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SEAT Alhambra (2010–)

Last updated 5 October 2017

What's good

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.

5-Star Euro NCAP rating: 96% Adult Protection; 80% Child Protection; 46% Pedestrian Protection; 71% Safety Assist. (96% is an excellent score in the most important category.)

27-3-2017: Positive report of a 2014/64 VW Sharan 2.0TDi Sharan DSG (same as Alhambra) doing 1,650 miles between active regens, and that regen was triggered by a series of short 3 mile trips. Owners third of the model so he spots regens easily. Does a few long journeys 6 or 7 times a year and most journeys are 10 to 15 miles each way with a 40 minute stop in the middle. Doesn't drive hard keeping to the speed limit which is mainly 50 mph, with a little 70 mph, so running at low revs. Uses Shell premium fuel. AdBlue usage is low, around 10L used in 16,000 miles. Told by dealer if driven harder usage will go up. DSG tends to keep revs down and start stop eliminates a lot of idling. VW document says it will passively regen at speeds above 38 mph. VEHICLE HAS NOT HAD NOX EMISSIONS FIX.

What to watch out for

Potential problems with 1.4 TSI petrol engine.

RHD Alhambra leaves a triangular smear patch on the windscreen where the LH and RH wipers don't meet.

16-7-2012: Diesel DPFs require Adblue and some dealers charge an unreasonable amount for this. Can be obtained from around 25% of fuel service stations much more cheaply. (Normally £16 for 10 litres.)

8-9-2012: Engine of 33k mile 2010 (less than 3 years old) Sharan 2.0 TDI (same as Alhambra) became noisy. Swarf found in engine oil. Engine replaced under warranty.

28-12-2013: Complaint that Alhambra 2.0 TDI 140 ran out of Adblue on a long journey and that instructions for replenishing it were far from clear.

22-10-2014: Dual Mass Flywheel of 2010/60 reg SEAT Alhambra 2.0 TDI failed at 35k miles. SEAT dealer blamed Tunit ECU reprogramming for having increased the torque that the DMF had to absorb.

8-10-2016: Complaint of water ingress to December 2012 SEAT Alhambra fitted with a sunroof. Turned out that the sunroof drain pipes has become blocked with debris from a tree that the car had been parked under. Warning here is that if you regularly park an Alhambra with a sunroof under a tree you need to regularly get the sunroof drain pipes cleared with an airline.

21-1-2017: Report from Switzerland of AdBlue heater of 2012 VW Sharan (same as Alhambra) EA189 2.0TDI 140 4motion failing at 47,000 kilometres and costing £700 to replace. VW Switzerland refused to contribute, but gave a £250 voucher for future servicing. Further investigation revealed that this has been a big problem in the USA. According to 'The Truth About Cars': "Owners of some Volkswagen TDI models are experiencing premature selective catalyst reduction (SCR) failures because of AdBlue heaters that, in some cases, aren’t lasting more than 50,000 miles. According to a source who spoke to TTAC under the condition of anonymity, many Volkswagen TDI owners are arriving at dealerships after seeing check engine lights for failing AdBlue (diesel emissions fluid) heaters. Those heaters, explained the source, fail “based more on time than mileage” and cost over $1,000 to replace. The cost of the parts and labor is a slap to the face for many TDI owners, as SCR systems in those cars are not scrubbing the required amount of NOx from diesel exhaust even when the AdBlue heaters are operating properly. The AdBlue heater in question is covered under warranty for up to 36,000 miles or 3 years, whichever comes first. However, many of the failures are happening just outside of that warranty window, at around 50,000 miles or 4 years of ownership. With the increased focus on Volkswagen’s diesel emissions, many have taken to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s complaints website to explain their issues and voice their displeasure with how Volkswagen is handling the issue."

27-1-2017: Report of problems with AdBlue sustem of migh mileage (127,000 mile) 2014 SEAT Alhambra. Adblue warning light coming on regularly. Each time a warning said fill before 600 miles owner filled it. Even though it was completely full he got an orange warning light which he believed is the one before the red when the car will not start. So he took my car to a SEAT franchise where they initially said he needed a new pump system.With labour that was going to cost £2,500. However they carried out more diagnostic tests and sent the details to SEAT technical department. As a result they told owner it was his fault (despite warning light) because he filled the system too regularly and the Adblue has crystallised meaning that the car needs to have a new NOx sensor fitted at a total cost of £1,350. This work has now been carried out. At no time would SEAT's customer care department allow him to speak with anyone in its technical department. The SEAT dealer did not seem to know anything about the AdBlue system.

13-3-2017: Report of SEAT Alhambra 2.0TDI running low on AdBlue in mide January, giving message "you won't be able to start your car in XXX miles". SEAT dealer said he they couldn't give car back to me without applying the NOx emissions fix (23S1) so he did that and put in the first of 6 complimentary Adblue top-ups. However, less than 2 months later, and with less than 1,000 more miles driven, the dashboard started again to show that car was was running low on Adblue, and that driver qwould be unable to restart it within 1500 miles of it being topped up with Adblue. That makes the post NOx emissions fix Adblue consumption rate 1 litre per 100 miles. AdBlue normally retails at £1.60 per litre in a 10-litre container at £16. (It later turned out that the AdBlue level sensor had failed, apparently a common problem on Alhambras and Sharans, so the consumption rate was really nothing like 1 litre per 100 miles.)

5-10-2017: Report of 1.4TSI 150 Twincharger engine in 2011 SEAT Alhambra "tearing itself to pieces" at 64,000 miles. Purchased at 62,000 miles in 2016, it had done very few miles but was independently serviced prior to the disaster. Local SEAT dealer (that had not previously seen the car), relented slightly and rebuilt the engine for £7,000. No 'goodwill' at all from SEAT.

Recalls

7-5-2012: SEAT Alhambra. Seems to be a TSB over the electrics of the Alhambra's Sharan sister, a fault in which is holding up the production of looms for towbars.

 

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