Seat Alhambra TSI
Saturday 04 December 2010
Top speed 122 mph 0-60mph 10.7 seconds
Consumption 39.2 mpg
CO2 emissions 167g/km
Best for Magnificent seating for seven
Also worth considering? Ford Galaxy, Ford S-Max, Volkswagen Sharan
Volkswagen isn't just VW. It's Volkswagen, Audi, Bentley and more than half a dozen other automotive brands as well. What's the point of bringing them all together under one roof? It's all to do with something called platform-sharing; produce as many outwardly different models as possible that are as similar as possible under the skin, and you can reap enormous economies of scale.
In such a system, it stands to reason that the value brands – in this context that's Skoda and Seat – will give you access to all that shared technology at the best price. But while Skoda quickly found its niche under VW ownership, Seat initially found it harder to develop its own clear identity – perhaps because the Spanish company didn't really have much of a design tradition of its own to draw upon for inspiration, as it had previously produced models licensed from Fiat.
More recently, though, Seat has started to hit its stride. The current Golf-sized Leon and smaller Ibiza are stylish numbers that look good enough to fit right in on the streets of the company's achingly cool home city, Barcelona, and now there is another strong addition to Seat's range, the second-generation Alhambra people carrier. This is a close sister to the new VW Sharan, which means that Seat has had less scope to do its own distinctive thing as far as its looks are concerned, but there are few other causes for complaint.
The Alhambra's best feature is its very roomy seven-person cabin, and in particular the third row of seats, which, unusually, is comfortable and easily accessible for adults, rather than being a mere token affair. Big sliding rear side doors will be a boon for families as well.
There are three engine options; smooth 2.0-litre diesels with a choice of 140 or 170 horsepower, and an interesting 1.4-litre petrol, badged TSI, which uses a turbocharger and a mechanically driven supercharger – a set-up known as "twincharging" – to produce 150 horsepower. Don't worry about whether such a small engine is up to the job; it is.
Overall, the Alhambra is easily good enough to mix it with Ford's S-Max and Galaxy, which have so far been considered the top MPVs in this size bracket; drivers are perhaps slightly better served by the Fords, passengers get a better deal in the Seat. Which leaves just one other question; Sharan or Alhambra? Keener pricing and a richer equipment list just give the Seat the edge.
Life & Style blogs
The mother who never gave up on her child abused by the Oxford child sex ring
Britain scrapes into top 25 countries in the world to be a mother in Save the Children report
How to gain confidence and maximise your sexual potential
What do the emoji on Snapchat mean?
The 12 most sexually satisfied countries in the world revealed
In defence of liberal democracy
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
Andy McSmith's Sketch: Feisty audience is the real star of an enlightening show
- 1 If I were Prime Minister: I'd give tax cuts to the rich, keep Trident, and get my football team wrong
- 2 Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to join show
- 3 General Election 2015: 14-year-old boy asks Nick Clegg – 'can you kill Katie Hopkins?'
- 4 University student in court for allegedly covering housemates' food in window cleaner and spit
- 5 Garland shooting: Isis claims attack on Prophet Mohamed cartoon contest in Texas as its first action on US soil
£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...
£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...
£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...