Car Enthusiast - click here to access the home page


 



First UK Drive: SEAT Altea Ecomotive. Image by SEAT.

First UK Drive: SEAT Altea Ecomotive
SEAT has updated its Ecomotive models, including the Altea compact SUV.

   



<< earlier review     later review >>

Reviews homepage -> SEAT reviews

| First UK Drive | Clapham, London | SEAT Altea Ecomotive |

In a world where low running costs are king, any car that can slice bills to their lowest possible levels is sure to do well. SEAT has its finger on the pulse when it comes to this sort of thing, and its green sub-brand - Ecomotive - is gathering pace at an alarming rate.

The Spanish firm's stretched Leon - the Altea - is one of the latest models to get the green treatment. It's nether underpowered, nor is it lacking in style, so you can look cool and save the planet at the same time.

In the Metal

The Ecomotive model adds little in the way of exterior distinction save for a badge on the back, so you'd struggle to tell that it's anything out of the ordinary. The styling is business as usual - the Altea appears identical to the Leon at the front with its aggressive, feline nose but it's a little taller and quite plain at the rear.

The Altea XL has also been given an Ecomotive makeover, but again, it looks exactly the same as the regular model and it's still significantly bigger than the standard Altea at the back.

What you get for your Money

A 1.6-litre common rail TDI turbodiesel engine is the big change here. It's not totally new - it has been produced by the Volkswagen Group for some time - but in this application it's extremely clean and fuel efficient. Emissions of 119g/km mean annual road tax costs a mere 30 and an average of 62.8mpg is most impressive for a sizeable hatchback. The Altea and Altea XL share the same figures too, so there's no penalty for needing a bigger car.

The engine alone isn't enough to drag the figures down to that level. Regenerative braking and start-stop technology - a first time application for SEAT - help to shed those unwanted g/km. While it doesn't actively cut the running costs, a gear shift indicator highlights the most economical point to change up or down, but it's up to the driver to implement it.

SEAT hasn't skimped on the equipment either; 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, electric windows all-round, a six-speaker mp3 stereo, hill hold control and tyre pressure monitors all come as standard, which proves that being eco-friendly doesn't have to mean putting up with poverty spec. Expect to shell out 16,725 for the Altea Ecomotive and 17,425 for an equivalent Altea XL, neither of which is overpriced.

Driving it

As with the looks, you'd be hard pushed to notice a difference between a standard Altea diesel and the Ecomotive from behind the wheel. The 1.6-litre engine is as smooth and quiet as can be and it isn't short on pace with 104bhp and 184lb.ft of torque.

The only thing that takes a bit of getting used to is the gearbox, which isn't unpleasant to use, but the long gearing means that you don't have to stir it much, and you'll often need to leave it one cog lower than usual to get the best results.

Worth Noting

While the Ecomotive models have the lowest running costs of any SEAT, the eco-friendly technology will eventually start to filter out across the rest of the range, so the idea of something like a sporty Ibiza or Leon diesel with stop-start technology and regenerative braking is not unfeasible.

In its quest to be green, SEAT is also kitting out the Martorell factory in Spain with a vast amount of solar energy generators. It claims that the production facility will soon be one of the world's largest solar energy generators.

Summary

It's hard to pick holes in the Altea Ecomotive. It's extremely cheap to run, reasonably priced, well built and practical. No, it's not as exciting as a Leon FR or an Ibiza Bocanegra, but that's way off the point and frankly, the qualities that we've just mentioned are of much greater concern to the majority of car buyers than lap times.

The Altea is also one of the better looking eco cars out there and the generous standard kit works very much in its favour. It's a fine package and ideal if you want your costs low and your practicality high.

Jack Carfrae - 11 Jun 2010



  www.seat.co.uk    - SEAT road tests
- SEAT news
- Altea Ecomotive images

2010 SEAT Altea Ecomotive. Image by SEAT.2010 SEAT Altea Ecomotive. Image by SEAT.2010 SEAT Altea Ecomotive. Image by SEAT.2010 SEAT Altea Ecomotive. Image by SEAT.2010 SEAT Altea Ecomotive. Image by SEAT.

2010 SEAT Altea Ecomotive. Image by SEAT.2010 SEAT Altea Ecomotive. Image by SEAT.2010 SEAT Altea Ecomotive. Image by SEAT.2010 SEAT Altea Ecomotive. Image by SEAT.2010 SEAT Altea Ecomotive. Image by SEAT.



2010 SEAT Altea Ecomotive. Image by SEAT.
 

2010 SEAT Altea Ecomotive. Image by SEAT.
 

2010 SEAT Altea Ecomotive. Image by SEAT.
 

2010 SEAT Altea Ecomotive. Image by SEAT.
 

2010 SEAT Altea Ecomotive. Image by SEAT.
 

2010 SEAT Altea Ecomotive. Image by SEAT.
 

2010 SEAT Altea Ecomotive. Image by SEAT.
 






 

Internal links:   | Home | Privacy | Contact us | Archives | Old motor show reports | Follow Car Enthusiast on Twitter | Copyright 1999-2022 ©