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Seat Alhambra: Test Drive Review

Date: 24 December 2010   |   Author:

Category: MPV
P11D price: £25,090
Key rival: Volkswagen Sharan

It's been a while coming - 14 years to be precise - but the second-generation Seat Alhambra has finally been launched.

Sister car to the new Sharan of parent company Volkswagen, the Alhambra's biggest change comes in the shape of sliding rear doors that replace the traditionally hinged ones of the previous-generation model. The sliding doors both aid access into the second and third rows of seats, and make entry and exit easier in tight spaces.

The company thinks the new model will find appeal across the corporate market, and is singling out Ford's Galaxy as the primary competition. Around 800 will find their way into the corporate segment, with Seat targeting every sector from taxi fleets through to 'true fleet' contract hire.

On the road the engine is refined and powerful enough, but the Alhambra doesn't quite have the poise and driver entertainment of either Ford's Galaxy or S-max, though there's a question as to how much these sort of cars are about the driver at all, given that their main remit is people-carrying.

More importantly, the interior quality is good, and the five individual rear seats all fold easily thanks to light operation. The three central seats slide to create more room in the third row if needed, and even with seven seats in place there's a reasonable amount of boot space for the sector, thanks in part to the extra 220mm of length and 90mm of width over the previous Alhambra.

This 2.0-litre TDI diesel, the mainstay of the VW Group range, emits 146g/km of CO2 and returns an average of 50.4mpg, while the range also offers a 170hp version of the same engine, and a 1.4-litre TSI petrol alternative, although the latter doesn't get down to 160g/km in either manual or automatic form.

The Alhambra isn't designed to shock or surprise, but it's solid, dependable, predictable and practical. For those people who would prefer to save the price difference between this and a VW Sharan rather than having the increased badge cachet, it certainly does the job.