Buying a Used SEAT Alhambra
Motoring journalist John Swift, takes a look at SEAT's large MPV the Alhambra and sees just what good value for money the car is.
SEAT’S Alhambra is a full-sized seven seater MPV with obvious close links to its sister car from Volkswagen, the Sharan, but also the Ford Galaxy which was co-developed in a joint programme by the manufacturers.
Family Friendly Car
It was on sale from 1996, but replaced with the second generation version in 2010, (which is the car we’re looking at here), it was facelifted again in 2015, the big SEAT offers tremendous practicality.
You only buy a big MPV for its space, there is no other point, and the later Alhambras definitely tick this particular box. Its rear seats fold completely flat for a more usable load space, saving you having to remove them.
To give you just one example of the designed-in practicality, you’ll notice that the rear doors slide open rather than being hinged. Try it once when you’ve squeezed into a tight parking space and you’ll quickly see the benefit!
Being part of the VW empire where kit tends to be generous for the money, the SEAT has probably all the comfort and safety features you would look for, fitted as standard. Among the ones you’ll appreciate the most will be the parking sensors at both ends; this is a long car and it’s not always easy to gauge where the rear is when you’re reversing.
Newer cars (2016 on) get a bigger and more sophisticated touch screen for the infotainment features to add to the Bluetooth. All cars have plenty of cup holders and storage pockets for all three rows of seats, a must for family outings.
Start Your Car Engines
On the engine front, a car from 2010 will have either a1.4 petrol which has 150 PS, but always seems to struggle a little when pulling the car with a full complement of passengers; diesel may be falling out of favour, and users will face slightly higher road tax bills, but the 2.0 TDI in either 140 or 170 PS output suits the Alhambra much better.
You can get them with either a six-speed manual or DSG semi-auto gearbox, but the former is more robust and sweet to use. The 140 PS diesel has an official average consumption of about 50 mpg which is an excellent figure for a big car. It would certainly be our preferred choice and if you look at the market you’ll soon see these are by far the most common.
If your budget runs to a car made from 2016, they have Euro 6 compliant diesels which are markedly more efficient than earlier ones. However, they need the AdBlue additive you have to pour into the fuel tank every so often to achieve this and not every owner wants to be bothered with it.
There have also, and in common with many other makes and models, been reports of the DPF (diesel particulate filter) packing up and replacements cost several hundred pounds. DPFs need to get properly hot to work and so while it may look tempting, a low mileage car which has only been used on short urban trips may be storing up trouble for you. Something to bear in mind….
With the proviso that you may need to watch out for some versions, which have run flat tyres, and thus not the smoothest of rides, the Alhambra drives well. It is refined and the cabin is insulated from engine, wind or road noise; it’s a pleasant environment in which to watch the miles pass by.
Turning to prices, and looking only at post-2010 cars, you should find that you can still get the newer look models up to £10,000 and with mileages from approximately around the 75,000 mile mark. At the upper end of this price band you really should expect to find an example with a good, or full, service history. Between £10,000 and £15,000 you can get nice spec and ought to come across cars from mid-30,000 miles.
One thing to consider though, with a new registration just out, it’s a great time to pick up a demo car bargain, we came across an almost new 2.0 TDi S with just 500 miles under its wheels. It’s on the market at £21,500. SEAT’s official list price puts that car at £29,250.
Nearly eight grand less…