Seat Altea Freetrack: the lowdown
Seat has given the Altea some wellington boots to join the burgeoning ranks of wannabe soft-roader 4x4s. First seen in concept guise at the Geneva Motor Show back in March, the Altea Freetrack is Seat's first-ever attempt at an off-roader. However, an extra 40mm of ground clearance, some chunky tyres and aesthetically challenging grey cladding don’t necessarily mean that the Freetrack is going to beat a Defender to the top of the hill.
So it’s no hardcore off-roader. What’s it got going for it?
The Freetrack is fitted with the Haldex 4wd system, which is commonly found on VW group four-wheel-drivers, shunting torque evenly between the four corners of the car. Seat has also thought of the school-run crowd and included a fold-out picnic table in the boot, along with a multi-media system, sliding rear seat base and a huge, 593-litre boot. Punters have the option of just two engines: a 197bhp petrol, which will hit 62mph in 7.5 seconds and return 30mpg, and a 168bhp diesel alternative which will slug its way to 62mph in 8.7 seconds and deliver a much more wallet-friendly 41.5mpg. Unusually, Seat is offering only one trim level with the Freetrack.
When is it likely to arrive in showrooms?
The Freetrack should make its way into UK dealers in September with an £18k-plus starting price. The standard multi-media system connects to DVD players, games consoles, laptops and the like, so the kids should be well entertained. There are also plenty of other goodies, such as dual-zone climate control, parking sensors and ESP. That makes it cheaper than many Freelander-class SUVs, but the Freetrack will face a growing number of rivals in the soft-roader market, such as the Skoda Octavia Scout and cladding-wielding versions of Renault's Scenic.