Take a SEAT in spacious Alhambra

The designers did a good job with the SEAT Alhambra with the seven-seater's streamlined profile help

The designers did a good job with the SEAT Alhambra with the seven-seater's streamlined profile helping to disguise its size, - Credit: SEAT

The SEAT Alhambra people-carrier has all the good bits from the Volkswagen Sharan but is a more affordable proposition as a sensible used buy.

Used Car: SEAT Alhambra (2000-10)

Engines – SEAT's association with Volkswagen has ensured that the Alhambra has been blessed with some of the best diesel engines around. The petrol-engined models are put in the shade by the torquey, powerful and economical oil-burners, which tells you all you need to know about what fuel type to choose from.


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Exterior – Although a functional car, the designers did a good job with the Alhambra. Its streamlined profile helps to disguise its size, although the lack of sliding rear doors does hinder its ability to rival some of its more versatile rivals.

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Interior – The big cabin makes lounging around all too easy. The various seat permutations will be a blessing for families. Just make sure all the bits of trim stay put and the seats can be moved about without too much fuss. When the seats are folded flat the Alhambra is transformed into a posh van with windows.

Driving – The upright driving position might be more reminiscent of a bus, but thankfully the big SEAT doesn't drive like one. Car-like in the way it goes about its business, you feel at ease behind the wheel. Get one with sports suspension and you could be driving the company's Altea hatchback.

Ownership – Less prestigious than Volkswagen's Sharan and doesn't share the same cast-iron residuals, SEAT's Alhambra is a smart buy if you want Volkswagen build quality but don't want to pay full price for it. Opt for a diesel and you'll be laughing all the way to the bank. The car's versatile cabin should mean that a growing family won't grow out of it until the not-so-little darlings have flown the nest.

What to look for – As is the case with all the full size multi-purpose vehicles and people-carriers, make sure the car is in good condition inside and out. Tired and battered trim and upholstery or parking dents and kerbed wheels could signal a hard life and unseen levels of mechanical neglect. Find the cleanest example you can afford and make sure the paperwork's in order, too.

Model history – 2000, SEAT launches new large people-carrier, the Alhambra. Numerous updates over the years visually and mechanically improved the Alhambra, making it a value-added, versatile multi-purpose vehicle. Sensible range of petrol and, more importantly, diesel engines plus generous level of kit ensured it remained competitive for a long time.

Reasons to buy – A more sensible financial purchase than its former Ford Galaxy and Volkswagen Sharan cousins.

Reasons to beware – Badge snobs prefer the Volkswagen Sharan and residuals not always as strong.

Pick of the range – SEAT Alhambra 2.0 TDI PD SE.

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