2.0 TDI CR 7-Seater E Ecomotive SE
all-new SEAT model range
hits the showrooms the large
family-friendly, seven-seater MPV,
the Alhambra, offering multiple
passenger and load carrying options.
And its very good to drive...
LIKE ITS VOLKSWAGEN SHARAN STABLEMATE, the new SEAT Alhambra is all-new and
replaces the previous generation version which was on sale for 15 years (but
with, of course, mid-life updates). For the record, both the Alhambra and VW
Sharan are built on the same production lines in Portugal.
New from the wheels up, the Alhambra is a full-size MPV people-carrier with
seven seats and, thanks to its clever EasyFold seating system, a wide variety
of seating and load carrying combinations.
Large MPVs have taken a bit of a sales hit in recent years as owners or company
car users downsize due to high tax and running costs. But the introduction of
a new generation of fuel-efficient, top-end models such as the Ford Galaxy,
Ford S-Max, Renault Espace, Peugeot 5008, VW Sharan and now the Alhambra will
give the sector a sales lift especially as family holidays in the UK
the so-called 'staycations' are fashionable.
The new Alhambra offers much more than the previous one: more space; far superior
handling; and better looks. But it's also more costly. The starting price is
£22,330 and ranges up to a shade over £30,000 but that range-topping price has
yet to be finally confirmed as our test models were the first in the country.
old line-up consisted of 1.9/2.0-litre TDI engine options and cost £20,370 to
£23,705. On the issue of price, SEAT say their new Alhambra undercuts the sister
new VW Sharan by an average £1,000 across the range and has a higher level of
The main selling 138bhp
turbodiesel model is
badged with an extra E
(E Ecomotive) because,
with CO2 emissions
of just 146g/km,
it is the cleanest model
in the range...
Today's Alhambra engine line-up is a little wider, with a 1.4-litre TSI, four-cylinder
petrol unit with a forced supercharger / turbocharger system that produces an
impressive 148bhp of power and 176lb ft of torque from 1,500rpm. Fuel economy
is officially 39.2mpg and emissions 167g/km so VED road tax is £250 for the
First Year and then £180 annually thereafter. This model is the least expensive
version in the range so will sell on purchase price to people who cover relatively
small annual mileages. SEAT estimate about one in ten Alhambra customers will
choose this engine option.
In addition there are two 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine options: the main selling
138bhp unit and a 168bhp version. The 168bhp diesel and the petrol 1.4 TSI are
badged Ecomotive but the 138bhp turbodiesel model is badged with an extra 'E'
(E Ecomotive) because, with CO2 emissions of just 146g/km, it is the cleanest
model in the range. The price for this version, which will be the highest seller,
is £25,270. There is also the choice of six-speed manual or six-speed twin-clutch
All models have five doors; the rear side ones slide open and closed and, on
the top specification version, these are power operated. As before there are
three trim and equipment levels S, SE and SE Lux. All versions have,
as standard, Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity, three-zone climate control,
one-touch electrically-operated front and rear side windows, powered and heated
door mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, alloy wheels, twin halogen headlights,
height- and reach-adjustable multi-function steering wheel, a good sound system
with eight speakers, stability control, seven airbags and remote central locking.
If a customer wants cruise control then the SE version adds that function and
lots of family-friendly extra storage compartments as well as pockets, tray
tables and integrated sunblinds in the side rear doors.
SE Lux has powered side sliding doors and a powered rear tailgate, panoramic
glass sunroof, sports-style heated front seats, black leather upholstery, SatNav
and media system and rear-view camera plus much more. The SE version will be
most popular with family and company car drivers and the S specification will
be just what the taxi trade, minicabs and private hire customers want.
shaped front exterior and
sleek side profile is
eye-catching, and looks
really smart and well
proportioned. And the
control and handling are
a huge improvement...
The Alhambra's arrow-shaped front exterior and sleek side profile is eye-catching,
and looks really smart and well proportioned. Like the new VW Sharan, it looks
far more sporting than its predecessor and the control and handling are a huge
improvement. Body roll is minimal it didn't use to be in the good old,
bad old 'rock and roll' MPVs of just a few years ago.
The cornering is sharp with lots of grip, and with good steering feel. The ride
comfort is good but I suspect SEAT have done their usual sporty tuning for the
dampers, bushes and spring rates because it feels a little firmer than the new
Sharan with perhaps a shade more road noise intrusion. It could, though, just
be the firmer-walled self-sealing tyres.
Overall the Alhambra is high on refinement and the 2.0-litre TDI 138bhp E Ecomotive
powerhouse with SE specification at £25,270 looks a good choice. It is a big
vehicle in most ways 4.85 metres long with seven seats but with up to
2,297 litres of load space although, in this sector, most versions are relatively
small in price with low tax and running costs.
Against? Size limits easy street parking, significant wind noise from the door
mirrors, firmer ride than its equally-new sister model, the Volkswagen Sharan.
In its favour, the Alhambra is a thoroughly modern and well designed inside-and-out
large MPV, has multiple passenger and load carrying options, a high specification,
very competitive pricing (in this sector) and is very good to drive with trustworthy
handling. David Miles
SEAT Alhambra 2.0 TDI CR 7-seater
E Ecomotive SE
Maximum speed: 120mph | 0-62mph: 10.9 seconds | Overall test MPG: 42mpg
Power: 138bhp | Torque: 236lb ft | CO2 146g/km