Here at rev.ie we test a vast variety of vehicles throughout the year, from city cars through 4×4’s to Supercars. Where possible we do our best to test the car in a realistic scenario, if it’s a performance hot hatch it’s imperative we take it for a test drive on one of our favourite test routes in the Wicklow mountains and on track where we can put its handling prowess to the test. Conversely, when it comes to MPVs quite often we may not have the opportunity to carry more than a passenger or two and therefore cannot give an accurate report on how a seven-seater may work in reality.
Fortunately on a recent skiing trip to Austria we were more than capable of putting SEAT’s Alhambra seven seat MPV through its paces. Six ski enthusiasts, complete with a ton of luggage and ski apparel were loaded into the Alhambra at Munich airport, destined for the Austrian ski resort of Soll. With seven individual full size seats in the Alhambra all occupants are provided with adequate comfort and space. The rearmost two seats will easily accommodate two adults and offer decent legroom as the middle row of seats can slide forwards and backwards independently offering increased legroom. Folding a seat or seats is effortless, with the simple pull of a lever a vast range of seat configurations can be adapted to suit your requirements. We folded one of the rearmost seats flat to make way for the copious amount of luggage onboard.
As MPV’s go the Alhambra is a smart vehicle, our test car’s elegant looks were aided by chrome roof rails and 17” alloy wheels. Powering our car is a 2.0-litre TDI engine which produces 175hp connected to a six-speed twin-clutch DSG automatic transmission. The automatic transmission works in unison with the efficient powerplant under the bonnet and makes for a relaxing drive on a long journey. The Alhambra is surefooted and handles with proficiency and little body roll, MPV’s are not designed to be hot hatches but it’s fair to say the Alhambra is far from dull on any road. All round visibility from the driver’s seat is excellent, as is comfort. The 175hp variant we drove regrettably isn’t available in Ireland, there are however two models on offer, both equipped with the 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine. There is a 115hp (€38,995) and a 140hp variant (€42,390), our preferred model is the 140hp model as the additional power is beneficial when carrying six passengers and luggage.
SEAT Ireland offers the Alhambra is one comprehensive ‘S’ specification, just some of the standard equipment includes, 16” alloy wheels, ESC with emergency brake assist, Bluetooth connectivity, daytime running lights, front and rear parking sensors, air conditioning and remote-operated tailgate. There were some choice extras fitted to our test car, our favourite is the electrically operated side doors and tailgate, these make opening and closing the doors effortless, especially when carrying goods. The sliding doors are also beneficial when parking in tight spaces, enabling passengers to get in and out of the car without difficulty.
If you require a vehicle to carry up to seven occupants in comfort and safety (the Alhambra has a Five Star Euro NCAP Safety Rating), then the SEAT Alhambra will competently satisfy your requirements. If it can cope with six adults and their ski paraphernalia in sub zero temperatures on snow-laden roads, then it will cruise on the school run or family excursion in rainy Ireland.
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