2014 Seat Alhambra 2.0 TDI 140 i-Tech

Seat’s seven-seat MPV is now available in special-edition i-Tech trim. It’s got some desirable high-tech kit, but is it worth nearly £30k?...

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Barnaby Jones
23 Sep 2014 12:17 | Last updated: 14 Jun 2018 00:03

Seven-seat MPVs don’t get much better than the Seat Alhambra. It won the What Car? MPV of the Year Award in 2011, 2012 and 2013, and was a price point winner this year, too.

The Alhambra is now available in special-edition i-Tech trim, which brings a touch-screen sat-nav system, rear-view camera, keyless entry and engine starting, DAB digital radio, sports-style front seats and titanium-look alloy wheels.

That’s an awful lot of desirable kit, and you’ll save £480 going for the i-Tech rather than for the cheaper SE model and adding all those as separate optional extras.

Prices start at a hefty-sounding £28,630 for a manual model, though, while our automatic test car was a whisker less than £30k. The Alhambra i-Tech has to deliver a lot, then, if it’s going to be worth the money.

What’s the 2014 Seat Alhambra i-Tech like inside?

In a word: huge. Few MPVs offer as much space for seven people (even tall adults will be pretty happy in the two rear-most seats), and everyone gets a great view out thanks to the large side windows.

Getting in and out is easy, too. The door openings are vast, and because the rear doors slide, they don’t limit access or take up much room in parking spaces (and the Alhambra is a wide car, so this can be an issue). Access to the rear seats is also good; simply pull a lever on the top of the seat in front and the seat will tilt and slide forwards, leaving a big gap to climb through.

There’s also loads of space for luggage. Even with all seven seats up, there’s enough room for several shopping bags or a couple of small cases. Fold the two rearmost seats down into the floor and the boot is massive, while also dropping the three in the middle row creates a load bay big enough to make a van driver envious.

Practicality is another strong point. There’s masses of storage space, including cubbies beneath the front seats and in the floor behind them, fold-down picnic tables in the back of the front seats and integrated sunblinds in the rear doors. The three individual middle-row seats are also pretty wide, so fitting three child seats safely should be possible. In short, there’s a lot to help you and your family have a more comfortable, stress-free journey.

It’s not totally good news, though. Folding the rearmost seats up and down is a little fiddly, in that you have to move the seatbacks and seatbases separately rather than both together. The sliding doors also require a bit more muscle to move than conventional ones; other Alhambras solve this by having power-operated doors (and tailgate) as standard, but these aren’t available on the i-Tech versions.

Another oddity of i-Tech trim is that you can’t add heated front seats or rear side airbags, which you can on the other versions, both fairly desirable extras for anyone spending more than £30k on an MPV.

Still, everything else is standard Alhambra, which means a sound driving position, good-quality interior plastics and simple controls throughout.

What’s the 2014 Seat Alhambra i-Tech like to drive?

Really rather good. The i-Tech comes with a 138bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine, which is smooth, quiet and powerful enough to shift the Alhambra along at a decent lick.

The automatic gearbox fitted to our test car is a bit of a mixed bag, however. While its gearchanges are slick, it can be slow to respond and doesn’t always change gear when you want it to.

Ride comfort isn’t perfect, either. It’s far from uncomfortable, but you certainly know what state the road surface is in. The Alhambra controls its body movements well, though, which should keep complaints of motion sickness from passengers in the back to a minimum.

This is a large car, so manoeurving and parking can be tricky (the steering is a little heavy at low speeds, too), but otherwise the Alhambra is an easy car to drive.

It’s a pretty quiet cruiser, too. There’s little engine and road noise, and while the bluff dimensions do generate some wind noise at high speeds, it’s not enough to annoy you.

Should I buy one?

If you regularly use all seven seats in your car and want plenty of gadgets, the Alhambra i-Tech is a fine choice. The keyless entry is a boon if you often carry children or shopping to the car, and the reversing camera helps make parking such a long vehicle that bit easier.

The Alhambra is also better value than the almost identical Volkswagen Sharan and more practical than a Ford Galaxy, if perhaps not the forthcoming new Ford S-Max.

The thing is, the cheaper S and SE versions offer all the Alhambra’s practical strengths in a much more affordable package. So if you can live without the gizmos, we’d still recommend choosing one of those over this well-equipped i-Tech model.

What Car? says…

Rivals

Ford Galaxy

Volkswagen Sharan

Seat Alhambra 2.0TDI 140 i-Tech

Engine size 2.0-litre diesel

Price £28,630

Power 138bhp

Torque 236lb ft

0-62mph 10.9 seconds

Top speed 120mph

Fuel economy 50.4mpg

CO2 146g/km

Seat Alhambra 2.0TDI 140 i-Tech DSG auto

Engine size 2.0-litre diesel

Price £29,915

Power 138bhp

Torque 236lb ft

0-62mph 10.9 seconds

Top speed 119mph

Fuel economy 49.6mpg

CO2 149g/km