Seat Alhambra (2010-present)

With sliding doors and acres of space, the value-for-money Seat Alhambra is ideal for a large family

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths 

Huge space and seven-seat versatility
Comfortable ride and smooth engines
Practical sliding doors

Weaknesses 

Can't hide its minibus-looks
Higher-specification cars are expensive
Loses value fast
Best New Discount

Seat Alhambra Diesel Estate 2.0 tdi xcellence [ez] 184 5dr dsg

Total RRP £37,605

Your quote £30,953

You Save £6,652

Car buyers are increasingly turning their backs on minibus-like people carriers in favour of more rugged sport utility vehicles (SUVs). But if you’re looking for the most space for your money, then you’ll need to buck the trend.

You might not get a great deal of style with the Seat Alhambra, but the seven-seat people carrier is one of the biggest cars available, that isn’t a converted van.

It’s considerably cheaper than most seven-seat SUVs, more spacious than other seven-seat people carriers, such as the Vauxhall Zafira Tourer and Citroen Grand C4 Picasso, and cheaper than similarly-sized rivals such as the Volkswagen Sharan and Ford Galaxy.

Prices for the Seat Alhambra start at around £25,500, but typical new car discounts can knock more than £2,000 off. Two-year-old cars start from less than £18,000.

It has been designed with a few creases in the bodywork but there’s no disguising that the Alhambra is big – very big. You reap the rewards once you’re in through the convenient sliding doors, with plenty of head and legroom. Even a couple of average-sized adults would find the third row of two seats bearable. There are three sets of Isofix child seat mounting points in the middle row, but many child seats will be too chunky to fit three-abreast.

All seven seats are full-size, and there’s plenty of flexibility to rearrange the car, based on the luggage and passengers that you are carrying. The front two rows slide forwards and backwards, so you can adjust the amount of legroom on each row.

With all seven seats in place, there’s just 267 litres of luggage space in the boot (you get more in a Ford Fiesta), but the five seats in the back two rows fold flat into the floor, which boost the area to 2,297 litres.

Triple-zone climate control divides the car into three zones, which have individual temperature controls but the fan is a little loud. You’ve got the option of motorised side doors and a bootlid, which means that you’ll never have to heave the doors shut, at a cost of just over £1,000 (or standard on the top-spec Xcellence).

Storage-wise, you’re better off with mid-range SE trim and upwards. This brings more covered storage compartments, supplementing the S trim’s cupholders and rear storage cubbyholes. SE also brings folding tables on the seatbacks.

So the Alhambra’s practical and versatile but it’s also comfortable and steady to drive with great visibility all-round from the enormous windows. S and SE have comfort suspension that takes the sting out of all but the worst surfaces without wallowing around. Instead, the Alhambra resists leaning too much in corners and remains composed. The only criticism, that takes the shine off its polished performance, is of the the brakes which require a hefty shove.

You’ll also be pressing firmly on the accelerator if you opt for the petrol version of the Alhambra; the diesels have more power to get the Alhambra moving, and make the car easier to drive more smoothly as well

It’s also one of the safest cars of its era, with a five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating. However, this was awarded in 2010. The standard required for the top rating has since been made much tougher.

Interior quality isn’t quite up to the level of the Ford Galaxy, or the Volkswagen Sharan, which uses the same mechanical parts as the Alhambra (Seat is owned by Volkswagen). The materials don’t feel as expensive, even though the car still feels tight, solid and well screwed together.

The dashboard is clear and straightforward, and dominated by the same screen that’s used across Volkswagen cars from the first half of this decade. The parking sensors are useful but a vehicle of this size really benefits from a reversing camera, which is standard with Xcellence trim. Or you could get a car with the optional Park Assist self-parking system and let the Alhambra do it for you.

Search for all new and used Seat Alhambra deals

Last Updated 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017 - 16:15

Key facts 

Warranty: 
Three years / 60,000 miles
Boot size: 
267 litres (7 seats in use) / 658 litres (5 seats)
Width: 
1904mm
Length: 
4854mm
Height: 
1720mm
Tax: 
£150 to £200 in first year, £140 thereafter

Best Seat Alhambra for... 

Seat Alhambra 2.0 TDI 150 Ecomotive S
A reasonable list price and a range-best 56.5mpg economy figure makes this version a shoo-in here. CO2 emissions are the lowest at 130g/km, too, but that still equates to a current company car tax rate of 28%.
Seat Alhambra 2.0 TDI 150 Xcellence
All Alhambras are designed for families but this particular version stands out for its standard power doors and tailgate, which you can operate when your hands are full. Other family friendly touches include a panoramic sunroof, a sat nav and a reversing camera.
Seat Alhambra 2.0 TDI 184 DSG Xcellence
On purely 0-62mph acceleration terms this automatic version wins with a time of 8.9 seconds, a full half-second quicker than the manual version. Either way, both pull strongly through the gears for effortless overtaking while Xcellence trim brings sports suspension for a more agile feel when cornering.
Seat Alhambra 1.4 TSI S
The 1.4-litre petrol engine is ok, but is noticeably down on power compared with the diesels. Basic S trim looks and feels a little workaday.

