Do you want a VW Touran that is cheaper and more reliable? Seat Altea. Is your criteria for buying a car “I want as much metal for my money. Not good, not sophisticated metal, just a lot of metal”? Seat Altea.

I wonder what goes on in the mind of a Seat Altea owner. Maybe they wanted a larger Leon? Perhaps they wanted a cheaper Touran? Maybe they got a good deal?

Seat Altea was, for a long time, a forgotten car. Launched in 2004 and retired in August 2015, Seat Altea was just another option in the Seat configurator. In essence, it’s an inflated Leon that’s neither a hatchback nor an MPV like the Touran.

Why would you buy it?

Because it relies on the technology and platform of the Golf VSkoda OctaviaAudi A3 – Seat Leon – whateverVAGmodelgotlaunchedlastweek. This means it inherits common issues of the group, but the part that leaves you in disbelief is that it comes with the reliable engines of the group. Sure, I still can’t get past that melted cheese of a dashboard, but if you want something reliable and practical, a Seat Altea probably deserves a look.

I’ve never been a fan of MPV-type cars.


Seat Altea rear almostcarreviews

Seat Altea Engines


  • 1.2 TSI EA111 of 105 horsepower – Be very careful with this engine because there are two variants. If it has a timing chain, run away from it like from an all-women work place, where you would be the only man. If it has a timing belt, it’s decent in terms of reliability but lags behind significantly in terms of performance. We’re talking about the body of the Seat Altea, which is like a medium-sized kindergarten.
  • 1.4 MPI of 86 horsepower – Imagine having Graham Norton carry Shaq on his back. While Shaq is already carrying Paul Wight on his back, who is himself carrying Jack Black on his back. You get the idea.
  • 1.4 TSI EA111 of 125 horsepower – An excellent engine for the city, and the only 1.4 TSI that didn’t have issues at launch. Coming right out of the bat with a timing belt for the Altea, this engine does its job excellently in the city. Too bad the rest of the car isn’t exactly adapted for city life.
  • 1.6 MPI EA113  of 102 horsepower – The most balanced engine in terms of performance, fuel economy, and reliability. This engine occasionally needs coil packs and oil to function. However, it has no chance against the 1.4 TSI. You only buy this engine if you’re afraid of technology, and the most advanced electronic device you have at home is a printer from 2003.
  • 1.8 TSI EA888 of 160 horsepower – It’s good to know that the germans still have a sense of humor. Putting this engine in the Seat Altea is like having Jack Black do the 100 meter run up against Usain Bolt and having a real chance of winning. But only if you give him a lot of oil because this engine ends up burning up to 1 liter of oil per 1000 km. Seriously, you won’t know if it chuggs down more oil or petrol.
  • 2.0 FSI EA113 of 150 horsepower – I know there’s this rivalry between 1.8 TSI and 2.0 FSI, so I’ll let you fight it amongst yourselves. All you need to know about this engine is that it doesn’t bun that much oil, isn’t 100% compatible with an LPG installation, the timing belt costs a bit more to replace, and if you don’t mind the fuel economy, it’s a fantastic engine.
  • 2.0 TSI EA888 of 200 and 211 horsepower – 200 horsepower on an Altea, just my luck. At least this way, you can make sure that your kids have eaten breakfast before the school run. You’ll know exactly what they ate because you’ll be able to inspect the car window after taking a turn too fast and they vomited all over the window.


  • 1.6 TDI EA189 of 105 horsepower – A decent engine for long trips and less than decent for the city life. The EGR clogs every 250 meters, and the particle filter clogs every 260 meters. Otherwise, an excellent engine for long trips, but not on the Altea body. Like the 1.4 MPI petrol, it’s like having Kevin Hart carry Shaquille O’Neal on his back.
  • 1.9 TDI EA188 of 90 and 105 horsepower – The legendary 1.9 TDI sings its final hurrah under the hood of the Altea. Like the 1.6 TDI, it’s simply too anorexic for the giant Altea. Still, you can enjoy the great fuel economy and legendary reliability. Very late in life (after 250,000 miles), you need to change the engine mounts and the camshaft, and that’s about it.
  • 2.0 TDI EA188 of 136, 140, and 170 horsepower – The 2.0 TDI, a more common engine than leaving trays of food on the table when leaving the food court. Fortunately, this isn’t the 2.0 TDI from the Passat B6 and A4 B7, which has an issue with the balancer shaft of the oil pump. This one is sharing it’s engines with the Octavia and the Gol. Personally, I recommend the 170 hp Commonrail version, but where there’s no budget, you go for it. As for specific issues, there’s still the classic issue of the dual-mass flywheel that wears out faster than it should.


Seat Altea interior almostcarreviews

Seat Altea Reliability Issues

  • Being related to the Golf V and VW Touran, it’s mandatory that the ESP issues arise. Whether we’re talking about the ESP module, its sensor, or the sensor’s sensor module, when the light comes on in the dashboard, you’ll have to pay.
  • Pay close attention to the DSG automatic gearbox. The oil and filter need to be changed every 60,000 km, and pray the Mechatronic unit doesn’t fail; otherwise, you can buy another Seat Altea strictly for parts. It’s cheaper AND you get more parts.
  • Since we’re talking about VW, it’s crucial to change the timing belt and water pump on time. Don’t be stingy; a water pump costs 50 pounds at most.


Seat Altea front almostcarreviews

Seat Altea Verdict 

I stick to the idea that Seat Altea is a cheaper and more reliable Touran like chewing gum sticks on the sneaker sole. However, in life, you can’t have your cake and stay fit, so you have to pay somehow, and in the case of Altea, you have to pay with the interior. When I see that interior, I feel everything darkening; I feel myself starting to tremble and foaming at the mouth. Rather than looking at that interior, I’d rather watch Jersey Shore. I’d rather watch The Real Bros of Simi Valley. You get the ideea.

Which engines do I recommend? For petrol, I clearly recommend the tiny yet punchy 1.4 TSI with 125 horsepower . As for diesel, I recommend the 2.0 TDI, preferably the Common-rail version. If not, the rest are okay.