£28,705 - £35,840 Price range
53 - 55 MPG
The SEAT Alhambra is a seven-seater people carrier that’s a slightly cheaper alternative to the Volkswagen Sharan. Other rivals include the Ford Galaxy, Citroen C4 Grand Picasso and the Renault Grand Scenic.
It costs from £28,705, but if you buy your new Alhambra using carwow you could save an average of £5,216.
The Alhambra was updated in the middle of 2015 and now comes with more equipment than before, improved technology, lower running costs and a slightly improved interior that feels better quality than the one in the old model.
The interior is solidly built from quality materials, and all the controls are easy to use. The 2015 update improved the infotainment system to include a technology called MirrorLink, which displays compatible smartphone apps on the car’s screen.
In early 2016 SEAT released the 20th Anniversary Edition Alhambra with numerous extra features as standard including partial Alcantara upholstery, new alloy wheels, massaging front seats and a selection of safety features as standard.
Out on the road, the Alhambra is stable, safe and inspires confidence – important characteristics when choosing a car not only for yourself but for the whole family.
There’s a range of frugal petrol and diesel engines, and the 2015 update added more power and improved fuel economy across the board: the new petrol engines consume up to 15 percent less fuel than before, for example.
Overall, the Alhambra is hugely practical and competitively priced. It’s so good we even put it in our Top Ten 7 Seater Cars. Read on for the full verdict and remember to check out our handy colours and dimensions guides too.
The Alhambra shares much with the VW Sharan inside as well – many of the parts are directly carried over and the overall quality is on par with the more expensive sister car. However some of the plastics look cheap and the interior is not as distinctive as the one in the Citroen C4 Grand Picasso.
The 2015 updated means that the Alhambra comes with a new steering wheel design, but the biggest improvement comes in the form of a new infotainment touchscreen that has a higher resolution – making it clearer to use.
SEAT Alhambra passenger space
Being a big MPV, the Alhambra has enough space inside for seven people – and fully grown adults will be comfortable enough in the third-row seats. It’s easy to get to them as well, thanks to clever middle row seats that tumble forward with a pull of a single lever. You can order the car with optional electric sliding rear doors which are not only practical in tight parking spaces but mean younger kids can close them easily – and teenagers won’t be able to slam them!
SEAT Alhambra boot space
As you might expect, the Alhambra offers a huge amount of luggage room. Even with all seven seats up there is 267 litres – almost as much as you get in an Ibiza. After a simple pull of a lever all the seats fall flat on the floor and you’re left with a huge 2,297-litre space, which is just as much as in the Sharan and a little less than the Ford Galaxy.
If you’re looking for an out-and-out fun car to drive, then the SEAT Alhambra isn’t the car for you. However, it still drives well without much body roll when you’re going around corners, so the kids shouldn’t feel car sick. Testers were impressed with how stable the Alhambra feels around corners, and even say it’s better to drive than the Galaxy – it feels like a smaller car than it actually is.
The ride is comfortable, and you can order the Alhambra with adaptive suspension with three selectable modes: sport, normal and comfort. Responsive engines mean that you won’t be working too hard to make the vehicle move, either.
Two petrol engines join the previously all-diesel line-up and they are SEAT’s most modern units. The diesels have not been left out of the facelift and have received more power and are more economical on fuel than before. A manual gearbox is standard, and you can also opt for a DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission.
SEAT Alhambra petrol engines
The 1.4-litre petrol engine produces 150hp and the 2.0-litre, which also powers the Golf GTI, comes with 220hp and is more an adequate to move the car quickly even with seven people on board.
SEAT Alhambra diesel engines
SEAT offers three versions of the same 2.0-litre diesel engines for the Alhambra, which means there’s no lack of efficiency or torque on offer.
The least-powerful version makes 115hp and returns 56mpg; the most powerful version makes 185hp and is claimed to achieve 47 mpg. The one in the middle comes with 150hp and would be our pick of the range because it has the perfect blend of pulling power and fuel economy of 55mpg. Nonetheless, a Citroen Picasso can get 67.3mpg.
1.4 litres may sound tiny for a big 7 seat MPV but the one in the entry level Alhambra is turbocharged and supercharged to deliver decent punch.