Seat Alhambra History 

  • November 2010 Current Alhambra launched with ‘Easy-fold’ seat system so seats no longer have to be taken out to create load space. Powered by a choice of one petrol or two diesel engines. Has optional park/steer for autonomous parking.
  • August 2014 I-Tech trim launched. Sits between SE and SE Lux and brings 17in alloy wheels, keyless entry & go, a sat nav and a digital radio.
  • June 2015 The engine range comprises of one petrol and three diesel motors, all of which are Euro 6 compliant (so exempt from some future diesel charges) Automatic Post-Collision Braking and three-zone climate control standard. Also gets the latest dashboard screen and new upholstery. 
  • May 2017 Engines revised to a 1.4 petrol and two, 2.0-litre diesels. Connect, SE Lux and FR Line trims dropped, meaning trim range is now S, SE and Xcellence.

Understanding Seat Alhambra car names 

  • Alhambra
  • Engine
    2.0 TDI 150
  • Gearbox
    DSG-Auto
  • Trim level
    Xcellence
  • Engine
    The first figure refers to the size of the engine in litres and ‘TDI’ to the type of engine it is, in this case a turbocharged diesel (the other engine, the TSI, is a turbocharged petrol). The figure ‘150’ indicates its power output in PS, which is the same as horsepower, or hp.
  • Gearbox
    DSG is what Volkswagen Group calls its range of six and seven-speed automatic gearboxes. They’re available only with the diesel engines. The standard six-speed manual gearbox is available across the range.
  • Trim level
    There are three trim levels, with different levels of standard equipment, comprising entry-level S, mid-spec SE and top-spec Xcellence.

Seat Alhambra Engines 

Petrol: 1.4 TSI 150
Diesel: 2.0 TDI 150 Ecomotive, 2.0 TDI 184

The cheapest engine, the 1.4 TSI 150 petrol, is a turbocharged unit that provides a burst of power without needing to be revved too hard.

However, it doesn’t have enough in reserve to drive in a completely relaxed way. So you’ll need to change gears regularly and occasionally press down hard on the accelerator to keep up with traffic.

As a result, its average fuel economy during testing was around 37mpg, which is 6.5mpg less than its official figure. By the standards of modern cars, that’s a minor discrepancy and it also tallies with the results from the Equa Index, which published real-world fuel economy figures based on tests carried out on the road.

The mid-power 2.0 TDI 150 diesel is the more rounded choice. On paper it’s a little slower than the petrol from 0-62mph but on the road and when overtaking it feels faster because it picks up speed quickly and easily.

It’s responsive around town, quiet on the open road, and will haul a fully loaded Alhambra with ease. Fuel economy is considerably lower than the official figure of around 55mpg: the Equa Index estimates that the real-world average is 40mpg.

The most powerful engine, the 2.0 TDI 184 takes the Alhambra’s brand new price beyond £35,000. It’s the quickest and is barely less economical than the 2.0 TDI 150, but many owners will find the extra power unnecessary in a family car.

Fuel

Fuel economy

Power

Acceleration (0-62mph)

Top speed

1.4 TSI 150

Petrol

43.5mpg

150hp

9.9sec

124mph

2.0 TDI 150

Diesel

54.3 - 56.5mpg

150hp

10.2-10.3sec

124mph

2.0 TDI 184

Diesel

53.3mpg

184hp

8.9 - 9.4sec

134mph

Seat Alhambra Trims 

S, SE, Xcellence

The Alhambra comes in a choice of three equipment levels. S is the most basic and affordable. It strips away most fripperies and concentrates on the essentials, so there’s the standard seven full-size seats, sliding doors and, of course, all that load space but in addition, electric windows and mirrors, a 6.5-inch colour touchscreen, a fully adjustable steering wheel and three-zone climate control. Fortunately, it doesn't look too basic. The wing mirrors and door handles are body coloured, and it has 17in alloy wheels.

We like mid-range SE because it adds welcome extras for a reasonable £2,000 when new, or a much lower premium on the used market. They include larger 17in alloy wheels, exterior chrome strips and dark tinted rear windows that improve the look. On a practical level it has sun blinds in the rear doors, foldable seatback tables, additional storage compartments and a passenger-side wing mirror that dips to aid reversing. It also has cruise control.

Top-of-the range Xcellence raises the new price by £3,500 but rewards you with a powered panoramic sunroof, a sat nav, a reversing camera (handy for tight parking situations), a digital radio and heated leather seats. Perhaps its greatest feature is the powered sliding doors and tailgate which you can operate from the key fob. Downsides? It has sports suspension in place of the standard comfort suspension, which makes the ride a little bumpier.

