18 May 2004

The midi-MPV market is getting competitive, with Seat’s Altea just six weeks away and Toyota’s Corolla Verso already on sale. Factor in the competition that Ford’s Focus C-Max and VW’s Touran are bringing to the established Picasso/ Zafira/Scénic trio, and there are some good deals to be had. Hefty cashback makes Citroën’s Xsara Picasso 1.6-litre available from £10,995, and another £2000 gets you the 110bhp 1.6 HDi. Online retailer Virgin Cars (www.virgin.com/cars) has Renault Scénics for £11,195, and if you can deal with left-hand drive the price dips below £10k.

Elsewhere, there’s £695 off a Focus C-Max 1.6 LX at franchised outlets until July, bringing its tag as low as £12,995. Volkswagen has made seven seats available for the price of five throughout the Touran range. An entry-level model with room for seven now starts at £14,495 – over £500 less than it cost earlier in the year.

And with the Corolla Verso priced at £14.5k, Seat will have to tread carefully when it announces Altea prices at next week’s British motor show.

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