Spencer, I've not had any other diesels long-ish term, only driven diesel company cars for a day or two (Astra and a 5 series BMW auto - which also felt gutless tbh).
Wasn't impressed with the engine in the Altea but the car itself was pretty good, handled well, had a nice cockpit & reasonable stereo.
I certainly won't buy anything new again, but will gladly go back to a pro_cee'd when the current Astra dies.
Agreed their prices have jumped up a lot, but they're great value & spec for the money compared to ford/vauxhall/etc.
Am really interested to see the next pro_ in the flesh though. Not keen on the current 5 door cee'd and not sure the pro looks different enough from it, apart from 2 less doors