Review SEAT Alhambra Range New car

29 Apr 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Review SEAT Alhambra Range New car

Review of the new SEAT Alhambra Range

MAKING A CASE FOR SPACE

SEAT ALHAMBRA RANGE

(6.7 out of 10)

REVIEW DATE: 11 май 2007

SEAT’s Alhambra continues to offer much for the money for buyers or large MPVs. Jonathan Crouch checks it out

SEAT ALHAMBRA RANGE NEW CAR ROAD TEST

SEAT’s Alhambra is a well-built large MPV with car-like driving dynamics and a spacious interior. It’s been around for some time now and aspects of the package are starting to show their age but the solid basics still shine through. If you’re after innovation and modern design, the Alhambra may not be for you but as a quality, affordable seven-seat vehicle it’s still a surprisingly strong contender.

Choose the 2.0-litre TDI engine.

There was a time when if you simply had to run a vehicle with room for seven, your choices were strictly limited. You either bought some kind of rough and ready van-based minibus or plumped for one of the select band of large MPVs like SEAT’s Alhambra. Today, the choices for rugby sevens teams or parents of quintuplets has widened substantially with a whole range of MPVs and 4x4s sporting the requisite capacity.

Is the long serving Alhambra still up to the job of winning sales?

The SEAT Alhambra was launched as part of a triumvirate that also included the Ford Galaxy and Volkswagen’s Sharan. All three models shared the same design and engineering. This suited the SEAT very well. As the most affordable option in the group, it gained sales from buyers happy to put up with the slightly less mainstream badge on the nose. Today, while the Sharan soldiers on, Ford has gone it alone with a brand new Galaxy.

Like the Sharan, the Alhambra is no spring chicken, so is it still worth a look?

In keeping with the sporty image that SEAT likes to peddle these days, the Alhambra actually drives very well. Once behind the wheel, you can easily shuffle the fact that this is a full-size seven-seat MPV to the back of you mind as the car’s firm suspension helps it resist the kind of leaning and pitching that gives the game away in rival products.

The main advantage of this relative composure is not the opportunity it presents to fling the Alhambra through a set of corners for fun but that at a modest pace, your passengers will always be comfortable. The engine range, like the rest of the product, is getting on in years but the impressive VW-sourced 2.0-litre 140bhp TDI turbodiesel engine still has plenty of life in it. The other option is a 115bhp 1.9-litre TDI diesel.

The manual models have a slick six-speed gearbox but the 1.9-litre TDI is accompanied by a tiptronic automatic.

You’ll buy a SEAT Alhambra if you’re not easily impressed by the gimmicky design touches on the more modern alternatives and you like the SEAT’s simple no-nonsense approach..

In the Alhambra, you have a car that not only costs around the same as a mid-range family estate but also measures in at about the same length, taking up no more space on the tarmac. To drive, it’s very similar to medium range estate – only better, thanks to that high-seated driving position and the glassy cabin. Performance isn’t breath-taking and you’ll be looking at a 15s 0-60mph sprint unless you opt for the 2.0-litre TDI which can do the business in 12.2s.

I’d upgrade to this 2.0-litre TDI option if at all possible.

Outside, the SEAT Alhambra presents an unremarkable large MPV shape with few distinguishing features. Those wanting a bit of flare from their big people carrier may need to look elsewhere. Inside, there’s a pleasantly up-market atmosphere, with good quality plastics and switchgear.

The usual MPV extras like retractable cupholders, extra map pockets in the doors and a pair of useful lidded cubbyholes on top of the dash are present. The Alhambra doesn’t go as far as some more modern products in offering storage solutions and family-friendly extras but many such inclusions are rarely used anyway.

The seating is always key in any MPV and the Alhambra employs a system of removable chairs which are very comfortable. Sadly, they’re very heavy, so lugging them in and out is a job not to be undertaken by the weak or faint-hearted. The two front seats on some models can be swivelled round completely to face the rear – which is great for picnics and business meetings if you’re stationary and there’s only four in the car. Space is generous in the front two rows and the third is adequate.

The rear two rows can be slid forwards and backwards to increase leg room or luggage space but with the full complement of passengers on board, there’s not much room for luggage.

The SEAT Alhambra comes decently equipped, across three trim levels titled S, Ecomotive and Stylance over a price range that for most buyers will be somewhere between £18,000 and £20,000. All models get climate-controlled air conditioning, cruise control, the ESP stability programme, a CD-based stereo, ABS, twin front airbags, remote control central locking and electric front windows.

Plusher versions get side airbags, combination leather/alcantara upholstery and electronic climate control that you can operate front and rear. There are also practical options like a fridge.

A spot of haggling can seriously reduce your initial outlay on an Alhambra but once you’ve signed on the dotted line, you’re at the mercy of its running costs. Thankfully, they’re fairly manageable. It boils down to 37mpg from the 1.9 TDI automatic or 42mpg from the 2.0-litre TDI manual with 175g/km emissions.

You can reduce that to 159g/km if you go for the 2.0TDI Ecomotive version which manages 47.1mpg on the combined cycle. Depreciation on the Alhambra is similar to what you can expect on other large MPV models and insurance of group 11 for the petrol and group 12 for the diesels is hardly extortionate.

The SEAT Alhambra has been continually developed over a lengthy lifecycle and is genuinely tough to criticise in its latest state. Yes, there are newer large people carriers you could consider but don’t ignore this one if you get offered the right deal. It’s well sorted, it’s well designed and it’s well priced – which has to count for something.

You’ll buy a SEAT Alhambra if you’re not easily impressed by the gimmicky design touches on the more modern alternatives and you like the SEAT’s simple no-nonsense approach. The model’s age should mean that discounts will be forthcoming but despite its advancing years, there are few rivals that drive better.

TOP 5 ALHAMBRA DEALS

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