PRETTY is not a word I would use to describe the SEAT Altea. In fact, my first impression of the world's first 'Multi Sports Vehicle' was that it had been hit by the ugly stick.
The chromed grille on the bonnet, which had the SEAT badge stuck bang in the middle of it, was less than attractive as was the black honeycomb front grille.
A side view, which did show off some sleek lines of the five-gear four-door, softened my opinion momentarily - until I walked back around to the front.
But while the Spanish-built Altea may be no great looker in my humble opinion - other motoring writers love it - driving the car gave me a huge thrill.
The vehicle offers the space and comfort of most other MPVs, but also boasts kick-ass sporty acceleration as well as fantastic handling.
The 1.9 TDi also offered great fuel economy with a combined figure of more than 51mpg over the week.
The Altea comes with a quartet of four-cylinder engine options. The 1.6-litre petrol offers 102bhp while the two-litre FSi steps up to 150bhp. There's a 1.9-litre petrol engine which delivers 105bhp and a 140bhp two-litre diesel.
My TDi engine incorporated pump injection technology, where a fuel pump on each cylinder electronically controls the injection and provides torque so that you have instant response on acceleration.
This offered me a 0 to 62 mph time of 12.3 seconds - it feels much faster - and a respectable top speed of 114mph.
The simple but stylish cabin provides decent space for five people or, when needed, the 60/40 split rear bench simply folds flat out of the way. A large compartment under the boot floor also gives extra storage.
And there were other little touches that offered unexpected bonuses.
Good overall vision provided by the large windscreen is boosted by innovative windscreen wipers which sweep in a top to bottom arc and. When parked up, they're concealed completely out of sight within the A-pillars.
The Altea also boasts more than 30 integrated storage compartments. So if you're planning to move house, book an Altea rather than a removal van!
According to the Spanish company's blurb, the idea of the Altea is to 'combine a compact yet spacious interior with a genuinely sporty driving experience and to top it off with a dash of style.'
This car is certainly spacious and genuinely sporty - but style was something that was a little lacking.
SEAT Altea 1.9 TDi PD Reference
Mechanical: 105bhp, 1,896cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 5spd manual gearbox
Max speed: 114mph
0-62mph: 12.3 secs
Combined mpg: 51.4
Insurance group: 5
CO2 emissions: 149g/km
BiK rating: 18%
Warranty: 3 years/ 60,000 miles; 1 year paint; 12 years anti-rust