Seat Alhambra 2.0 TDI 115 review

  • Seat Alhambra 2.0 TDI 115 review
  • 50.4mpg and 146g/km CO2
  • On sale now, at £24,020
Seat Alhambra review
Seat Alhambra review
The Seat Alhambra is the What Car? MPV of the Year 2012, and here we drive the latest model to join the line-up, the 113bhp 2.0-litre diesel.

It's the smallest capacity diesel available, and can only be paired with entry-level S trim. It's reasonably efficient, too, with average economy of 50.4mpg and CO2 emissions of 146g/km – equating to annual road tax of £135.

The asking price of £24,020, undercuts the equivalent (and closely related) Volkswagen Sharan by £740, but it still looks expensive alongside rivals such as the Peugeot 5008.

What's the 2012 Seat Alhambra 2.0 TDI 115 like to drive?
There's no getting away from it, the Alhambra is a big car, and it feels just that around town. That said, visibility is good both forwards and over the shoulder, thanks to the Seat's huge glass area.

Seat Alhambra 2.0 TDI 110

The steering is lighter than you might expect, which is perfect for town driving and helps to make the Alhambra feel relatively nimble, despite its size. Drivers will find it easy to get comfortable, too, with a decent range of wheel and seat adjustment to play with.

Head out of town, and the Alhambra continues to impress. Road noise is well suppressed and the suspension does a good job of keeping the big Seat's bulk in check.

Getting up to speed in the first place isn't as brisk as it is in our favourite 138bhp diesel model, but the Alhambra isn't a slow as it appears on paper. If town driving is your main concern, this entry-level engine offers respectable pace. It does, however, feel rather out of breath on the motorway.

However, it's at these speeds that wind noise builds up around the door mirrors, and with such flat sides, the Alhambra can feel rather unsettled by strong crosswinds.

What's the 2012 Seat Alhambra 2.0 TDI 115 like inside?
Although S is the entry-level trim, its standard kit is good. You get alloys, climate control, an iPod connection, an electric handbrake with hill-start control, Bluetooth and rear parking sensors.

Seat has worked hard to keep families happy, too. You'll find ISOFIX anchor points on all rear seats, electric child locks for the rear side doors and rear seats that fold down into the floor to leave a huge boot space.

Electric rear side doors and boot are a £995 option, but they're worth it if you often load children and their belongings on board.

There are driver and passenger airbags, as well as driver’s knee, front- side- and curtain airbags that run the full length of the car. That attention to detail helped the Seat Alhambra win a five-star Euro NCAP crash-test rating.

Seven adults can travel in genuine comfort, because the middle row seats can be individually moved forward and back, or folded. Wherever you're sitting, headroom is generous and the sliding doors provide easy access to the back.

Should I buy one?
The Alhambra remains our favourite SUV, and our favourite model is still the 138bhp diesel in S trim. It costs £765 more than this 113bhp version, but we think the extra pulling power is worth it – this is a big car that's likely to haul around lots of people and luggage.

The bigger diesel also has the same fuel economy figure and CO2 emissions, so long-term running costs are much the same.

If, however, you drive mostly in town, then save yourself £765 – this MPV is more than capable of keeping an urban owner happy.

Read the full Seat Alhambra review >>



Rivals:
Ford Galaxy
Peugeot 5008

What Car? says…


Rory White

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