It’s the cheapest engine in the range but all the experts will tell you that you are better off spending extra on the 138bhp 2.0L TDI diesel, especially if most of your journeys involve slugging up and down the motorway and you intend to travel a lot of miles. Mind you, if you want to save some cash and you don’t intend to drive that far with it the 1.4 TSI is affordable and economical.
The cheapest diesel available is the lower powered 2.0L TDI with 114hp. Named the Ecomotive, the cheapest diesel promises the best economy in the range with a claimed figure of up to 50.4mpg and Co2 emissions of 146g/km and it comes with stop-start technology.
At times though, experts say this particular Alhambra can feel underpowered and the pricing is not that much of a bargain compared to the higher powered diesels, which they favour the most, since the economy figures aren’t that much better than them.
According to the experts the best engine for the Alhambra is the 2.0L TDI diesel which produces 138bhp yet has pretty much the same economy figures as the lower powered Ecomotive diesel and also comes with stop-start technology.
This engine is available in the mid range SE and SE Lux models and is also available with an automatic gearbox. Choosing this engine will add to the price but it means depreciation will be in your favour compared to the small petrol engine. SE comes with more kit as standard including picnic tables and cruise control. Electric sliding doors are also available as an option on the SE and standard on the most expensive model.
The most expensive and powerful engine available in the Alhambra is the 2.0 TDI. With 168bhp it has effortless pull compared to the lower powered 140 TDI.
Just like the 140, the 170 is available on the SE and SE Lux models and also has the option of Volkswagen’s DSG automatic gearbox but it has been said with this engine, the DSG can hesitate a little when you want full acceleration.
The claimed MPG figure is the lowest of the diesels with a claimed figure of 47.9mpg that said some testers found it tricky reaching that figure when driving the big SEAT.
Five stars from Euro NCAP‘s crash test means the SEAT Alhambra is very safe. It scored very well in the adult and child protection tests, thanks to the structural rigidity and the presence of seven airbags.
You also get stability control, ABS, a tyre-pressure monitor, and a hill-hold feature as standard. Isofix child-seat mounting points are available for child seats, and the curtain airbags extend to all three rows.
And since it’s a long vehicle, SEAT has also fitted front and rear parking sensors, making it easier to park.
Essentially what you’re getting is the extremely similar Volkswagen Sharan for a much more reasonable price. The only major differences are the badges on the front and back. That said, it’s still expensive compared to other rivals such as the Ford Galaxy.
The engines are efficient, and that keeps the running costs low.
SEAT Alhambra SE
Mid-range SE spec gets you everything you’ll need for a family car including half-leather seats, cruise control, handy electrically operated mirrors with a light on the underside that illuminates puddles, and sun blinds that are integrated into the rear doors. We also like the four-zone climate control that means each quarter of the car has its own separate heater controls. Chrome window trims and roof rails, plus 17-inch alloy wheels and tinted rear windows mean it even looks smart. Sat-nav is a £955 option, but comes with Apple Car Play, a rear-view camera and DAB radio.
SEAT Alhambra Style Advanced
The 2015 facelift added a new trim level called the Alhambra Style Advanced, which is focused on providing as many creature comforts as possible. It gets electric sliding doors, a full-length panoramic roof, satellite navigation with reversing camera and front sports seats with suede-like Alcantara leather upholstery.
SEAT Alhambra 20th Anniversary edition
The Alhambra 20th Anniversary Edition celebrates two decades of this SEAT MPV. It includes 17-inch alloy wheels in a high gloss finish, a panoramic glass roof, xenon headlights and tinted rear and side windows as standard. The interior is trimmed in a combination of cloth and Alcantara and the front seats come with massage functions. A selection of safety features including blind spot detection, sign recognition and lane departure warning are all fitted at no extra cost.
SEAT Alhambra FR-Line
The Alhambra FR-Line gets the sporty looks of the marque’s hot(ish) FR models, but without the worry of running a powerful engine. Inside it gets tasteful interior trim pieces in red that lift up the otherwise all-black cabin, sports seats upholstered in Alcantara suede and unique 18-inch alloy wheels. Sat-nav is standard and so is a reversing camera – handy in a car as large as the Alhambra.
The SEAT Alhambra is an award-winning seven-seater and gives you Volkswagen quality for a much better price. The kids will love it too!
It might be slightly more expensive than rivals, but you do get a decent handling, comfortable, and fuel-efficient MPV. It shouldn’t be hard to live with either – in fact you could probably live in one quite comfortably for a few weeks at least…