SEAT Alhambra Style 1.4 TSI Review
Family Member

clifford chow
15 Aug 2019
 

But is that enough to lug their large people mover around? Apparently, the Spanish company thinks so…

Full-sized 7-seater MPVs are the go-to choice if you are planning to haul your extended family around, including kids who are no-longer pint-sized.

Smaller MPVs are able to do the same job, though most adult passengers would jostle for the middle row; and luggage space would usually be barely enough for some grocery shopping.

The SEAT Alhambra offers not only more space, but quite a satisfying drive too. The Spanish MPV which is manufactured in Portugal, and alongside sister car, the Volkswagen Sharan, is quite a familiar shape, since it has been around for a while, recently in 2.0 TDI guise, which we rather liked as well.

Both the Sharan and Alhambra are the largest 7-seater offerings offered by both brands, and interestingly enough, SEAT Singapore has decided to field a 1.4 litre version…

But is that enough to lug their large people mover around? Apparently, the Spanish company thinks so…

Styling has remained generally the same since our last test drive, with just some minor tweaks to the front grille, which carries on it a slightly larger logo.

Inside

While the Alhambra has been in production for a number of years, the dash still looks current enough. Seats in the front are supportive, and feature four-way adjustable headrests.

Large automatic sliding rear doors makes easy work of entry and exit, even for those in the back row. 

Both middle and back row passengers benefit from individual seats instead of benches, which means more comfort on longer journeys. And for those who do not like the idea of stowing a booster seat for their kids (well, actually nobody likes this), the left and right middle row seats convert as simple as a press of a button to release the seat bottom, and a click to secure them into place.

For younger children there is also an available head restraint which fits onto the seat backs. ISOFIX mounting points are also available on the second and third row seats.

Roller window blinds enhance comfort for your little ones...

Thanks to its long 2,919mm wheelbase, there is very little compromise on a full load. Rear passengers sit in comfort, and with sufficient thigh support. Air-conditioning vents extend till the third row seats too, ensuring that everyone is a happy camper. 

The infotainment system, SEAT Full Link brings Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Bluetooth connectivity to mobile devices. The 8 speaker audio system is decent, and for those who believe in old-school CDs, there is also a player integrated into the infotainment unit, which is fronted by a 6.5” display.

With the rear seats deployed, the Alhambra boasts 300 litres of cargo room, sufficient storage, if the entire family is headed on a short trip. Part of this is thanks to a well left behind when the rear seats are up. Versatility is the key word here, with up to 32 seat configurations to suit your needs. Fold both the rear and middle rows down, to attain the Alhambra’s maxed-out 2,297 litre flat loading area, ideal for that IKEA run. A good amount of consideration has also been put into the design of the seats, as they can be operated easily with one hand.

The Drive

It may seem out of place that such a large car runs on a rather tiny turbocharged 1.4 litre. However, the engine turns a respectable 150hp. The Alhambra drives effortlessly, thanks to its 250Nm of twist which is delivered from 1,500 to 3,500rpm. Gear changes are handled by a quick shifting 6-speed DSG (dual-clutch) transmission, driving the front wheels. The Alhambra clocks 100km/h in 9.9 seconds, while returning a claimed respectable combined cycle of 14.9km/l, which I believe that the figures will dip to around 12km/l (heavy footed me, attained 11.5km/l).

For those who are used to driving more responsive cars, there are a few things to get used to, due to its size. Its steering is definitely not as sharp as say a…. Leon Cupra, but there is a good amount of feel transmitted through to your hands; and the suspension is tuned for comfort with some play. Body roll is quite minimal, given its height, which means that passengers will experience less rocking about. Road noise is minimal, and loads of glass means good all-round visibility.

While transporting the entire family can mean great responsibility, there are a number of features which will help provide you with peace-of-mind motoring. The Alhambra is equipped with a Tiredness Recognition system, which will trigger an alert if it detects that you are dozing off. Hill Hold Control, allows you to take off from a slope, without the risk of rolling back. Electronic stability control (ESC), ensures that acceleration is reduced when any sign of slip is detected; and in the event of an accident, the SEAT Alhambra’s Multi-collision Brake System springs into action, to stop the car from sliding. Seven airbags, including knee protection for the driver is also standard.

Our Thoughts

At $154,400*, 1.4 litre variant of the SEAT Alhambra is well equipped, with enough grunt to fulfill family workhorse duties. If you are one of those who would feel that a family car with ample hauling capabilities is one of the must-have pillars right after the house; the SEAT Alhambra delivers very well in performance and practicality.

For those who would prefer PERFORMANCE and practicality, the 2.0 which will set you back $8,000 more, delivers 220hp and 350Nm (100Nm more than the 1.4), and benefits from a wider torque band.

*accurate as at 15 August 2019

In Summary

We Like

Well assembled, Integrated booster seats are an excellent feature, Drives well, Spacious cabin, Good all-round visibility

We Don't

The Alhambra is starting to show its age

Verdict

More engaging than its Japanese rivals, and with a better thought-out cabin

Car Loan Calculator - SEAT Alhambra Style 1.4 TSI

SGD 148,400 (5 Sep 2019)

This car is eligible for minimum 40% down payment

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Engine

Engine Capacity 1395cc
Engine Type Inline 4
Power 150bhp @ 5000rpm
Torque 250Nm @ 1500rpm
Power to Weight 84.8 bhp per ton

Performance

Acceleration 9.9s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 198 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 14.9 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 6 -speed DSG
Drive Type FF
Steering Electric

Measurements

Body Type MPV
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(4854 x 1904 x 1720) mm
Turning Circle 11.8 metres
Kerb Weight 1768 kg
Boot Capacity 300 L
Fuel Tank Capacity 70 L

Brakes

Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs