SEAT Alhambra 7 Seat MPV Review
So, what is there? Long established in the market have been the Ford Galaxy, VW Sharan and more recent Ford S-Max, whilst other offerings such as the Toyota Previa, Chrysler Grand Voyager and Renault Espace have fallen by the wayside. Somewhat inevitably however SEAT, a part of the Volkswagen Audi Group (VAG) have come up with their Alhambra as a more economically viable alternative to the Sharan.
Built on the same chassis etc as the Sharan, there is little difference except light styling changes (there is only so much you can do with a box on wheels) and more importantly cost, with a starting price of just over £25,000 for the S on test, to the FR Line which starts at a little over £34,000.
Like we said earlier, styling wise there is little to be done with a box on wheels. However, the front end looks as car like as possible, whilst the rest of it looks more van like to accommodate adult head height in all seats. Lining it up along side its VW cousin, there really is little in it.
On the inside, the SEAT Alhambra is light and airy with excellent all-round visibility. The grey cloth helps with this but hides the characteristically firm VAG seats which make you feel like you are sitting on them rather than in them. Yes they will remain firm in 20 years time, but so will bus seats and they are just as comfortable¦ There is also a down side to the light and airy feel, with all the huge windows you do feel somewhat like you are in a goldfish bowl where the visibility in is as good as the visibility out. Privacy glass is almost a must on the Alhambra and would be worth the £240 cost on the S.
Whilst there is plenty of room for 7 adults to sit without too much jostling for shoulder space, the boot space is, well¦ almost non-existent. As with all 7 seaters, you would be lucky to fit 1 persons
luggage in the space remaining, let alone 7. Folding all the seats down however presents you with a cavernous space of van like proportions making this a pretty versatile proposition.
Engine wise, there are two options. The stalwart 2.0TDi  offering (on test), as well as the more highly tuned 184hp on the top two trim levels, prolific in VAG group cars, and perhaps surprisingly the peppy little 1.4TSI which still manages to strangle 150hp from this little power plant.
Whilst performance figures for an MPV are of less consequence, the 2.0TDI  will take you (empty) from 0-62mph in just over 10 seconds but surprisingly the 1.4TSi claims to do this in just under 10s. The test vehicle felt capable at speed with just the driver, however having driven the 2.0TDi  in many of the VAG ranges,
it may feel a little strained when loaded with 7 adults, I fear this would be even more apparent in the lighter, far less torquey 1.4TSi. Economy wise, the 2.0TDi  claims around 55mpg combined and the 1.4TSi around 43mpg. However, again with a full load the diesel will fair better whilst the mpg figures whilst I predict the 1.4TSi mpg figures plummeting.
Specification wise, the entry level S is suitably equipped with Bluetooth Hands Free, 3-Zone Climate control, Front & Rear parking sensors, and alloy wheels. For an extra couple of thousand pounds you can upgrade to the SE which adds the almost essential privacy glass, larger alloy wheels, corning fog lights, cruise control, high beam assist, auto lights & wipers, picnic tables
in the rear of the front seats, and some extra storage. Upgrading further to the Connect, for another thousand will give you some Connect badges and a mobile phone¦go figure! The SE Lux is a big step in price and specification over the SE, bringing you Power Sliding Doors, Electric Tailgate, Electric Panoramic Sunroof, Sat Nav, Reversing Camera, DAB Radio, Leather Upholstery, Heated & Electric Front Sports Style Seats, and Sports Suspension. At a premium of around £6,000 over the entry level S its a matter of opinion whether the jump is worth it or not. The FR Line, only £1000 more than the SE Lux adds larger still alloy wheels, Leather & Alcantara Upholstery, and a few other bits but does not appear to be worth it.
As a fleet car, the Alhambra is a good people mover. Whether you are looking to get staff from A to B en-masse or use it for trade shows where you need to move people and stuff, or both all in one day it will do the job nicely. To lease the Alhambra isnt bad either. The test 2.0TDi  S comes in nicely at around £280+VAT/month on a standard 3+35 / 10,000 miles per annum lease, whilst the SE Lux comes in comfortably under £350+VAT/month.
Facts & Figures (SEAT Alhambra 2.0TDi Ecomotive  S, on Test):
Engine: 2.0l 4 Cylinder Turbo Diesel
Transmission: 5 Speed Manual
Top Speed: 124mph
Fuel Economy (Combined): 56mpg
CO2 Emissions: 150g/km
If you would like to find out more about leasing the SEAT Alhambra, or any other vehicle, please contact JCS Fleet below: