SEAT Alhambra (2011) Remains Best 7-Seaters Around
The SEAT Alhambra, part of the Volkswagen VAG group, continues to be the most affordable and highly-equipped 7-seater cars around. It was launched in 2000 and for the last 10 years has managed to outclass its rivals in terms of overall value for money and price. The Ford Galaxy and the Volkswagon Sharan are the direct competition, but still the SEAT manages to beat its sister VAG car to the top of the table.
The SEAT does not do any one thing perfectly. It is flawed, granted, but manages to be a 4-star all-rounder. The comfort levels are good, it's practical, the equipment levels are great and from behind the wheel it feels like a car. In fact, it sits on the same chassis as the SEAT Toledo, which gives it a car-like low seating position but with the added space of a people carrier.
The interior is chasm-like, and swallows equipment, TVs, washing machines and anything else you'd like to throw in it. The loading shelf is low, meaning that you don't need to be the World's Strongest Man to load gear into the back. While the interior is a little outdated and not as plush as its VW twin, it's made from hardy material and will last as long as the ever-reliable Tdi engine.
One area where the SEAT fails is its handling. It feels like a barge in the corners. You don't expect a 7-seater, load-lugger to feel like a Porsche in the turns, but something slightly better than a oil-tanker would be great.
Whether you're buying a 7-seat car new or used, the SEAT Alhambra offers great value for money. Older ones are a little long in the tooth now, but can be snapped up for as little as £1,500, whereas a top of the range new one will only set you back £23,000. The same cannot be said for its rivals, who add a premium for seemingly just a different badge!
On to the engines, yes there is a petrol V6 and a 2.0 engine, but the choice for the Tdi is either the 115bhp or the 150bhp one. VW's diesels last forever and even if you’re buying the oldest version it’ll still have life in it. When you're looking for an economical engine, the VAG oil-burner is a tough contender. It's a shame some car buyers go for the VW, when the SEAT is just a Sharan in a different guise.
The New Alhambra Ecomotive (140PS 2.0 TDI Common Rail CR engine), emits only 146 g/km of co2 – making it one of the most eco friendly 7 Seaters. The miles per gallon are also promising with it’s consumption of only 5.5 litres per 100 kim. This equates to around 62.13 miles to 1.21 gallons which is around 50 miles to the Gallon.
With SEAT winning many World Touring Car Championships and doing splendidly well in the British Touring Car Championship, the brand is starting to gain some heritage and is no longer 'that quirky manufacturer from Spain'. With the VAG group behind it, that can only mean bigger and better things from now on, and with the Alhambra being 10 years old now, we can only suspect a new 7-seater replacement will be on its way. For those who usually buy used cars, a new Seat Alhambra model spells an even better bargain than an older SEAT.