Recommended. SEAT’s family mover is as practical, versatile and good to drive as ever.
SEAT’s Alhambra has been going for more than 20 years now and it’s long been hailed as a more affordable alternative to its VW Group sibling, the Sharan. But it’s more than that – across the board SEAT’s cars aren’t just discounted VWs, they’ve got a personality of their own.
The attraction is in that splash of Spanish flair above those solid Volkswagen underpinnings – and it’s as true of its big MPV as any other car it makes. The Alhambra is hugely practical, of course.
It seats seven people and has loads of cubby holes, as well as handy stuff like trays on the backs of the seats. And sliding rear doors make getting the kids in and out much easier. All cars get those doors, along with a refrigerated glove box, seven full-size individual seats (no rear bench here), climate control, electric windows, front and rear parking sensors, two 12-volt power sockets, touch screen infotainment system, alloys and emergency braking.
That’s a LOT of kit for basic spec. SE trim adds cruise control, another 12-volt power supply and bigger alloys, while Connect spec, which we drove, gets an electric panoramic sunroof, heated front seats, headlight washers, rear camera, sat nav and sports suspension.
Sporty FR Line, meanwhile, gets various decals and sports touches, as well as 18in alloys. If it’s a family workhorse you’re after then base S trim will clearly do you just fine – but the options are there for those that want more.
Whichever you go for you’ll get loads of boot space with the third row of seats folded down – even when they’re in use you still get a boot space that you’d find in a small hatchback. We drove the 2.0 TDI with 150ps and it’s a smooth unit with plenty of pull. The manual gearbox is neat and light and the auto DSG is super smooth.
It’s good for 56 to the gallon on paper and we managed around 40 in the real world. CO2 isn’t bad at 130g/km. For those wanting a bit more power there’s a 184ps version, which only drops a little on efficiency – 53mpg and 139g/km.
There’s a 1.4 petrol option, which is a lively enough 150ps as well, but it doesn’t seem to quite make sense, with CO2 figures at 151g/km and mpg of 43, not to mention less torque. It’s a comfortable, smooth ride, if a little rattly on bumpier roads, and the handling is neat, very much with a car-like feel to it.
It’s certainly well worth considering against cars like the Citroen C4 Grand Picasso and the Ford Galaxy as well as its VW stablemate.
1. An attractive prospect all-round.
2. Practicality in spades.
3. Actually not bad to drive.
We don't like:
1. It’s a bit rattly at times.
2. On-paper MPG seems a bit ambitious.
3. Nothing else.
Most fun: The 184ps diesel has the power.
Most sensible: The 150ps diesel has the economy.
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