Getting in and out of the Alhambra is an easy affair...
We were surprised by how nimble the Alhambra is, especially out of town, some may feel a little intimidated by the width of the MPV but the steering is well weighted and directional.
The ride is compliant and gave us no reason for concern – far from it – it made for a comfortable and relaxing driving experience.
Our test car featured an electric hand brake – which for the majority of the time worked well and would disengage as you pulled off – but sometimes it would not release without manual interaction despite being safe to do so. Auto hold allows you to take your foot off the brake in traffic – automatically holding the car until you pull off using the accelerator. It also has stop-start technology which to be honest we are not that keen on – it feels a little un-nerving with a manual transmission.
Overall the SEAT Alhambra is great to drive even with a manual gearbox, although our choice would be for the DSG automatic option as we feel that it suits this type of vehicle.
What's It Like to Live With
Both the driver and front seat passenger get electrically operated seats (but without memory), so getting into the ideal driving position is easy – and the steering column adjusts for rake and reach.
All round vision is very good (even allowing for the slab sides), our test car was equipped with front and rear parking sensors plus we had park assist which can automatically seek out parallel and perpendicular parking spaces at the touch of a button. Once it finds a suitable space (you have to drive past a suitable space and it will determine if the car will fit ) it will alert you that you will fit and will automatically park for you – subject to operating the accelerator, brakes and forward/reverse gears – the steering is automatic. However, we have never really got on with these systems, which tend to make a meal out of something that usually seems quicker under your own hand. But it is clever and it will also get you out of a parallel space – but it does not replace looking where you are going.
Getting in and out of the Alhambra is an easy affair, even the rear seat occupants are catered for – the middle and rear seats are accessed via two powered rear sliding doors. Getting into the third row seats requires a bit more flexibility but is fairly easy.
The rear side sliding doors are powered and have built in retractable blinds – controllable from the remote control key fob, the dashboard and from two switches in the ‘B’ pillars for the occupants use – they can be locked out – so that passengers cannot open the doors from the inside – pity the rear electric windows cannot be locked out.
Our test car was fitted with the £425 optional integrated rear child seats that occupy the two outer seats of the middle row seats. It allows you to convert at will the seat into a child seat simply by pulling the lever at the front of the seat – it raises the base of seat up and the back to make the child seat – clever and useful.
All rear seats fold flat to the floor, so you turn the Alhambra into a mini-van – with five-seats in place you can carry around 1,167 litres of luggage – fold all the seats down and this increases to 2,297 litres up to the roof line. As with all seven-seater’s – if all the seats are occupied you are going to have to look at a roof top box, if you are all thinking of going on holiday together or pack impossibly light. The middle row seats slide back and forth to some degree and can independently be folded flat as the rear row. There is a load cover which can cover the boot space with 7-seats or 5-seats in place.
The tailgate is powered – so opening and closing it is a breeze, it can also be operated from the key fob and the dashboard. We liked the panoramic sunroof that also electrically slides back, along with the sunblind – it gives a lofty ambiance to the interior.
There are automatic-wipers and headlights with high beam assist which in theory controls full beam so that you do not have to dip your headlights, but to honest you will be a lot quicker than the car in deciding when to come off full-beam. Our test car was equipped with SEAT’s Bi-Xenon Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS) for an extra £905 which is a fair amount for something that probably should now be standard in this price range – although if you do a lot of night driving it may be worth considering this option as it makes a lot of difference.