taxi emoción

 We tested the SEAT Altea taxi by RIETZE ( 31330)

the tested taxi surrounded by red flames

It is an open secret that Spanish car maker SEAT has had a hard time on the German market. Therefore they have put a lot of effort in advertising their products as a more sportive alternative to the still a bit tame vehicles made by their parent company Volkswagen. Especially red and black paintwork is meant to create emotions on the part of their potential customers. And what did German model makers Rietze do? They chose the SEAT Altea, a people carrier, coloured it light ivory and stuck an oversized looking taxi sign on the roof...

You might know that we watch our environment very carefully and, indeed, we have seen some SEAT people carriers, but we haven’t seen an Altea taxi in Germany yet. On the other hand, the economic thinking owner of a cab trade might ask, “Why not?”   Hubert Dommel (read our pictorial here ) who has only got a few taxis and his own small workshop was mainly interested in its affordability, economy and reliability when he bought this VW subsidiary vehicle. And it can’t be bad for your business if your cab attracts the attention of pedestrians, can it?

front viewOf course, before adding the ivory-coloured Rietze model to our taxi company diorama, we wanted to test this unusual product thoroughly. The little Altea came loose in one of those simple, flexible see-through plastic boxes with a cardboard inlay - a drawback, you reckon? Well, moving about inside the package wouldn’t do the model car any harm anyway, there are no delicate items like e.g. free-standing outer mirrors, so why bother about fixing it in a special (i.e. more costly) way? Hence, unpacking the taxi took us only a few seconds.

The packaging provides the modeller with some basic information (model type as well as article number are printed on an outer label), but the ‘small print’ on the cardboard inlay is so tiny that you either need an eagle’s eye or a clean magnifying glass to read it...

Our first impression of the model is good - if only there wasn’t this huge, massive taxi sign on the roof (which, even worse, in our case had not been printed properly). Apart from that, the model car looks well-proportioned, and various prints on the bodywork together with the red transparent glass tail lights create a realistic appearance. All in all, thinking of the price of EUR 8.50 (RRP February 2007), you don’t get the feeling of having made a bad buy at least.

side viewHaving a closer look at the little taxi, you’ll spot all the important details of the real car. Nevertheless, it becomes obvious that Rietze tried to save some money when making the front lamps. The ‘friendly smile’ of the car is the result of its dull, unimpressive head lights which are not able to convey the aggressive look of the real SEAT Altea with its black framed single lens lamps behind clear glass.

Ambitious modellers might also want to enhance the (black) fog lamps which sit in the front fairing of the car with a small drop of silver paint.

In terms of harmony of colours the single-coloured, dark interior naturally matches the bodywork well, but some visible streaks in the ivory ‘paintwork’ of the tested model car are a bit unsatisfactory.

rear viewMeasuring the little taxi proves that its subjective true-to-scale appearance is the result of miniaturising the real car exactly to H0 gauge; this target nowadays seems to be part of the product requirement documents of most model car manufacturers. Unfortunately, Rietze didn’t care too much about the above mentioned taxi sign as well as the exterior mirrors. The latter are not free-standing but look as if they were stuck to the side windows and thus appear too small.

Rietze didn’t pay a lot of attention to the mirrors anyway. Hence, you won’t find any silver mirror faces at all. And the interior mirror, nothing more than a see-through rectangle, is actually part of the glazing. Well, we have seen better solutions...

Positive: the silver SEAT badges on grille and rear door, where you’ll spot the ‘Altea’ lettering as well.

We also appreciate the black window surrounds and B-pillars. Due to the high window line and the small windows you can’t see much of the taxi’s black interior, but it is sufficiently detailed. Nevertheless, the impact absorber of the steering wheel reminds us more of that of a late 1970’s Mercedes taxi...

Finally, we had to have a closer look at the wheels: They are true to scale, realistic and very detailed - you are even able to see the SEAT logo and the brake disks. The colour of the rims is a bit too dark though.

top view


Due to some lack of attention to detail as well as some very simple (or even faulty) production solutions, the Altea taxi by Rietze just missed the verdict ‘good’. Nevertheless, railway and diorama modellers get an overall satisfactory model car at a reasonable price that can bring some variety to the usually Mercedes-oriented taxi rank in front of their German station building.


Packaging (50) 36
Protection of the vehicle (25) 19
Unpacking the vehicle (10) 6
Information content (15) 11
Visual overall impression (350) 299
'First impression' (50) 41
Proportions / recognisability of the real vehicle (50) 48
Closeness to scale, subjective impression (40) 36
Condition / intactness of the model (30) 24
Fitting accuracy / flawless assembly (30) 28
'Look-and-feel' / subjective impression of the model quality (40) 35
Wealth of detail / attention to detail (30) 26
Fineness of detail (30) 26
Lights (20) 13
Wheels and tyres (20) 14
Harmony of colours (10) 8
Vehicle body (200) 154
Closeness to scale (40) 35
Wealth of detail / attention to detail (40) 34
Fineness of detail (30) 26
Colour quality of the plastic, if applicable: paintwork quality (35) 25
Quality of prints, colour and chrome applications (35) 24
Interior and exterior mirrors (20) 10
Lights (150) 107
Completeness / presence of all lights (50) 34
Attention to detail (50) 40
Closeness to reality in terms of colour (50) 33
Interior / Dashboard / Seats (100) 77
Wealth of detail / attention to detail (40) 32
Fineness of detail (40) 31
Steering wheel / handle bars (20) 14
Wheels (150) 135
Closeness to scale (50) 47
Wealth of detail / attention to detail (40) 37
Fineness of detail (40) 36
Colour quality of the rims (20) 15
Gesamtwertung: durchschnittlich 808
(max. 1000)

*Find out more about the test criteria for model vehicles here.

Tested February 2007     German flag   © Volker Labitzke - - please visit our  main page