Seat Alhambra Reliability and warranty 

The Seat Alhambra doesn’t just share parts with the Volkswagen Sharan; both cars are built in the same factory, so their build quality is virtually identical.

From new, it’s offered with a three year warranty that’s limited to 60,000 miles, which is average for the industry.

Used Seat Alhambra 

Used buyers can benefit from the decreasing popularity of people carriers, which has helped to reduce the second-hand value of Seat Alhambras.

You can find year-old Xcellence models for less than £20,000, while the price of 2015 cars is approaching £15,000 - the same as a new family hatchback.

Search all used Seat Alhambra deals

 

List price

BuyaCar new

1 year old

2 years old

3 years old

Best for performance

Price

£35,960

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£30,000

£22,000

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Seat Alhambra 2.0 TDI 184 DSG Xcellence

Save

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16.6%

38.8%

-

Best for families

Price

£33,180

£18,490

£16,268

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Seat Alhambra 2.0 TDI 150 Xcellence

Save

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44.3%

50.1%

-

Best for economy

Price

£27,720

£22,969

-

-

-

Seat Alhambra 2.0 TDI 150 Ecomotive S

Save

17.1%

-

-

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Seat Alhambra Prices

Seat Alhambra S

1.4 tsi s [ez] 150 5dr

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel petrol
  • Economy
  • Gears manual

Starting at: £21,511

You could save up to: £5269

2.0 tdi cr ecomotive s [150] 5dr

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel diesel
  • Economy 56.5mpg
  • Gears manual

Starting at: £22,771

You could save up to: £5579

2.0 tdi cr s [150] 5dr dsg

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel diesel
  • Economy 54.3mpg
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £24,118

You could save up to: £5792

2.0 tdi ecomotive s [ez] 150 5dr

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel diesel
  • Economy
  • Gears manual

Starting at: £23,411

You could save up to: £5579

2.0 tdi s [ez] 150 5dr dsg

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel diesel
  • Economy
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £24,718

You could save up to: £5792

Seat Alhambra SE

1.4 tsi se [ez] 150 5dr

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel petrol
  • Economy
  • Gears manual

Starting at: £23,699

You could save up to: £5626

2.0 tdi cr ecomotive se [150] 5dr

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel diesel
  • Economy 55.4mpg
  • Gears manual

Starting at: £24,694

You could save up to: £5886

2.0 tdi cr se [150] 5dr dsg

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel diesel
  • Economy 54.3mpg
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £25,847

You could save up to: £6073

2.0 tdi ecomotive se [ez] 150 5dr

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel diesel
  • Economy
  • Gears manual

Starting at: £25,294

You could save up to: £5886

2.0 tdi se [ez] 150 5dr dsg

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel diesel
  • Economy
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £26,447

You could save up to: £6073

Seat Alhambra SE L

1.4 tsi se l [ez] 150 5dr

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel petrol
  • Economy
  • Gears manual

Starting at: £26,232

You could save up to: £6113

2.0 tdi cr ecomotive se l [150] 5dr

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel diesel
  • Economy 55.4mpg
  • Gears manual

Starting at: £27,292

You could save up to: £6308

2.0 tdi cr se l [150] 5dr dsg

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel diesel
  • Economy 54.3mpg
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £28,444

You could save up to: £6496

2.0 tdi ecomotive se l [ez] 150 5dr

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel diesel
  • Economy
  • Gears manual

Starting at: £27,832

You could save up to: £6368

2.0 tdi se l [ez] 150 5dr dsg

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel diesel
  • Economy
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £28,984

You could save up to: £6556

Seat Alhambra Style Advanced

2.0 tdi cr ecomotive style advanced [150] 5dr

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel diesel
  • Economy 55.4mpg
  • Gears manual

Starting at: £27,477

You could save up to: £6338

2.0 tdi cr style advanced [150] 5dr dsg

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel diesel
  • Economy 54.3mpg
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £28,620

You could save up to: £6525

Seat Alhambra Xcellence

2.0 tdi cr ecomotive xcellence [150] 5dr

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel diesel
  • Economy 55.4mpg
  • Gears manual

Starting at: £27,937

You could save up to: £6413

2.0 tdi cr xcellence [150] 5dr dsg

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel diesel
  • Economy 54.3mpg
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £29,080

You could save up to: £6600

2.0 tdi ecomotive xcellence [ez] 150 5dr

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel diesel
  • Economy
  • Gears manual

Starting at: £28,537

You could save up to: £6258

2.0 tdi xcellence [ez] 150 5dr dsg

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel diesel
  • Economy
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £29,680

You could save up to: £6445

2.0 tdi xcellence [ez] 184 5dr dsg

  • Doors 5
  • Fuel diesel
  • Economy
  • Gears automatic

Starting at: £30,953

You could save up to: £6652