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Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

Two of SEAT's most powerful engines are offered in the Freetrack 4 - a 200bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine and a 170bhp 2.0 TDI diesel. The petrol engine allows the Freetrack 4 to sprint from 0-62mph in just 7.5 seconds, and on to a maximum speed of 133mph. The engine is the same specification as in the 2005 Volkswagen Golf GTI, so it's designed for a much more driver-focused car than the Freetrack 4.

Maximum pulling power available from 1800rpm, giving the petrol Freetrack very strong mid-range acceleration. The diesel's extra pulling power is shorter-lived than in the petrol model, but it will still reach 62mph from rest in less than nine seconds and has a maximum speed of 127mph. Both versions come with a six-speed manual gearbox but there's no automatic available.

Apart from adding a four-wheel drive system, the only other real concession to off-road driving is an extra inch-and-a-half of ground clearance over the standard Altea XL. On the road, you hardly notice any difference between the Freetrack and the standard model. It still has the firm, surefooted feel of SEAT's other cars with composed behaviour when pressing on over challenging roads.

Off road, the Freetrack 4 remains in front-wheel drive mode until the front wheels begin to slip. When sensors detect wheelspin, drive is sent to the rear to help overcome obstacles. Don't expect it to cope with deeply rutted tracks, wading or very steep inclines, but it should cope with most light off-road duty and is ideal for towing.