SEAT Altea XL As befits a family car, there are storage areas and cupholders dotted around the cabin.
As befits a family car, there are storage areas and cupholders dotted around the cabin. Apart from those between the rear seats, rear passengers have seat-side compartments and receptacles in the door panels, capable of holding a 1-litre bottle. There are also circular holes in the drop-down trays on the backs of the front seats, which will hold a drinks cup. In the front, the driver and passenger have cup-holders below the centre console, under-seat storage, door panels that will contain 1.5-litre bottles and a split-level, central armrest to take the overflow from the glovebox.
If the children become bored with the passing scenery, there are some optional extras available, such as an iPod or USB connection, either of which costs £75 and takes the place of the ‘AUX IN’ socket on the audio system. For this reason you cannot have both and it becomes even more complicated when you start to add in other goodies.
The XL has two trim levels; Reference and Stylance. Both come with an MP3-compatible, radio/CD but the Reference has six speakers rather than the Stylance‘s, eight. The higher spec car also gains steering wheel-mounted audio controls. They each have their optional Bluetooth communication packs - the Reference version adds £300 and includes a hands-free phone connection with controls on the, now leather-clad, steering wheel, which also gains audio controls, along with an upgraded dash display and two additional speakers. Because the Stylance already has some of these components it is a bet cheaper at £250.
At the higher level, you also get the option of TomTom, dash-mounted Satellite-Navigation or have an integrated system included with the £1,595, Bluetooth package. There is a drawback to this version in that you can’t play an audio CD and use the Sat-Nav at the same time. Moreover, you have to order an iPod or USB connection as well. It’s both confusing and limiting.
There are also limitations to the front seats of the Reference, which I found surprising for such a family-orientated car. The front passenger doesn’t have the benefit of height-adjustment and, perhaps less surprisingly, neither have lumbar support. The driver does, however, have a rake- and reach-adjustable steering column, power steering and cruise-control, whatever the trim. The seats are very comfortable and for buyers of the Stylance with engines that produce over 160PS, a sports pack is available for £510, which comprises a wheel upgrade from 16-inches to 17-inch alloys, sports trim and suspension.
The driver’s area really does feel like a self-contained cockpit, with the compact centre stack angled slightly towards the driver. This console follows the curve of the fascia, extending downwards to form a pod above the gearshift. The stack is simple in its design, especially in the Reference, where it houses the audio system, air-conditioning controls and very little else.
SEAT Altea Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||SEAT Altea XL 1.6 Reference|
|Colour||Platinum Grey Metallic|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||13 Seconds|
|Top Speed||112 mph|
|Fuel Type||Unleaded Petrol|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||46.3 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating||5|
|Warranty||3-Year/60,000 Mile Warranty|
|Price (when tested on the 28/05/07)||£12,995|