Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

The build quality in the Altea XL is impressive so it's a shame that some of the plastics are on the hard side - there are few soft-touch areas. The driver has a good view of the road ahead, although the chunky windscreen pillars can restrict visibility when turning out of junctions or at roundabouts. But the driving position is spot-on and the main controls are sensibly placed and easy to get familiar with.

When the Altea was revised in 2009 the interior was improved considerably with redesigned switches, instrument dials and a new steering wheel. The plastics were also improved which all add up to give it a far more sophisticated feel and modern look.

Comfort is this car's strongest suit. All that extra room (the XL is around 20cm longer than the standard Altea) is put to good use and with loads of extra legroom three adults can sit comfortably in the back. The rear seats slide to give more legroom or increased boot space if needed. The seats are a little on the firm side and a bit narrow, but comfy enough for longer trips.

The Altea XL is pretty quiet on the road with tyre and engine noise well suppressed. However, all cars come with roof bars, which can create a rustling sound on the motorway.