Used Seat Alhambra MPV 1996 - 2011 review

Category: MPV

For the money, few big MPVs are as versatile or as enjoyable to drive and own as the Seat Alhambra

Seat Alhambra MPV (96 - 11)
  • Seat Alhambra MPV (96 - 11)
  • Seat Alhambra MPV (96 - 11)
Used Seat Alhambra MPV 1996 - 2011 review
Star rating

What's the used Seat Alhambra MPV like?

The Seat Alhambra was forged from the same DNA as the Ford Galaxy and Volkswagen Sharan, and given only the mildest dose of Seat corporate medicine.

That means it's a hugely capable MPV that drives more like a family hatchback, with a comfortable ride and taut handling (but not quite as sharp as the Galaxy's). Every engine is refined, and the cabin remains hushed, even at motorway speeds.


For the money, few big MPVs are as versatile or as enjoyable to drive and own as the Seat Alhambra

  • A well-built cabin, versatile seating
  • tidy handling and good visibility
  • Limited luggage space and limited availability

All shapes of driver should be able to get comfy behind the wheel, and stay comfortable over long distances. On top of that, the layout of controls is intuitive, and all-round visibility is good.

Talking of seats, most Alhambras are fitted with seven. The 2-3-2 layout allows for the five rearmost to be slid backwards or forwards - to create more legroom or boot space, as necessary - folded or removed (a heavy and fiddly job). With all seven in use, you won't be able to carry much more than a single suitcase, so pack light.

Ownership cost

What used Seat Alhambra MPV will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Seat Alhambra MPV?

Generally, the Alhambra is wallet-friendly transport. It's keenly priced for the versatility, drive and quality on offer. You can also pick one up for noticeably less than its VW Sharan lookalike, and a little cheaper than the other triplet, the Ford Galaxy. Expect it to hang on to its value as well as most MPVs.

The diesels make their fuel go a long way. Expect high-30s or low-40s to the gallon. Go for the 2.0 or 1.8 T petrols, and you're looking at a reasonable but not outstanding 30mpg or so.

Servicing will cost you about the same as most comparable MPVs.

Our recommendations

Which used Seat Alhambra MPV should I buy?

The diesels are the ones to get. There have been a few since the Alhambra's 1996 launch - the VW-supplied 1.9 TDI turbodiesel comes in various flavours from 90-130bhp - but our pick is the 110 or 115bhp version.

The smaller petrols are cheaper, but not so widely available. Of these, the 113bhp 2.0 can feel weedy, so the 150bhp turbocharged 1.8 T is our choice. There's also a stonking 201bhp 2.8 V6, with lower, firmer suspension and four-wheel drive, but it's expensive to run, so best avoided.

A major face-lift happened in 2000, when all models became seven-seaters as standard. They also got more kit, a slightly more modern look outside and an updated cabin.

From the outset, even basic spec (S on early cars, Reference on later ones) meant air-con, a CD player, electric front windows and a good level of safety equipment. Stylance (SE on early cars) is the more upmarket choice.

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What alternatives should I consider to a used Seat Alhambra MPV?