SEAT Alhambra Review

Gumtree Rating

4.0 rating

In a world increasingly dominated by SUVs of all shapes and sizes, the SEAT Alhambra feels like something of a throwback. It’s an old-school MPV with room for seven that has been ferrying large families around for a quarter of a century. It certainly doesn’t have any of the bad-boy stylings or mountaineering pretensions of many of the other vehicles you see on the school run these days, but it does boast a very spacious interior, an enjoyable drive, and sliding doors that are a godsend in tight spaces. SEAT also has an eye for design, and it has executed this highly practical vehicle with flair.

Check out the SEAT Alhambra model page to learn more and explore available cars.

What we think about the SEAT Alhambra

The SEAT Alhambra is a nicely put together and well-equipped people carrier that beats many of its rivals for value.



Seats seven comfortably


Excellent practicality


Strong engines


Interior lacks character

Inconsistent ride

Some alternatives are cheaper

The Alhambra launched in 1996, sharing much of its makeup with the more expensive Ford Galaxy and VW Sharan, which were built at the same plant. A facelift in 2000 brought a more angular styling with new headlights and an extended roof. The current second generation debuted in 2010, introducing sliding rear doors and a generally sportier look. Trim levels range from entry-level S through SE up to XCellence.

Driving performance of the Seat Alhambra

Our Driving Rating8 / 10

The Alhambra is designed to move seven adults around with all their luggage, and whatever engine you choose, it won’t struggle for power when fully loaded. Unlike some of its rivals, which are built on the underpinnings of a commercial vehicle, the Alhambra is based on a car. While no one buys an MPV for driving thrills, it handles nicely, offering good control around tight bends. There are a couple of options when it comes to the suspension, with the Comfort set-up trading off some of that handling for a smoother ride than the firmer Sport.

Safety and reliability of the Seat Alhambra

Our Safety Rating7 / 10

Having been awarded a full five stars by Euro NCAP in 2010, the Alhambra lost a star when retested in 2019. It’s not that the older cars were safer, it’s just that the model failed to keep up as the crash tests grew more stringent. The middle row has three Isofix child seat anchor points, and a 2016 facelift brought in blindspot recognition. However, the Alhambra doesn’t have the advanced driver assistance systems that are standard across many vehicles these days. The model enjoys a generally good reputation for reliability.

Under the bonnet of the Seat Alhambra

Our Engine Rating7 / 10

Until a 2018 update, the Alhambra came with only one engine, a 2.0-litre diesel. Now there are also 1.4-litre and 2.0-litre petrol options. The 2.0-litre petrol is the most powerful of the range, delivering 200 horsepower, while the weakest of the line-up is the 140 horsepower version of the the 2.0-litre diesel. All come with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission as an option. The 1.4-litre petrol is ideal for those who’ll be using the vehicle mostly for shuttling around town, while the more powerful versions of the diesel will suit those making long motorway trips with heavy loads.

What you'll find in the Seat Alhambra

Our Design Rating7 / 10

While it’s not built on a van template, the shape of the Alhambra does look like a van. It won’t turn heads like some modern SUV alternatives, but SEAT has put serious thought into pulling off this practical design with a degree of elegance. There’s a large glass area that fits well with the bodywork, and sharp lines are complemented with details such as silver roof rails, SEAT’s signature headlights and the foglamp housings flanking the lower grille.

Comfort and interiors in the Seat Alhambra

Our Comfort Rating8 / 10

The first thing you’ll notice when you climb inside the Alhambra is the acres of space. Unlike most seven-seaters, this vehicle will have no problem with seven tall adults, so if you’re taking a basketball team on tour then nothing else out there can match it. With all seven seats upright, there’s 267 litres of storage space. With a simple flick of a lever, you can drop the seats to upgrade this to 2,297 litres. The finish inside is functional rather than characterful, but there are foldable picnic tables and the middle seats can slide forward and back individually.

red seat alhambra front seats

What features you'll find in the Seat Alhambra

Our Features Rating8 / 10

Even at the entry level, the Alhambra comes with a decent array of kit. There are 16-inch alloy wheels, parking sensors, three-zone climate control and a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Moving up through the trim levels brings bigger alloys and makes those sliding rear doors electrically operated, meaning the kids can close them for you easily without endangering their fingers. There are also extras like a panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery, heated front sports seats and a bodykit to give the MPV some attitude, for those who want to pay for them.

What fuel efficiency to expect from the Seat Alhambra

Our Fuel Consumption Rating6 / 10

Part of being a veteran of the people-moving scene is that the Alhambra can’t compete with some of its modern rivals when it comes to fuel economy. The best claimed figure is 44.1 mpg for the least powerful 2.0 TDI manual, while the 1.4 TSI petrol gets you only 35.3 mpg.

Running costs of the Seat Alhambra

Our Cost Rating7 / 10

Fuel aside, the Alhambra shouldn’t cost you too much to run. Most versions sit in insurance groups from 19 to 22, cheaper than the Ford Galaxy. Servicing costs tend to be pretty reasonable too. While resale prices for MPVs have taken a hit from their lack of desirability relative to SUVs, the Alhambra should hold onto its value better than the cheaper Citroën Picasso.

Our verdict of the Seat Alhambra

4.0 rating

4 / 5 Gumtree rating

The SEAT Alhambra is an old-school MPV that offers outstanding practicality and impressive value. If you're a new parent with a growing family this could be a very smart investment.