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Seat Altea Freetrack – a slightly more efficient 4×4 option

For all those people with families who live in the middle of nowhere and need a 4×4 but want a car-like driving experience, Seat has released the first details of the new Altea freetrack, which will make its world debut at the Barcelona Motor Show on 7th June.

The Altea freetrack, based on the Altea XL, is the first Seat designed to be driven off-road, and features Haldex-type four-wheel drive, 40mm of extra ground clearance and 4×4-style body.

The new car will feature 2.0-litre petrol and diesel engines – a 200 PS T FSI and 170 PS TDI – provisionally expected to return 30 mpg and 41.5 mpg respectively – not great – but better economy than a Land Rover Freelander; it’s also likely to offer a more sporty car-like experience to drive, and it may not suffer from the same 4×4 attack that’s been so common of late. The 2.0 T FSI has a maximum speed of 133 mph, with 0 to 62 mph taking 7.5 seconds, while the 2.0 TDI can manage 127 mph and 8.7 seconds to 62mph. While other parts of the VW group are offering eco-friendly options such as the Passat BlueMotion, it’s a shame such an option isn’t available with the Altea, which would help it move further away from the accusations of 4×4 inefficiency.

The Altea freetrack will normally operate in front-wheel drive only, with drive going to the rear only if needed, and only up to 50%. This front-wheel drive bias is similar to the Honda CR-V, which means it’s never going to be great off-road, and the CR-V returns better economy, with a class-leading 43.5mpg.

Seat sees its freetrack as sporty and capable when the going gets tough, but also family-friendly. As well as a large boot, picnic tables and a split rear-seat that can slide backwards and forwards by as much as 16 cm, it even has a multimedia system fitted as standard, which comprises of a roof-mounted 7” screen that allows a link to a DVD player, video games, a laptop computer and an MP3 player, with sound transmitted through the car’s stereo system.

Other standard-fit elements on the Altea freetrack include dual zone climate control, rain sensor wipers, parking sensors, cruise control, trip computer, light sensor headlights, and CD MP3 stereo with steering-wheel mounted controls. Rear door window blinds are also fitted as standard, which are stored within the door when not required. Safety equipment includes ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme), six airbags and a tyre pressure warning system.

The Altea freetrack arrives in UK showrooms this September. Full UK prices and specification will be announced closer to this time.