Seat Alhambra MPV full 9 point review
The Alhambra is available with two 2.0-litre diesel engines. The 138bhp version has plenty of low-rev shove, so it's more than up to the task of transporting you and your family around. You don't have to work the 168bhp version as hard to get up to speed, and it does feel quicker, but we'd stick with the lower-powered unit.
Ride & Handling
The Alhambra is a big car, and you're well aware of that when negotiating tight car parks or narrow city streets. It's far from cumbersome on the open road, though, with well-weighted steering and fine handling. The ride is a little firm, but the suspension deals with bumps quickly and effectively, so you're unlikely to find it uncomfortable.
Whichever engine you choose, the Alhambra is smooth and quiet – just as quiet as its VW Sharan counterpart, in fact, which makes it one of the most refined MPVs around. The boxy shape does kick up some wind noise, but there's little road noise and the Alhambra is a hushed cruiser.
Safety & Security
Every Alhambra comes with 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. Altogether, they help towards a maximum five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating. Deadlocks, marked parts and an alarm are also standard across the range.
Buying & Owning
Prices aren't cheap, but they undercut those of the almost-identical Volkswagen Sharan. That helps make the Alhambra better value for money, although its predicted resale values are slightly lower than those of the VW. CO2 emissions and fuel consumption figures are impressively low, so ownership costs are good for something this large.
Quality & Reliability
Badges apart, the Alhambra's cabin is all-but identical to the VW Sharan's, so there are lots of classy controls and some plush trim around the front of the cabin. The materials farther back are more workaday, but they feel built to withstand family life, while build quality is solid throughout. The Alhambra didn't feature in the latest JD Power customer satisfaction survey, but Seat as a manufacturer scored well for reliability.
Behind The Wheel
The Alhambra's interior won’t win any contests for design flair, but it's hard to fault for comfort and ease of use. The driver's seat is supportive, while the dashboard controls are simple to use, well placed and within easy reach. The Alhambra's boxy shape, large windows and comparatively slim pillars mean that all-round visibility is excellent.
Space & Practicality
There's genuine space for seven adults, and you'll find it surprisingly easy to get kids in and out in tight parking spaces thanks to the sliding rear doors. The five rear seats can all be folded flat when you need to transport really big loads, but the boot is still huge in five-seat mode, and there's even enough space for a decent amount of luggage when all the seats are upright. Our only real criticism is that the third-row seats are a bit of a fuss to fold flat.
The Alhambra is available in S, SE, i-Tech and SE Lux versions. Even the cheapest trim (S) includes alloy wheels, three-zone climate control, Bluetooth and front and rear parking sensors; that's excellent for the money, so it's our favourite. SE adds a USB socket and cruise control, while i-Tech has sat-nav, a rear-view camera and a digital radio. Top-spec SE Lux cars have electrically powered side doors, leather seats and a sunroof, but they're expensive.