IT’S A sign of the times that SEAT, a car manufacturer that has traded successfully on its design flare and sporty attitude, is devoting so much time and effort to making its cars greener.
These days, the tree-hugging E Ecomotive models are more commonplace in the Spanish brand’s model range than its tarmac-scorching Cupra performance cars.
It’s a reflection on the growing demand for lower motoring costs and a clearer environmental consciousness on the part of buyers but what are the sacrifices involved in going green? In the case of the Altea E Ecomotive, SEAT will tell you there are none.
The Volkswagen Group’s 1.6-litre common-rail diesel engine technology forms the basis of the Altea E Ecomotive.
This modern powerplant already pervades the model ranges of VW’s mainstream brands and is only likely to be more widely used as its highly efficient combustion processes, yielding strong economy and respectable performance, seem perfectly in tune with the prevailing fashion. In the Altea E Ecomotive, the 1.6 TDI unit makes 103bhp at 4,000rpm. That’s not a lot for a generously proportioned compact MPV but 250Nm of torque from 1,500rpm should help keep things moving. The 0-60mph trip takes 12.4s and top speed is 114mph, which is respectable but hardly rapid.
There are certain things we’ve come to expect from environmentally-focused cars in the Altea E Ecomotive’s ilk. They include a lowered ride height and tweaked aerodynamics to improve efficiency and low rolling resistance tyres. The Altea E Ecomotive, however, doesn’t have any of them. The car looks like any other Altea if you selectively overlook its subtle E Ecomotive badging.
The two-tiered boot has a capacity of over 400 litres in the standard model, which rises to 532 litres in the stretched XL bodyshape. In this extended variant, you can extend that to 635 litres without folding the rear seats if you slide them forward - or you can fold the rear bench and access 1,604 litres. Whichever bodystyle you go for, the rear bench is a 60/40 split affair with a fold down armrest incorporating cupholders.
The E Ecomotive models slot into the middle of the Altea range on price but their low running costs will make the overall cost of ownership seem attractive, particularly to higher mileage drivers. The key to the E Ecomotive package is the SEAT stop-start technology and brake energy recuperation system. The former turns off the engine when the car is stationary, the gearbox is in neutral and the clutch is raised to save fuel in traffic. The latter, recaptures kinetic energy that would be lost under braking to charge the battery, removing strain from the engine.
What is the end result? Well, buyers can benefit from the tax savings associated with 119g/km CO2 emissions and the combined cycle economy of 62.7mpg. Given the Altea’s size and 1,400kg kerb weight, that is pretty good going.
The Altea E Ecomotive is a car that forces few sacrifices on its owners in exchange for impressive economy. The Altea is a model that’s sometimes overlooked in the compact MPV sector but despite only having five seats, it’s roomy, good looking and enjoyable to drive. The XL model is more practical still and is probably the one to go for.
FACTS AT A GLANCE
CAR: SEAT Altea E Ecomotive
PRICES: £17,615-£19,820 - on the road
INSURANCE GROUPS: 13
CO2 EMISSIONS: 119-129g/km
PERFORMANCE: 0-60mph 12.2s/ Max Speed 114mph
FUEL CONSUMPTION: (combined) 62.8mpg STANDARD SAFETY FEATURES: Twin front side and head airbags, ABS, ISOFIX, traction control, ESP.
WILL IT FIT IN YOUR GARAGE?: [standard model] Length/Width/Height, 4282/1768/1576mm
WHO TO SEE: Bartletts SEAT, Sedlescombe Road North/Whitworth Road, St. Leonards on Sea, East Sussex, TN37 7PZ
Tel: 01424 754444