Seat Alhambra Owners Manual and more | Analog Stereo

30 Jul 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Seat Alhambra Owners Manual and more | Analog Stereo

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List the priorities of MPV buyers and youd probably figure space would be number one, quickly followed by value for money. Whilst this explains why the pile em high, sell em cheap approach of South East Asian manufacturers has paid dividends, theres another sort of buyer whos altogether tougher to please. These cake and eat it customers not only want space and value but they want quality lumped into the equation too. If thats you, place the SEAT Alhambra 2.

0 Reference at the top of your shortlist now.

The Alhambra has always been a canny buy. A joint effort between the VW Group (which includes SEAT) and Ford, it means that in effect youre buying VW quality at sub-Ford prices. Whilst the VW Sharan and Ford Galaxy sister models have sold well in their own right, theres no doubt the smart money gets sent on the SEAT.

Badgework and cosmetics apart, it’s identical in design to Ford and VWs two market leaders, rolling down the same Portuguese production lines. If youre campaigning on price, it makes sense to get the biggest bang for your buck and that comes in the shape of the entry-level 2.0 Reference, priced at just 16,265. Anybody expecting a seven seater this well built for 16,500 could reasonably expect it to be stripped of every conceivable extra, an exercise the industry terms decontenting.

Whilst the Alhambra 2.0 Reference cant claim to offer a huge selection of extras, it does include air conditioning a must when youve got this amount of glazing five removable seats, three-point seat belts all round, electric front windows, CD player and a six-speed gearbox. Anti-lock brakes are fitted as standard as well as twin front and side airbags, ISOFIX child seat fixings, an immobiliser and an alarm. Hardly stripped to the bone is it?

There are also options like ESP (an Electronic Stability Programme that will automatically apply the brakes and reduce the throttle to get you out of trouble if you enter a corner too fast) or, more practically, a fridge.

Alhambra residual values are consistently some of the industrys best

The current second generation model holds much the same appeal as the old – though arguably, has more of its own personality, thanks to the adoption of SEAT’s trademark ‘nostril’ front grille. This doesnt do much for the Alhambras looks but at least it gives the car a bit of extra family identity. Black framing around the clear-lensed front headlamps is the only other cosmetic difference over the Spanish car’s VW and Ford counterparts.

Inside, the rather plasticky feel of the original model has been replaced by a more up-market atmosphere, with better quality plastics, a new steering wheel and nicer switchgear that leaves room for the obligatory optional satellite navigation system. More practical improvements include retractable cupholders, extra map pockets in the doors and a pair of useful lidded cubbyholes on top of the dash.

This plusher atmosphere is important, for cheap and cheerful MPV customers are increasingly opting for mini-MPVs like Renault’s Scenic. Large models like the Alhambra must increasingly compete with executive cars. On the road, 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.

Behind the wheel, it’s exactly like a medium range estate – only better, thanks to that high-seated driving position and the glassy cabin. The biggest surprises, however, are reserved for the handling. This MPV doesn’t roll, pitch or wallow like many of its rivals. Nor do you need a period of acclimatisation before you can drive it quickly, as you would, for example, with a fashionable four-wheel drive.

Performance from the 115bhp engine is relatively leisurely, the Alhambra getting to 60mph in 15.2 seconds on the way to a respectable top speed of 110mph.

If you feel the urge for a little more power, youll need to shell out 18,495 for a 2.0TDi140 Reference. Fuel economy for the 2.0 Reference is good at an average of 29mpg, although this will take a dip if you load the car to the gunwales.

Having been voted Used MPV of The Year 2003 by Used Car Buyer magazine, its also highly unlikely youll get your fingers burnt when you choose to sell it on. Alhambra residual values are consistently some of the industrys best. The Alhambra takes its name from the ancient palace in Granada which dates back to the 12th century and plays a central part in Spain’s early history.

This place was apparently vast – an indication, SEAT believes, of the capacity of its People Carrier though unlike some boxier rivals, in can offer you only seven, rather than eight seats. As an MPV buyer, you’ll be looking for flexibility as well as sheer space. So youll find, as before, that all of the seats can be folded down or unclipped and removed completely.

In fact, the only difference this time round is that the removable chairs themselves have been redesigned, so should feel a lot more comfortable. Sadly, they’re no lighter, so lugging them in and out remains 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.

It’s annoying however, that you still can’t do the same with the middle set so that occupants behind the driver can face each other and talk on longer journeys. Given that 16,265 will only buy a mid-range Renault Scenic a car that competes in the next size class down the SEAT Alhambra 2.0 Reference has to be seen as an outrageous bargain. We all like unearthing something thats a bit of a steal but we dont like to be seen to be economising.

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