SEAT Alhambra 2020 - A spacious 7-seater for all
The SEAT Alhambra is a spacious, comfortable, 7-seater with plenty of space to accommodate seven adults with ease. The Alhambra takes much of its underpinnings and design features from its cousin the Volkswagen Sharan but comes with more equipment as standard and a better price tag.
The Alhambra is a handsome car for one as large as it is, thanks to some neat design stylings and sculptured body lines, giving it a sportier appearance.
The SEAT Alhambra falls in the MPV (multi-purpose vehicle) category, which is becoming less popular due to the increase in large modern SUV's. It is, however, still a fantastic vehicle and does come up against some very stiff competition from the likes of the Ford Galaxy and S-Max, the Citroen C4 Grand Picasso and the Volkswagen Sharan.
The Alhambra began its life nearly 25 years ago in 1996 with the 1st generation model remaining in production until 2010. It was succeeded by the 2nd generation model which is still in production today. The 2nd gen model has had various upgrades and visual facelifts, both inside and outside, over the years to keep it relevant and on point for potential buyers.
There are only three trim levels to choose from when selecting an Alhambra; SE, SEL and Xcellence. Each comes with an impressive amount of equipment as standard, a lot of which come at an additional cost in rival 7-seater MPV's.
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Engines, Power and Performance
The SEAT Alhambra engine line up is short and simple with just one petrol option and three diesel variations on offer. Each engine offers good performance and torque levels, ideal for a large passenger vehicle, and maintains impressive fuel efficiency.
The single petrol offering is the 1.4-litre TSI, which develops 150hp and 250Nm of torque, thanks to a combination of a turbocharger and a supercharger. The engine is mated to a six-speed manual transmission as standard and will achieve a top speed of 124mph. The petrol engine, unsurprisingly, is the least impressive of the engines when it comes to fuel economy with a combined 34-35.8mpg.
The diesel selection kicks off with the 2-litre TDI Ecomotive engine which generates 150hp and 340Nm of torque. It is mated to a six-speed manual transmission and will achieve a top speed of 123mph.
Next is the 2-litre TDI which develops the same 150hp and 340Nm of torque as the Ecomotive, but the engine is mated to a six-speed DSG automatic transmission, which reduces the average combined mpg a fraction. The Ecomotive manages a combined 41.5-44.1mpg, whilst the 2.0 TDI with automatic transmission drops to 39.2-41.5mpg.
The final diesel offering is the 2-litre TDI with increased power to 177hp and 380Nm of torque. The engine is mated to a six-speed DSG automatic transmission and will achieve a combined 38.7-40.4mpg. This engine is only available with the Xcellence trim level which if you can afford to budget for it great, but if not both other diesel offerings are available across all trim levels, and both perform beautifully.
Interior Quality and Technology
The interior of the Alhambra has come on leaps and bounds over the years, and the recent upgrades have added a more premium feel and finish when compared to older models. The quality of material used and the sturdiness of the interior is impressive. It's similar to that found in the rival Volkswagen Sharan.
Each Alhambra comes with an impressive array of technology and features as standard including; a 6.5-inch colour touchscreen for accessing the infotainment system which includes sat-nav with 3D map display, DAB Radio, Bluetooth connectivity, an eight-speaker audio system and voice recognition. Other features include front and rear parking sensors, along with a rearview camera, and leather steering wheel and gear knob.
There are various optional extras available, some of which come as standard in higher trim models such as a panoramic glass sunroof, power-assisted tailgate, individually controlled heated front seats and keyless entry and go (KESSY).
The front two rows of seats all have a good amount of adjustment to enable great access and a comfortable driving position for all occupants. SEAT appear to have ticked all the boxes when going through key areas to improve and develop. This makes the inside of the Alhambra a nice place to sit and relax on those longer journeys.
Space, Practicality and Safety
The seating plan in the Alhambra is as you would expect, two-three-two with plenty of space on the rear two seats for a couple of adults to sit in relative comfort. The front two occupants will find an abundance of headroom and legroom, along with a couple of comfy seats with a generous amount of adjustment. The steering wheel also comes with a decent amount of adjustment, making finding that perfect driving position stress-free and straightforward.
The middle row of seats, again have a considerable amount of adjustment by either tilting or sliding forwards and back. There is ample legroom and headroom for three adults over 6ft tall, although shoulder room can be a little tight but not uncomfortable.
The back row of two seats offers excellent legroom and headroom compared to many other MPVs of this ilk. Adults, even tall ones, will be able to get comfortable for any length of journey. The Alhambra has sliding doors which enable extra wide access, ideal for climbing in and out.
There are plenty of storage compartments all over the cabin, including secret cubbies, like those under the front seats. Some of the other cubbies include a spacious glove box, door pockets and pull down the picnic-style table on the backs of the front seats.
The boot is spacious, and even with all seven seats in use, it has a capacity of 267-litres, enough for several bags of shopping or small suitcases. If you fold the back two seat away, then capacity rises to 809-litres and with all five rear seats tucked away the maximum capacity of the Alhambra climbs to a colossal 2297-litres.
The Alhambra scored an impressive 5-star rating at the Euro NCAP safety tests, thanks to a wealth of standard safety features including; blind set detection and lane assist, multiple airbags, Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with Emergency Brake Assist (EBA), traffic sign recognition and Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB). The list of safety features and assists starts to feel a little endless after a while; it's impressive.
The SEAT Alhambra is a superb family MPV and perfect for those with an expanding family and offers excellent value for money. The Alhambra looks good, drives good and provides all the versatility and practicality anyone could need.