SEAT Alhambra (2010-2020) Review

Sliding doors and acres of space make the top value Seat Alhambra ideal for large families

Strengths & weaknesses

  • Huge space and seven-seat versatility
  • Comfortable ride and smooth engines
  • Practical sliding doors
  • Can't hide its minibus-style looks
  • Higher-specification cars are expensive
  • Loses value fast
SEAT Alhambra prices from £14,750.
Finance from £313.76 / month.

Car buyers are increasingly turning their backs on minibus-like people carriers in favour of off-road style sport utility vehicles (SUVs). But if you’re looking for the most space for your money, then you’ll need to buck the trend.

You might not get a great deal of style with the Seat Alhambra, but the seven-seat people carrier is one of the biggest cars available, that isn’t a converted van. Without the high ride height of many SUVs, it's also easier to load luggage into the boot and children into the back two rows, too. 

The Alhambra is considerably cheaper than most seven-seat SUVs, more spacious than other seven-seat people carriers, such as the Vauxhall Zafira Tourer and Citroen Grand C4 Picasso, and cheaper than similarly-sized rivals such as the Volkswagen Sharan - with which it shares, engines, gearboxes and other DNA - and the Ford Galaxy.

Prices for the Seat Alhambra start at around £30,000, but typical new car discounts can knock more than £5,000 off. Two-year-old cars start from less than £21,000.

It has been designed with a few creases in the bodywork, which add a dash of style, but there’s no disguising that the Alhambra is big – very big. You reap the rewards once you’re in through the convenient sliding doors, with plenty of head and legroom. Even a couple of average-sized adults would find the third row of two seats bearable. There are three sets of Isofix child seat mounting points in the middle row, but many child seats will be too chunky to fit three-abreast.

All seven seats are full-size, and there’s plenty of flexibility to rearrange the car, based on the luggage and passengers that you are carrying. The front two rows slide forwards and backwards, so you can adjust the amount of legroom on each row.

With all seven seats in place, there’s just 267 litres of luggage space in the boot (you get more in a Ford Fiesta), but the five seats in the back two rows fold flat into the floor, which boost the area to 2,297 litres. This van-rivalling space is more than all bar the very largest SUVs - and even then, there's not much in it and you'd probably have to spend much more for a supersized SUV.

Triple-zone climate control divides the car into three zones, which have individual temperature controls but the fan is a little loud. You’ve got the option of motorised side doors and a bootlid, which means that you’ll never have to heave the doors shut, at a cost of just over £1,000 (or standard on the top-spec Xcellence).

Storage-wise, you’re better off with mid-range SE trim and upwards. This brings more covered storage compartments, supplementing the S trim’s cupholders and rear storage cubbyholes. SE also brings folding tables on the seatbacks.

So the Alhambra’s practical and versatile but it’s also comfortable and steady to drive with great visibility all-round from the enormous windows. S and SE have comfort suspension that takes the sting out of all but the worst surfaces without wallowing around. Instead, the Alhambra resists leaning too much in corners and remains composed. The only criticism, that takes the shine off its polished performance, comes for the brakes which require a hefty shove.

You’ll also be pressing firmly on the accelerator if you opt for the petrol version of the Alhambra; the diesels have more power to get the Alhambra moving, and make the car easier to drive more smoothly as well

It’s also one of the safest cars of its era, with a five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating. However, this was awarded in 2010. The standard required for the top rating has since been made much tougher. That means a car receiving a five-star rating in 2018 or 2019 is likely to be much safer, or at least better at avoiding collisions in the first place.

Interior quality isn’t quite up to the level of the Ford Galaxy, or the Volkswagen Sharan, which uses the same mechanical parts as the Alhambra (Seat is owned by Volkswagen). The materials don’t feel as expensive, even though the car still feels tight, solid and well screwed together.

The dashboard is clear and straightforward, and dominated by the same screen that’s used across Volkswagen cars from the first half of the 2010s. The parking sensors are useful but a vehicle of this size really benefits from a reversing camera, which is standard with Xcellence trim. Or you could get a car with the optional Park Assist self-parking system and let the Alhambra do it for you.

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Key facts

Warranty Three years / 60,000 miles
Boot size 267 litres (7 seats in use) / 658 litres (5 seats)
Width 1904mm
Length 4854mm
Height 1720mm
Tax £150 to £200 in first year, £145 thereafter

Best SEAT Alhambra for...

Best for Economy – Seat Alhambra 2.0 TDI 150 Ecomotive S

A reasonable list price and a range-best 56.5mpg economy figure makes this version a shoo-in here. CO2 emissions are the lowest at 130g/km, too, but that still equates to a current company car tax rate of 28%.

Best for Families – Seat Alhambra 2.0 TDI 150 Xcellence

All Alhambras are designed for families but this particular version stands out for its standard power doors and tailgate, which you can operate when your hands are full. Other family friendly touches include a panoramic sunroof, a sat nav and a reversing camera.

Best for Performance – Seat Alhambra 2.0 TDI 184 DSG Xcellence

On purely 0-62mph acceleration terms this automatic version wins with a time of 8.9 seconds, a full half-second quicker than the manual version. Either way, both pull strongly through the gears for effortless overtaking while Xcellence trim brings sports suspension for a more agile feel when cornering.

