Sliding side doors as standard. Very spacious with a good quality interior. Frugal and low CO2 TDI engines. Sister car to the new Volkswagen Sharan but better value.
Not thrilling to look at but then few MPVs are.
Bigger, better and more eco-friendly than before, the second generation SEAT Alhambra has been a long time coming. The original version was launched way back in 1996 and was certainly feeling very dated by the end of its life, so this replacement couldn't come soon enough. As before the Alhambra is the sister car to the Volkswagen Sharan, but there's no longer a Ford version as the Galaxy is now an completely seperate design.
This latest version is a big improvement on the original and it needs to be if it's to compete with the current crop of seven-seat MPVs, the stand out model of which is - ironically - the Ford Galaxy. The big change is the introduction of EasyFold seats which mean that all five rear seats can now be easily folded flat onto the floor, unlike before when only the backs folded down (or they had to be removed altogether). Getting to the rearmost seats is also much easier as the outer centre seats cantilever forward to afford access to the back row.
There are plenty of useful features too, including sliding side doors, which open electrically on top models along with the tailgate, Isofix child seat mounting points with top tether anchors on all five rear seats and the option of integrated child seats in the middle row. It's also well equipped as standard with all models getting features such as front and rear parking sensors, alloy wheels, climate control, Bluetooth and an electric parking brake.
On the move the Alhambra is refined and quiet, making it ideal for long distances and it's spectacularly easy to drive with precise controls, neat handling and good all-round visibility. The engine line-up is simple too with one petrol - a small but pokey 1.4 TSI with 150bhp - and a 2.0 TDI available with either 140bhp or 170bhp. Most people will go for the TDI 140bhp and it makes the most sense with plenty of torque and a claimed average of 50.4mpg with the standard six-speed manual gearbox. CO2 emissions are also low at 146g/km while adding the DSG twin clutch automatic transmission still sees them at 149g/km - comfortably under the 150g/km band limit.