Almost all the seven-seat cars can surely claim to carry that many people with ease as the smallest seats at their back are usually fit for a an adult willing to endure a squishy journey or small child only. However the new Alhambra can easily carry seven like its predecessor did. It offers a variety of kit as standard with nice fuel economy and low CO2 emissions. It has got a very competitive market in seven-seaters, including the Ford Galaxy, as well as the near-identical Volkswagen Sharan.
It stands among the most capacious MPVs featuring the back two chairs designed big enough for fully formed adults. The dashboard it gets is more attractive than anything else the Seat does. It is extremely solid and simply styled in order to find every control easily. A leather steering wheel offers some design flair and a strip of metallic trim across the dashboard does the same.
The upper materials’ solidity approaches Audi standard. It is two leagues ahead of old Alhambra. There is an impressive boot with rear seats up, and the nice (optional) transformer chairs able to change into kiddie seats is much attractive.
The SEAT Alhambra is a functional and sensible MPV having a bit less design flair compared to some of SEAT’s sleeker models. Its front provides the best view, where its large grille, deep air intakes and dark headlight surrounds provides it an aggressive face.
Tinted rear windows gives rear passengers more privacy as well as suit its looks. The new Alhambra is 9.4cm wider, 4.85m long and a massive 22cm longer than the outgoing car. Long sliding doors provide access to the second and third row seats.
Two engine choices are there, one is the entry level and the other is a new 1.4 TSI unit, sole petrol choice. A turbo-charger and super-charger help it produce 148bhp and reach 0-62mph in 10.7 seconds. A 2.0 TDI common-rail engine along choice of 138bhp or 168bhp is there for the diesel front. The lower-powered version having low pulling power will strike 0-62mph in 10.9 seconds while the higher-powered diesel provides better prospect for having all seven seats filled almost all the time. It will offer greater pulling power and reach 0-62mph in 9.8 seconds. All engines have the choice of a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed DSG automatic gearbox along paddle changers behind the steering wheel.
The manual feel a bit notchy, while the DSG slick if fitted to petrol engine but in the diesel models, it can feel a little jerky. Though, the DSG manual mode helps smooth gear changes. An entry-level 2.0-litre diesel two-wheel drive model was added to the range by SEAT in 2011. It is a smooth and flexible engine for long distance drivers with 115bhp and 280Nm pulling power. However, if lots of equipment or people carriage is intended, then choosing the more powerful 140bhp or 170bhp version is a better option.
The Euro NCAP tests awarded it the top score of five stars as it has got a stiffer chassis than the earlier model which makes it safer. Seven airbags are standard in the safety kit. These include driver knee airbag also. Stability control is also standard on all models, with electric child locks for the sliding doors and ISOFIX mounting points.
The MSRP ranges from £23,535- £31,320.
The Seat Alhambra is as good to drive and practical as its VW Sharan counterpart, but gives even much better value for money. It is among the best MPVs around. In fact it has achieved MPV of the Year for 2013 in some awards.
Michael Valentine is a seasoned freelance writer who combines love for language, wordplay and conversation with demonstrated experience in bringing creative contents to life. He loves and shares news on global trends that are steering development of car industry.
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