The Seat Alhambra has been a successful model for Seat. The outgoing version sold well over its 14-year lifespan and much of its appeal lay in being a cheaper version of the Volkswagen Sharan.

This latest model is likely to maintain that draw, given that once again it is based on the VW Sharan (like the first model, the new car is produced at the same factory as the Sharan in Palmela, Portugal) but offers a better specification and is substantially cheaper. It also has a range of frugal engines and stop-start as standard.

Staff writer
Sliding doors are fast becoming 'must-haves' in this segment

At the top of the range is a 168bhp 2.0 TDI SE Lux model, complete with six-speed DSG gearbox. Three other engines are available – a 138bhp version of the same common-rail 2.0-litre turbodiesel (likely to be the volume seller), a 148bhp 1.4 TSI petrol motor and a 114bhp 2.0TDI Ecomotive, tuned for economy over performance. All come as standard with a six-speed manual ’box but can be mated to the DSG gearbox. 

In this class, Ford moved the parameters with the Galaxy and S-Max when it proved that a car can be utilitarian without sacrificing desirability and fun. These cars are the benchmark, so now Seat must prove that it can compete.