One to Avoid – Seat Alhambra 1.4 TSI S

The 1.4-litre petrol engine is ok, but is noticeably down on power compared with the diesels. Basic S trim looks and feels a little workaday.


  • November 2010 Current Alhambra launched with ‘Easy-fold’ seat system so seats no longer have to be taken out to create load space. Powered by a choice of one petrol or two diesel engines. Has optional park/steer for autonomous parking.
  • August 2014 I-Tech trim launched. Sits between SE and SE Lux and brings 17in alloy wheels, keyless entry & go, a sat nav and a digital radio.
  • June 2015 The engine range comprises of one petrol and three diesel motors, all of which are Euro 6 compliant (so exempt from some future diesel charges) Automatic Post-Collision Braking and three-zone climate control standard. Also gets the latest dashboard screen and new upholstery. 
  • May 2017 Engines revised to a 1.4 petrol and two, 2.0-litre diesels. Connect, SE Lux and FR Line trims dropped, meaning trim range is now S, SE and Xcellence.

Understanding SEAT Alhambra names

Engine 2.0 TDI 150

The first figure refers to the size of the engine in litres and ‘TDI’ to the type of engine it is, in this case a turbocharged diesel (the other engine, the TSI, is a turbocharged petrol). The figure ‘150’ indicates its power output in PS, which is the same as horsepower, or hp.

Gearbox DSG-Auto

DSG is what Volkswagen Group calls its range of six and seven-speed automatic gearboxes. They’re available only with the diesel engines. The standard six-speed manual gearbox is available across the range.

Trim level Xcellence

There are three trim levels, with different levels of standard equipment, comprising entry-level S, mid-spec SE and top-spec Xcellence.

SEAT Alhambra Engines

Petrol: 1.4 TSI 150
Diesel: 2.0 TDI 150 Ecomotive, 2.0 TDI 184

The cheapest engine, the 1.4 TSI 150 petrol, is a turbocharged unit that provides a burst of power without needing to be revved too hard.

However, it doesn’t have enough in reserve to drive in a completely relaxed way. So you’ll need to change gears regularly and occasionally press down hard on the accelerator to keep up with traffic.

As a result, its average fuel economy during testing was around 37mpg, which is 6.5mpg less than its official figure.

The mid-power 2.0 TDI 150 diesel is the more rounded choice. On paper it’s a little slower than the petrol from 0-62mph but on the road and when overtaking it feels faster because it picks up speed quickly and easily.

It’s responsive around town, quiet on the open road, and will haul a fully loaded Alhambra with ease. Fuel economy is considerably lower than the official figure of around 55mpg: the Equa Index estimates that the real-world average is 40mpg.

The most powerful engine, the 2.0 TDI 184 takes the Alhambra’s brand new price beyond £35,000. It’s the quickest and is barely less economical than the 2.0 TDI 150, but many owners will find the extra power unnecessary in a family car.



Fuel economy


Acceleration (0-62mph)

Top speed

1.4 TSI 150






2.0 TDI 150


54.3 - 56.5mpg




2.0 TDI 184




8.9 - 9.4sec


SEAT Alhambra Trims

S, SE, Xcellence

The Alhambra comes in a choice of three equipment levels. S is the most basic and affordable. It strips away most fripperies and concentrates on the essentials, so there’s the standard seven full-size seats, sliding doors and, of course, all that load space but in addition, electric windows and mirrors, a 6.5-inch colour touchscreen, a fully adjustable steering wheel and three-zone climate control. Fortunately, it doesn't look too basic. The wing mirrors and door handles are body coloured, and it has 17in alloy wheels.

We like mid-range SE because it adds welcome extras for a reasonable £2,000 when new, or a much lower premium on the used market. They include larger 17in alloy wheels, exterior chrome strips and dark tinted rear windows that improve the look. On a practical level it has sun blinds in the rear doors, foldable seatback tables, additional storage compartments and a passenger-side wing mirror that dips to aid reversing. It also has cruise control.

Top-of-the range Xcellence raises the new price by £3,500 but rewards you with a powered panoramic sunroof, a sat nav, a reversing camera (handy for tight parking situations), a digital radio and heated leather seats. Perhaps its greatest feature is the powered sliding doors and tailgate which you can operate from the key fob. Downsides? It has sports suspension in place of the standard comfort suspension, which makes the ride a little bumpier.


SEAT Alhambra Reliability and warranty

The Seat Alhambra doesn’t just share parts with the Volkswagen Sharan; both cars are built in the same factory, so their build quality is virtually identical.

From new, it’s offered with a three year warranty that’s limited to 60,000 miles, which is average for the industry.

Used SEAT Alhambra

Used buyers can benefit from the decreasing popularity of people carriers, which has helped to reduce the second-hand value of Seat Alhambras.

You can find year-old Xcellence models for less than £20,000, while the price of 2015 cars is approaching £15,000 - the same as a new family hatchback.

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List price

BuyaCar new

1 year old

2 years old

3 years old

Best for performance







Seat Alhambra 2.0 TDI 184 DSG Xcellence







Best for families







Seat Alhambra 2.0 TDI 150 Xcellence







Best for economy







Seat Alhambra 2.0 TDI 150 Ecomotive S