The Seat Alhambra is one of them and I, for one, cannot understand why this truly excellent beast of burden is not a car which more families turn to for their daily needs. It is value for money (€38,995 — €49,562 as tested) as spacious as a marquee, drives really well and stuffed full of kit. What’s not to like?
Ok, so Seat might not be the most salubrious name out there and the Spanish manufacturer may suffer from that old demon it has faced for years — badge snobbery — but you have to remember that it is part of the VW Group and while that name might have been tarnished recently by the company’s horrendous duplicity, the simple fact is that having access to its parts bin is a boon indeed to subsidiary companies. Just ask Skoda.
Seat might not have always been as clever as Skoda in utilising access to what’s available in that parts bin, but it is certainly getting more clever with time and this latest version of the Alhambra is evidence of just that.
As a genuine seven-seater, with two full-sized seats in the third row and with bags of clever kit such as the automatic sliding rear doors and the smart seating arrangements which have the ability to be configured in any number of ways, this truly is a workable, useable and very family-friendly car. Worth noting too is the fact that even when all seven seats are deployed, there is still enough boot space for buggies and the other necessities of family life.
The engine fitted to the test car was the 150 bhp two litre turbodiesel which is available across so many cars in the VW Group manifest and there is thus nothing new to report about it other than that it provides decent — if not earth-shattering — performance and economy and won’t cost a whole pile to run on a daily basis.
It is not the most exciting car to drive, but that’s not the point really, is it, but it does provide excellent comfort levels for the passengers, a nice elevated driving position for the driver and a shed-load a kit which will not only keep the passengers happy, but make life easier for the driver too.
The six-speed DSG automatic gearbox which was fitted to the test car does add considerably to the price of this car and it is an option, I feel, only a few will take up on, but it does make life easier around town and on the open road.
And, keeping the latter in mind, stuff like the cruise control also takes a lot of the burden out of long distance driving.
It must be said that the Alhambra is no longer the out and out bargain it once used to be, but you do get a lot of car for the dosh here and you also get a lot of peace of mind that it will, over long or short distances, provide your family with the sort of versatility and refinement that, in other cars, comes at a greater cost.
Sure, it is not the most exciting thing to look at and its performance levels are not going to peel your eyelids back, but it is rock solid to live with and is decent to drive.