Used car tests

Used SEAT Alhambra (Mk2, 2010-2020) review

The seven-seat SEAT Alhambra offers strong value, sliding doors and lots of space

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

  • Spacious interior
  • Versatile seating
  • Sliding rear doors
  • Bland looks
  • Firm ride
  • Limited engines

Verdict

Although new-car buyers have generally fallen out of love with MPVs in recent years as they switch to crossovers, models such as the Alhambra show that there’s still plenty to love about these hugely practical vehicles. Despite its size, the SEAT is still good to drive, and you needn’t forgo performance or economy, either – to a point.

You also don’t need to spend a fortune to buy a well equipped example, as even the entry-level cars come with plenty of standard kit. So far, reliability is also proving to be pretty good, which helps to cut running costs even further. So before you buy that crossover for transporting the family, give an MPV – and specifically the Alhambra – some thought.

Which one should I buy?

  • Best SEAT Alhambra for low cost: 2.0 TDI 140 S
  • Best SEAT Alhambra for fuel economy: 2.0 TDI 150 Ecomotive SE
  • Best SEAT Alhambra for equipment: 2.0 TDI 184 Xcellence

All Alhambra diesels come with a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF), so if you don’t cover that many miles, you might be better off with a 1.4 TSI. The DSG transmission isn’t as reliable as the manual alternative, but both gearboxes are great to use.

There are three key trim levels: S, SE and SE Lux. Entry-level cars come with 16-inch alloy wheels, three-zone climate control, electronically adjustable and heated door mirrors and all-round parking sensors. Plus, Bluetooth, an eight-speaker hi-fi, a multifunction steering wheel, tyre pressure monitoring and ESP are also standard.

SE adds automatic lights and wipers, cruise control and 17-inch alloys, while SE Lux models feature an electric tailgate and sliding side doors, a panoramic roof, leather trim, heated front seats and nav. The Xcellence trim was essentially a later version of the SE Lux and is worth seeking out on the used car market.

We’d recommend an Alhambra built after the 2015 facelift. New front and rear lights, a reshaped grille and new alloy wheel designs were the cosmetic upgrades, but SEAT also introduced new, more efficient engines, and added new kit.

What are the alternatives?

The obvious rival is the Ford Galaxy. As the UK’s best-selling MPV, there are lots on the market, plus it’s great value and practical.

One of the most capable seven-seater MPVs around is the Kia Sedona, which is reliable, very spacious and very affordable. It’s not as good to drive as the Ford, though, and it’s not as versatile, either. The Chrysler Grand Voyager offers stowaway seats, acres of space and practicality galore, but the cabin feels cheap in places and the dynamics aren’t that impressive.

Meanwhile, the Volkswagen Sharan is a rebadged Alhambra that costs a bit more, while if you want to trade a bit of practicality for better dynamics, why not give the surprisingly sporty Ford S-MAX a try?

Ford Galaxy vs Citroen Grand C4 Picasso & SEAT Alhambra

Ford Galaxy vs Citroen Grand C4 Picasso vs SEAT Alhambra

The SEAT Alhambra was left trailing behind the then-new Ford Galaxy and Citroen Grand C4 Picasso in this 2015 test of seven-seaters. The Citroen remained our favourite seven-seat MPV, feeling more upmarket than the Ford and even better to drive. This left the SEAT to take third place. Read the full test...

Ford S-MAX and SEAT Alhambra

SEAT Alhambra vs Ford S-Max

Ford offers not one, but two seven-seat MPVs. The S-Max is designed to appeal to mums and dads who still want to enjoy the driving experience, even with six passengers in tow. This wasn’t enough for the S-Max to win this test, with our testers preferring the SEAT’s space to the Ford’s pace. Read the full test...

Toyota Prius+ vs SEAT Alhambra

Toyota Prius+ vs SEAT Alhambra

Still basking in the glow of being named our MPV of the year, the SEAT Alhambra came face-to-face with a new electrified challenger. While the SEAT didn’t offer the Toyota’s silent EV running in town, we still averaged 38.2mpg in the Alhambra, which made it the more fuel efficient in the real world. Read the full test...

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