2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 15:44
The Seat Alhambra has a hard time asserting itself against the VW Sharan. The identical van from Spain also has advantages over the group brother from Wolfsburg.
By Jürgen Wolff
When it comes to cars, there are many things that are difficult to explain. At least not logical. For example: Why is the VW Sharan sold much more often in this country than its Spanish brother Seat Alhambra?
It can hardly be explained logically. The powerful engine is the same, the space available in the southern European van is no less abundant, and operation and clarity are at least as good. Only: The Spaniard is a few thousand euros cheaper. So there are only soft reasons: Image and - maybe - optics. And for cool computers, a higher loss of value, which at least eats up the price advantage.
What remains is an underrated Papa-Mobil. Especially when it comes in the sports version and with the powerful 150 hp diesel. The Alhambra measures more than 4.6 meters in length from the front to the rear bumper. This leaves plenty of space for a lot of family, bowling clubs or excursion companies. Up to seven passengers fit in the Alhambra - even if the rear passengers are no longer really comfortable. But with five seats, the Seat is the ideal carriage for trips in the country lasting several days.
There is plenty of space for luggage: Somewhere between 256 liters (fully seated) and a mighty 2610 liters, the right amount will be found for everyone. If you want, you can shop at Ikea without hesitation with a load space stretching over two meters. All the luggage can be easily loaded: the tailgate swings up and the opening is even enough for bulky goods.
As is typical for a van, access to the front and rear is comfortable and easy - thanks to the high seats and low sills without any major dislocations. The height-adjustable driver's seat is comfortably tightly padded and offers good lateral support - the armrests are practical, but are a bit annoying for people with slightly wider hip bones because they get in the way when the seat belts are fastened. Even taller passengers have no problems at the front or rear, the seats can be pushed back far enough without creating a tight space in the rear. It goes without saying that Isofix anchoring points are standard.
The Alhambra is easy and functional to operate. All important switches are easily accessible and logically arranged, speedometer and Co. are easy to see. The massive dashboard does not look overloaded. Noticeable: There was no warning signal in our test car if the seat belts were not yet closed when starting off.
No sliding doors
The manufacturing quality is excellent. Everything fits, in our test car there was no rattling or creaking even after jolting slopes. The materials look valuable, the colors - subtly reserved - go well with one another. Numerous shelves keep things tidy - even when the van is full. Any wishes in the area? Yes: sliding doors at the rear would be more practical.
The high-torque top TDI is good for extremely pleasant driving performance. The 110 kW / 150 PS, together with the torque of 310 Nm, also give the heavy van a confident acceleration of 11.9 seconds from standstill to 100 km / h and a top speed of 199 km / h. Always enough to be able to deal with the traffic in a quick and relaxed manner. You can never fail to hear that it is a diesel that is rumbling - but also never acoustically disruptive. The engine runs smoothly and with little vibration. Seat indicates the consumption with 6.9 liters of diesel per 100 kilometers. In our test, we came to a good 8.5 liters.
Sportily tuned chassis
The standard six-speed gearbox goes well with this engine. It can be shifted easily and precisely and the characteristics of the individual gears are well matched to the temperament of the engine - the drive wheels only had problems with traction when the road surface was wet or the road was too rough. The sixth gear works as a purely gentle gear and helps save fuel above all on long motorway stretches.
The sports chassis contributes significantly to the comfort of the large-capacity sedan: sporty, tightly tuned, but so comfortable and balanced that the 1.7-ton Alhambra can easily handle unevenness in the road, including transverse grooves. The Alhambra tends to understeer slightly in curves, but always gives a safe driving experience. Otherwise the Alhambra offers a neutral driving behavior. The steering is precise and sensitive - but above all set so that the not-so-small Spaniard can be maneuvered comfortably and surprisingly maneuverable through city traffic. No, the Alhambra is not a bit worse than its brother from Wolfsburg - with a base price of 28,390 euros, it is not cheap either, but it is significantly cheaper. If that's not an argument.