From Towcar Awards 2008

List price: £17,205
Kerbweight: 1544kg
85% Match: 1312kg
Max towing weight: 1400kg
Towball limit: 75kg

THERE’S PLENTY of space in the Altea XL, with good head- and legroom front and rear. So it’s disappointing that the boot wasn’t as accommodating.

One crate, one large bag and the Aquaroll had to go in the van. It was awkward to fit the extension mirrors, too, which lost the Seat more points.

Laboured performance

In spite of having the same engine as the class winner, the Golf Estate, the Altea laboured from 30-60mph in 24.2 seconds. Its 30-0mph braking performance was also some way shy of the best. An erratic drive through the lane-change test showed the Altea in a poor light.

On the plus side, the handbrake held the outfit on the 1-in-6 hill without having to be pulled on hard. The Altea tackled the climb comfortably, albeit with some wheelspin, even in the wet.

We say

Towing: 3/5
Solo: 3/5
Practicality: 3/5
Buying & owning: 4/5
Verdict: 3/5

Not as strong as expected, although keenly priced.