Review: SEAT Altea Freetrack 4 (2007 – 2009)

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Four wheel drive version of Altea XL, creating an SUV MPV. Surprisingly good both on and off road.

Steel sumpguard is a £180 extra and you need it. Didn't last long on the market.

SEAT Altea Freetrack 4 (2007 – 2009): At A Glance

When I first drove the SEAT Altea I didn't like it.

And that was not because the launch was in Watford rather then Altea.

I couldn't get on with the way the tall body handled, the 140 diesel that bogged down then catapulted the car forward, and the coalface of a dashboard.

But since then it's been allowed to grow 13" into the XL. And now SEAT is offering a version of the XL with four-wheel drive, that they call the Freetrack 4.

Renault tried this sort of thing before, not very successfully, with the facelift Scenic RX4 that had a spare wheel on the back and used a lot of fuel.

But SEAT, being part of VWG and availing itself of VWG's parts bin, has taken a different route and fitted the Altea Freetrack 4 with the same Audi quattro-derived running gear as the Skoda Octavia Scout. And either the 170PS version of the 2.0TDI or the 200PS 2.0TSI petrol engine.

SEAT Altea Freetrack 2007 Road Test

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What does a SEAT Altea Freetrack 4 (2007 – 2009) cost?

SEAT Altea Freetrack 4 (2007 – 2009): What's It Like Inside?

Length 4493 mm
Width 1788 mm
Height 1622 mm
Wheelbase 2576 mm

Full specifications

There's masses of room inside. Huge luggage area. Sliding and semi-reclining rear seats, split 60:40. Seatback picnic tables. Lots of roof lockers for knick-knacks. A standard fold-down screen in the roof for plugging in DVD or games consoles. Standard rear side window blinds to protect children from strong sunlight. It's a very family orientated car.

Child seats that fit a SEAT Altea Freetrack 4 (2007 – 2009)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the SEAT Altea Freetrack 4 (2007 – 2009) like to drive?

Best of all, it's offering what is effectively a bigger and better Golf GTI for pretty much the same sort of money: £21,395, according to the crib sheet in our TDI 170.

And the four-wheel drive system doesn't just get it out of the goo on muddy tracks, it also turns the car from not being very good to drive into a real MPV GTI. On its 225/50 x 17 Pirelli P Zero Rosso tyres it turns in, grips and handles very well, with plenty of information feeding through the steering wheel.

On the rough tracks we were sent to, which were more like a rally stage than ‘off road', it was excellent, making quick, fuss-free and surprisingly comfortable progress. And before you ask, yes, it was fun.

However, a word of warning here. If did really need its £180 optional steel sumpguard because the standard plastic one would have been ripped off in the first half mile.

You get tyre pressure sensors so could opt for runflats. Though as standard it comes with normal tyres and a space-saver spare, but plenty of room under the boot floor for a full-size spare. (No useless glop and pump ‘tyrefit' system.) The speedo on our car was a bit optimistic. At 2,000rpm it was reading 70, yet it's actually geared to do 31.8mph/1,000rpm in 6th, which is a true 63.6. (The 2.0 TFSI pulls 24.5mph in 6th.)

There's no automatic or DSG option, though if you want that you can forego four-wheel-drive and opt for a normal Altea or XL DSG.

For mums who can change gear, the Freetrack 4 works very well as a family car for the standard 2 + 2 children, with masses of space for the kit needed for whatever activities the kids get involved in. It also has a 5 star NCAP score for occupant protection and an excellent 4 stars for child protection and 3 stars for pedestrian protection.

Where I live it will make alternative to the usual 4x4s and MPVs by managing to be both at once. SEAT has managed to turn a sow's ear into a silk purse.


Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
2.0 TDI 42 mpg 8.7 s 179 g/km
2.0 TSI 30 mpg 7.5 s 223 g/km

Real MPG average for a SEAT Altea Freetrack 4 (2007 – 2009)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

24–45 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the SEAT Altea Freetrack 4 (2007 – 2009)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

Haldex SWD failure

We have a 2009 SEAT Altea Freetrack with 49k miles and FSH. The FSH is not from the main dealer as that is 35 miles away, so it's done at a trusted independent. The car has had a number of the typical modern VAG faults, but during the last month the haldex 4wd controller has failed. These cost approx £750 plus vat for the replacement part. That's a big bill for a recent car and Internet searches indicate these controllers are failing regularly on other VAG cars. SEAT customer care said they are unlikely to help as the car has not been serviced at a main dealer and haldex won't sell me the part direct at a more sensible price. Have you any advice? My main concern is buying another and it giving up after 3 years.
VAG's attitude is understandable. Suggest you try specialists such as or to see if they can fix the original Haldex controller.
Answered by Honest John
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