SUV, the Seat Ateca.
Spacious, practical, but let down by poor materials
One of the primary concerns of family buyers is practicality. The Altea comes up trumps in this respect, especially in the XL version, though some buyers will be disappointed with the cheap-feeling cabin. Entry-level models don’t come with much equipment either.
The dashboard design of the Altea feels a little dated nowadays, especially when you compare it side by side with something like a Nissan Qashqai. Nevertheless, like in all Seats, build quality is excellent. Controls are also well-placed, well-damped, and easy to use. Unfortunately however, materials used throughout the cabin feel cheap and nasty. There’s no soft-touch materials here, with hard scratchy plastics used throughout.
When it comes to space, the Altea isn’t as impressive as some rivals, but there’s still enough space for most families. The standard Altea comes with a 409 litre boot capacity, whilst the Altea XL packs in an extra 123 litres. Both Altea’s are smaller than the Ford C-Max (550 litres), but there’s still enough space for a pram, a big shop, or a couple of suitcases.
Equipment levels in the Altea are decent, though it’s probably worth avoiding the entry-level S trim. This spec misses out on rear electric windows, climate control, and cruise control. To get these basics, you’ll have to upgrade to the SE trim, which also adds a leather steering wheel.
The inside of the Altea isn’t quite as impressive as in some more modern rivals. It’s not as spacious as the best in the class, and the quality lags some way behind most competitors. Equipment levels are also a little disappointing, and you’ll have to go for a mid-spec car to get everything that you’ll likely need.
Good fun to drive, but not the most refined
The Seat Altea is a car that looks sporty, so you would imagine the driving experience would be up to standard. For an MPV, the Altea is thankfully good fun. It’s not as engaging as a Ford C-Max, but there’s plenty of grip, body roll is kept well in check, and the steering offers a reasonable amount of feedback. Even if you go for the bigger XL model, you’ll still get a positive driving experience, which is sure to be a hit with family buyers who don’t want to compromise on fun, when they buy for practicality.
Suspension and Chassis
The stiff suspension and chassis, which make the Altea great to drive, does compromise comfort and refinement somewhat. Bad road surfaces, potholes, and speed bumps jolt through into the cabin, which makes for a bumpy ride. Road and wind noise are noticeable at higher speeds as well, so the Altea isn’t the most refined motorway cruiser in its class.
Gearbox options in the Altea come in three guises. At the entry-level of the range is a five-speed manual that’s notchy, and misses out on the flexibility of a sixth gear for motorway driving. A six-speed manual transmission is more common on more expensive models, that improves on the latter, but not the former. There’s also a DSG automatic version available, which is impressive, and probably the one to go for.
A solid range of efficient engines
When it comes to deciding how you want to power your Altea, you’ve got the choice of two engines, both of which are diesels. Both engines offers pretty impressive fuel efficiency, though neither are great for the environment.
Power isn’t a facet that’s usually the most important to family buyers, and the Altea doesn’t buck the trend in offering a performance-orientated model. The most powerful engine in the Altea range is the diesel-powered 2.0 TDI, that produces 140bhp, and boasts a 0-62mph time of 9.7 seconds. Those figures aren’t going to please petrolheads, but this engine does offer the greatest flexibility in the range.
The Seat Altea is a car that’s starting to show its age, so eco-friendly buyers aren’t treated to modern, green engines. The most environmentally friendly engine in the range is the diesel-powered 1.6 litre TDI, which produces 119g/km of CO2 emissions. With a lot of manufacturers now offering compact MPVs with sub-100g/km emissions, the Altea isn’t the greenest car in its class. This model is however the best option for money savers, as it offers an impressive 62.8mpg. Again, this isn’t the most efficient car available in the class, but family buyers won’t be spending too much money at the fuel pumps each week.
Both engines in the Altea range are starting to feel their age. No doubt they’re efficient, and offer enough power, but they’re also quite noisy compared to those you’d find in more modern cars, and they’re not the greenest either.
Full marks in NCAP safety tests, decent standard safety kit
Like nearly every car in its class, the Seat Altea easily achieved the highest possible 5-star NCAP safety rating. It’s worth noting however that when the Altea was tested way back in 2004, tests weren’t nearly as rigorous as they are today. The Altea scored 5-stars in adult safety, 4-stars in child safety, and 3-stars in pedestrian safety. It’s hard to compare it directly with more modern cars, but back in 2004 this were impressive results. You’ll also get six airbags, traction control, electronic stability control, and electronic brake assist on all models, which should put most families minds at rest.
High depreciation makes the Altea a great used buy
The Seat Altea represents good value for money for family buyers. Fuel efficiency is pretty impressive throughout the range, so you can save yourself money on diesel over the course of the car's lifespan. CO2 emissions aren’t the lowest in the class, but they’re not high enough to make road tax too expensive. Even the worst model only costs £110 each year.
Insurance costs in the Altea are also good value for money. This varies from model to model, but generally speaking you won’t be paying any more than you would for an equivalent rival. The cheapest Altea to insure is the 1.6 TDI S, which is in group 13, whilst the most expensive is the range-topping 2.0 TDI CR Sport XL, which is in group 21.
Depreciation is a large factor with the Altea, but only if you chose to buy from new. First year depreciation was as high as 40%, so there’s plenty of inspected used car bargains available, especially now the Altea has been replaced in the Seat lineup by the Ateca.
The Seat Altea is a good-value, fun to drive, five-seater MPV. It’s not as comfortable as a lot of its rivals, and interior quality is disappointing, but with its impressive fuel efficiency, and it’s high first year depreciation, it makes for an excellent used car bargain.
Buying a used Seat Altea online with Carspring
If you’re after a used Seat Altea for sale, it can all feel like a bit of an ordeal. What, with long days spent around gigantic car supermarkets, or time spent trawling through classified websites, looking for that ideal used Altea. Carspring makes it simple. Buy your next used Seat Altea online with the touch of a button. Simply decide on the model you want and choose how you want to pay.
Looking to finance your used Seat? Not a problem, we work with our carefully selected finance partners to ensure that, if you’re paying monthly for your used Seat Altea, you know you’re getting the best rates. What’s more, with any Carspring used Altea, you also get our 14-day money-back guarantee and 6 months’ free Carspring Warranty. Plus, you don’t have to leave your home. We’ll deliver your used Seat to you at a time and place of your choice.
*This is an approximate figure based on the range of the car’s list price and the AA’s average 1st-year depreciation cost of 40%.