The curtain rises on a new Alhambra
THIS latest Alhambra, “new from the wheels up”, stands 22 centimetres longer and nine wider than the previous version, but weighs less. Height is reduced but headroom is greater, say SEAT, because the seats are set lower.
The pair of rear doors now slide to make entry and exit easier and safer for the up to five passengers in the two rows of seats aft.
All of these seats can fold down neatly and fairly easily, with a tug here and a push there, into a flat, extended luggage deck with a massive cargo hold, only 67 centimetres above ground level for easy loading.
So they stay on board – a great advance on the old Alhambra, whose rear seats had to be lifted out to make way for large loads.
On most versions, the front passenger seat also folds down, allowing long loads of up to nearly three metres to be carried.
The towing bracket, as an option, can be pivoted and, when not in use, stored away below the rear bumper.
Rear sliding doors and the tall tailgate can be specified with one-touch electrical operation (£780). The tailgate rises to more than six feet, so providing standing shelter.
The already generous standard equipment with the mid-range SE trim on our test car included three-zone climate control, eight-speaker audio, cruise control, automatic headlights and wipers, parking sensors front and rear, tyre-pressure monitor and self-sealing tyres, seven airbags, electric windows and heated, folding mirrors.
We tried the most frugal of the Alhambra’s choice of two diesel and one petrol engines, a 140 PS, six-speed manual turbo diesel credited with more than 50mpg in official testing (our average was a still-impressive 48.4 mpg).
All three units sport “green” technology – stopstart when stationary and regenerative braking on the move – and are badged by SEAT as Ecomotive. This one, producing a lowly 146 g/km in carbon emissions, is further dubbed E-Ecomotive.
This begins to sound like an eco-orgy. But it’s a measure of the all-round recent spurt in engine technology that, after all, this big sevenseater still enjoys acceptable performance for the everyday motorist.
The Alhambra, in a four- strong range (from £20,370), is manufactured in Portugal alongside its VW Group sibling, the new Sharan (offered in a 17-strong range from £22,980).
The SEAT looks good value.
SEVEN-SEATER: The latest Alhanbra from SEAT.