SEAT Altea

Size zero models are constantly in the news but here’s an XL model that will appeal to those who prefer their bodies on the larger size.

SEAT makes no bones about aiming the Altea XL at the family market. The XL is actually an estate version of the Altea, although you could be forgiven for thinking it is an MPV. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure where the dividing line is drawn between the two forms. Whatever it is, the upsized XL offers plenty of space for family or friends.

The Altea XL is unmistakably a SEAT featuring the now familiar swooping crease-lines that emanate from around the front grille and cat’s-eye headlights. The main differences between the Altea and the XL version, apart from the extra 18.7cm in length, are the roof rails and the rear end where the tail-lights continue from the rear wings into the tailgate.

The door mirrors are larger than those on the standard car but the windscreen wipers continue to be hidden behind recesses in the A-pillars. Not only does this help with the aerodynamics but as the wipers park in an upright position, they gather less debris and will also cause less injury to pedestrians, in the event of an accident, contributing to the 3-star EuroNCAP rating for pedestrian safety. A further bonus is that the wipers will stop rather than damage the blades on an icy or muddy windscreen.

The interior is all about space. The extra length is put to good use as increased load capacity, which is a minimum of 517-litres with the rear seats pushed back to their fullest extent - that’s 108-litres more than the Altea. If you don’t have a family and all the accoutrements that go with the job, there’s more than enough room for a bicycle or skis, without having to fold the rear seats.

The rear seating arrangement comprises three seats with the centre seatback doubling as an armrest/tray with cupholders. These seats can be moved forward, either individually or en masse by up to 14cm, increasing the boot space to 635-litres. According to SEAT, this is greater than any of the XL’s competitors, such as the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra estates, the Peugeot 307 SW and the Renault Megane Sport Tourer.

Unfortunately, the rear seats fold but don’t form a flat floor, nevertheless, in this configuration there’s a maximum of 1,604-litres to play with.

Published : 28/05/07 Author : Melanie Carter

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