The new SEAT Alhambra is making its entrance into UK showrooms this week as the Spanish brand’s highly-anticipated successor to its original seven-seat MPV makes its public debut here.
Fresh from the wheels up, the largest car SEAT has yet made at more than 4.8 metres front to back, the Alhambra also becomes the Spaniards’ most luxurious and technologically advanced offering with a raft of new features.
The Alhambra’s roomy new shell sports arguably the most obvious distinction between this and any previous vehicle wearing the ‘Alhambra’ badge – two sliding rear doors which significantly improve practicality.
Inside, seven individual seats can accommodate seven adults in genuine comfort with even third row occupants benefiting from generous knee and headroom. Today’s Alhambra does away with the old-style individually removable seating concept in favour of a new fold-flat system that sees all five second- and third-row seats pivot into the car’s floor at the simple tug of a lever.
Access to those third row seats, in particular, is now a cinch thanks to the debut of the easy entry slide and tilt second row seats.
The Alhambra has up 2,297 litres of space and even in five-seat form (with just the third row folded) there’s as much as 1,167 litres of load bay on offer. Needless to say, storage around the cabin is typically generous, too, as a profusion of cupholders, tray tables, cubbies and pockets easily swallows the detritus that goes along with family outings.
Beneath the bonnet of the front-wheel drive Alhambra lie a variety of modern engine and transmission options. The counterpoint to one of two top notch EU V-compliant 2.0-litre common rail turbodiesels, of 140 PS or 170 PS denomination, is an especially capable 1.4-litre TSI turbocharged direct injection 150 PS petrol powerplant.
Depending on trim level, all three are offered with either a precise six-speed manual or sporty yet flexible six-speed DSG (Direct Shift Gearbox). The result is a seven-seater capable of covering the 0-62 mph sprint in just 9.5 seconds (2.0 TDI CR 170 PS manual) and topping out at 130 mph (2.0 TDI CR 170 PS manual).
At launch, all Alhambras boast some of SEAT’s most important eco-minded Ecomotive technologies including Stop/Start and Brake Energy Recovery. Thus, all Alhambras are badged Ecomotive while the 2.0 TDI CR 140 PS manual grabs the honour of being badged E Ecomotive thanks to its range-best CO2 emissions of just 146 g/km.
In terms of fuel economy there is as much as 50.4 mpg available on the combined cycle (2.0 TDI CR 140 PS manual).
The new MPV is offered in SEAT’s simple trim designations: S, SE and SE Lux. Standard across all Alhambras are 3-zone climate control, parking sensors front and rear, sliding rear doors, electronic handbrake, Bluetooth hands-free phone connection, 16″ alloys, Stop/Start and Brake Energy Recovery.
The SE Lux versions boast power-operated sliding rear doors and tailgate, panoramic glass sunroof with opening front pane and electrically operated sun blind, black leather upholstery, 12-way electrically adjustable font seats, SEAT Media System including satnav with dynamic route guidance and rear view camera.
The forthcoming option of Park Assist (available on vehicles ordered from December 2010 onward) assists the SEAT into (and out of) parking spots by both identifying suitable spaces and then automatically attending to the steering while the driver simply controls the accelerator, clutch and brake.
Available in showrooms nationwide from this week the new SEAT Alhambra prices start from £22,330 RRP.
Welcoming the UK arrival of the brand’s most technically advanced model to date, SEAT UK Product Manager James Buckell said: ‘I’m extremely proud of the new Alhambra as I believe it shows that family-sized seven seaters can be both good to look at and great to drive.
‘The technology that has gone into this new car, from the great range of engines to luxury features such as Park Assist, underline, too, how keen we are to put every ounce of value that we can into our new MPV.’