SEAT Al­ham­bra com­bines prac­ti­cal­ity with im­pres­sive dy­nam­ics and smart styling

Staines Informer - - MOTORS -

PEO­PLE car­ri­ers come in all shapes and sizes these days, writes Max­ine Ash­ford.

Some look big, bulky and lack any flair or imag­i­na­tion while oth­ers, such as the SEAT Al­ham­bra, com­bine prac­ti­cal­ity and ver­sa­til­ity with im­pres­sive driv­ing dy­nam­ics and smart styling traits.

The full-sized seven-seater, which is a sis­ter to the Volkswagen Sha­ran, is named af­ter an his­tor­i­cal mon­u­ment in Granada, Spain, and is avail­able with a choice of en­gines and five welle­quipped trim lev­els – S, SE, Con­nect, SE Lux and FR Line.

The car I tried was pow­ered by a 2.0-litre 184ps diesel en­gine mated to a six-speed DSG au­to­matic transmission and was in the near range-top­ping SE Lux trim priced at £34,840 (£39,105 with op­tions fit­ted).

Large MPVs have a very pre­cise tar­get au­di­ence and the Al­ham­bra does all the prac­ti­cal things very well.

The slid­ing rear doors re­sult in easy ac­cess to child seats, for ex­am­ple, and the seat­ing con­fig­u­ra­tions are very sim­ple to change with the op­tion of fold­ing rows two and three flat to in­crease stor­age ca­pac­i­ties, which range from 267 to 2,297 litres.

The third row is re­ally only suit­able for chil­dren but the sec­ond row is just per­fect for adults of all shapes and sizes, with bun­dles of leg and head­room on of­fer. This sec­ond row con­sists of three in­di­vid­ual seats that can slide back­wards and for­wards and even re­cline if re­quired.

The Al­ham­bra is in its sec­ond gen­er­a­tion but re­cently un­der­went quite a ma­jor re­vamp for 2016.

It has a fresh look with a new front grille, mod­i­fied LED light­ing, a glossy B-pil­lar and new wheel de­signs. The in­te­rior has also been given a makeover, with smart up­hol­stery, new in­stru­ment clus­ters and a re­vised steer­ing wheel.

This up­mar­ket model fea­tured the likes of 18-inch al­loys, a panoramic sun­roof, bi-xenon head­lights, park as­sist, roof rails, a fold­ing tow-bar with elec­tronic re­lease, elec­tric seats with me­mory set­tings and even a mas­sage func­tion for the driver.

All the on-board tech­nol­ogy is very modern, as is the car’s gen­eral lay­out and there are techno treats ga­lore to be ex­plored, in­clud­ing an ex­cel­lent in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem with colour touch­screen, Blue­tooth con­nec­tiv­ity, an eight-speaker sound sys­tem and Full Link (a £150 op­tion) that in­cludes com­pat­i­bil­ity with Mir­ror Link, Ap­ple CarPlay and An­droid Auto.

When it comes to per­for­mance, the Al­ham­bra also im­presses. De­spite its larger-than-life size the car can reach from 0 to 62mph in 8.9 sec­onds and tops out at 135mph.

More im­pres­sively, it can de­liver com­bined fuel econ­omy of 53.3mpg with car­bon emis­sions of 139g/km along the way.

In and around town, the car is de­cep­tively ag­ile and easy to ma­noeu­vre and all the park­ing aids are a great help too.

The up­right driv­ing po­si­tion re­sults in good all-round vis­i­bil­ity, which is vi­tal on a car that will fre­quently be used to trans­port chil­dren. In ad­di­tion, com­fort lev­els are high for all oc­cu­pants.

On faster roads and mo­tor­ways, the ac­cel­er­a­tion through the au­to­matic gear­box was re­spon­sive and smooth with am­ple power on tap at all times.

The op­tion of steer­ing wheel-mounted pad­dles is a nice touch and al­lows the driver to take a lit­tle more con­trol if so de­sired.

Ad­mit­tedly, there is a fair amount of en­gine and wind sur­face noise when the car is pushed hard but in all hon­esty, that is the norm for a ve­hi­cle of the Al­ham­bra’s de­sign and di­men­sions, and is a small price to pay for all the ver­sa­til­ity it of­fers.

The car also comes with a com­pre­hen­sive range of safety spec­i­fi­ca­tions and this par­tic­u­lar one had a mul­ti­func­tion cam­era sys­tem (£760 ex­tra) which added the likes of lane as­sist, au­to­matic head­lights and road sign recog­ni­tion.

All in all, the SEAT Al­ham­bra is a great all-rounder for any­one look­ing for a large fam­ily ve­hi­cle that is very prac­ti­cal but doesn’t want to com­pro­mise when it comes to looks, per­for­mance, econ­omy, tech­nol­ogy or street cred.

The award-win­ning SEAT Al­ham­bra is avail­able to see and est drive at SMC Mo­tor Group SEAT at Wych Hill, wok­ing, GU22 0EU (01483 698746) and at Black­wa­ter Way, Alder­shot, GU12 4HD (01252 888498).

Fol­low us on Face­book or Twit­ter at SMC Mo­tor Group.

The SEAT Al­ham­bra is a great all-rounder for any­one look­ing for a large fam­ily ve­hi­cle that is very prac­ti­cal but doesn’t want to com­pro­mise when it comes to looks, per­for­mance, econ­omy, tech­nol­ogy or street cred.

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