What Car? Awards 2012 website
2.0 TDI 140 Ecomotive S
List price £23,555 Target Price £23,555
The Seat Alhambra has ended an era of domination for the Citroën Grand C4 Picasso and Peugeot 5008 siblings which, between them, have been our category winners for the past four years.
The Alhambra has achieved this giant-killing act by excelling in every area, and proving that buying an MPV needn’t mean giving up on some of the finer parts of motoring just because you need practicality.
Crucially for an MPV, the Alhambra is big.
It’s also versatile and practical, benefiting from clever seating systems and clever storage ideas. It has a light, airy cabin that makes it a pleasure to be in – and helps mask the car’s substantial dimensions in the driver’s mind.
Good all-round refinement (only a smidgen of wind noise intrudes at speed) enhances the ambience. Tidy handling and steering, a supple ride on all surfaces and a willing, economical engine all add to the impression that this is
a more svelte car than it really is.
The 138bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine is another of the car’s trump cards. It’s not the most powerful in the Alhambra range, but it does a good job in almost all circumstances.
You’ll also be able to revel in the running costs of its 50mpg-plus average economy and respectable CO2 emissions.
Although the entry-level S trim gives you pretty much all the kit we consider essential, such as stability control, a tyre pressure-monitoring system and seven airbags, including a driver’s knee ’bag and curtain airbags that run the full length of the cabin, you need to add one optional extra to have the perfect vehicle.
In our view, chief among the must-haves are the electric sliding doors. They cost £780, but add an immense amount of practicality to the car. Electrically assisted doors make it easy to get in and out of the tightest of spaces when you’ve got your hands full of children and shopping. You still get sliding doors if you don’t tick the box, but they’re heavy and have to be operated manually.
Even with this additional cost the result is a great car at a great price. If you want to carry seven, or just need lots of luggage space, there is no better car on the market today.