Seat officially launches its new MPV
19 April 2010

The new Seat Alhambra has been formally revealed.

Based on the New VW Sharan, which was unveiled last month, details of the Alhambra were released after the car was caught running undisguised by spy photographers.

Read our review of the Volkswagen Sharan

See the Seat Alhambra pictures

Like the Sharan, the Alhambra will be built on VW’s new flexible MQB platform. As a result, the Alhambra is 22cm longer and 9cm wider than the outgoing model, and weighs less.

The Alhambra will also keep rear sliding doors, while the third row of seats can be moved back and forth 160mm to accommodate both adults and children. Both the second and third row of seats will fold flat, extending the load area from 885 litres in five seat configuration to 2297 litres.

Two petrol and two diesel engines will be available from launch - a 148bhp 1.4-litre TSI, a 197bhp 2.0-litre petrol and two 2.0-litre TDI units, available with either 138bhp or 168bhp.

In line with the Sharan, new optional kit includes bi-xenon headlamps with adaptive control and automatic headlight dipping, park assist, which automatically parrallel parks the car, a rear viw camera and a sliding panormaic roof. The sliding door can also be fitted with electric motors.

Seat has yet to set a launch date for the Alhambra.

Prices are expected to start from around £20,000.

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Our Verdict

Seat Alhambra

The Seat Alhambra refined and extremely competent seven seat MPV, but it is short on flair

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Comments
20

19 April 2010

VAG really does not know what to do with SEAT. Lost the plot completely. Shame.

19 April 2010

Looks like a toned down Galaxy at the rear, don't you think?

19 April 2010

[quote superstevie]Looks like a toned down Galaxy at the rear, don't you think?[/quote]

It is a bit Galaxy-esque at the rear, but to be honest, the design as a whole looks like it could be from any manufacturer....

19 April 2010

Front reminds me of the Renault Avantime - shape of the headlights and the sharp creases down the bonnet.

19 April 2010

This reminds of a ...............

Wait for it

Volkswagen Sharan !

Don't anyone ever accuse GM of Rebadging and say VW know how the Badge Engineer correctly.

Cab't wait till SEAT get their version of the Phaeton and Touareg and VW will have well and truly shot themselves in the foot by then.

19 April 2010

I don't care whether they are rebadges,
after all in the automotive world it is not the first time you see those.
I find the Alhambra's front prettier than the Sharan's
and (expectedly) being priced lower than the VW version,
I find the Alhambra a more reasonable buy for the same car.

[quote MarkusMorelli]VAG really does not know what to do with SEAT. Lost the plot completely. Shame.[/quote]

Just because (presumably this is what you are implying)
the Alhambra and the Sharan are practically the same car,
YOU think that VAG doesn't know what to do with SEAT?
Well for your concern,
you should know that the big MPV segment gets only profitable for car manufacturers
only when the expenses of new cars development are being shared to many brands.
Otherwise if it weren't for SEAT, then it would (or even should) be the Skoda derivative of the Sharan.

Unless you aren't aware that some 14 years ago made its appearance the previous gen of the Alhambra
and ...guess what, it was the SEATish version of the VAG's big MPV.

Moreover in this specific class, the rebadges are numerous:
the first gen of the VW Sharan-Ford Galaxy-SEAT Alhambra,
Citroen Evasion-Peugeot 806-Lancia Zeta-Fiat Ulysse Mk1
Citroen C8-Peugeot 807-Lancia Phedra- Fiat Ulysse Mk2 etc.

This is why I find your rush in posting first in the new Alhambra thread completely incomprehensible and pointless.

19 April 2010

Actually, I think it looks quite good.

I also think that if it looks like a Sharan, drives like a Sharan and costs like a SEAT, then should be a success !

Seriously, I don't think it looks sporty enough for a SEAT, unless VW have decided to reposition SEAT again.

19 April 2010

Bland but handsome from the front, but far too heavy-looking at the back compared to the S-max or even the new(ish) Galaxy. Also, I don't like sliding doors. Volkswagen has, as previously commented, lost the plot with Seat: Seat's range is now just a copy of every model VW makes (except the Jetta, the Golf estate, the Phaeton and the SUVs - and the Passat, if you're going to nitpick over longitudinal vs transverse engine mountings). There's nothing much to differentiate the two now. Pretty much the same goes for Skoda - except for pricing.

BMC/British Leyland-inspired badge engineering + Germanic quality = VAG.

Here's a rundown of VAG's current brands:

Skoda - the 'budget' brand that is beginning to embarrass its upmarket sisters

Seat - the 'stylish' brand that is now losing its character, becoming less a Spanish Alfa Romeo and more a Spanish... Volkswagen, now you come to mention it.

Volkswagen itself - like Seat, only with the last remnants of character removed, some upmarket pretensions (including a rebadged Bentley).

Suzuki - cheaper than all except some Skodas, but more reliable and more characterful. Doubtless both will be ruthlessly engineered out.

Audi - the BMW competitor that never will compete properly with BMW due to front-wheel-drive and nose-heavy handling. Also a sort of baby Lamborghini, eating into Lamborghini and Porsche sales

Porsche - the maker of cars that are either (a) very ugly or (b) have their engine in the wrong place. The stylists need to be sacked. The Panamera needs to be restyled along the lines of the 928 and made to ride much better, the cabins need to be redesigned to look better quality and much less fussy. The Cayenne needs killing, pronto (and has anyone noticed how the new one's arse is identical to that of the new Megane?), and the 911 needs killing off for the arse-engined dinosaur it is, and replaced with a new Boxster-based mid-engined thing.

Bentley - makers (now) of ugly, overweight saloons and coupés - why the Continental is built on the basis of a steel platform, rather than the identically-dimensioned Audi A8 aluminium platform is beyond me. I believe the Mulsanne is steel, too - again, when cutting emissions is so critical, why does it still weigh 2.5 tons and why is it still propelled by a modified version of the old 1959-vintage V8? It's a magnificent engine in many ways, but it's none too keen to rev (redline at 4500rpm!), and, for 6.75 litres and twin turbos, 500bhp-ish isn't that impressive.

Lamborghini - makers of rather ugly supercars that don't drive as well as Ferraris, are weighed down needlessly with four-wheel-drive, and no longer have that essential Lamborghini-ness. Oh, and they're killing off the old V12 and their manual gearbox. Boo hiss!

Bugatti - makers of incredibly ugly, overweight, exorbitantly-priced hypercars that use a hopelessly complex engine that doesn't even have inherent balance. The W12 and W16 engines, plus Bentley's V8, need to be killed off and replaced with twin-supercharged variants of the Lamborghini V12. Bugatti needs to go back to being about lightweight open-wheel road-racers, using a new straight-six engine derived from Lamborghini's V12.

Also, has anyone else noticed the needless duplication of engine types in VAG? For example, the six-cylinder engines - Volkswagen has its iron-block VR6, Audi has an Alusil-block V6, Porsche has its own V6 for the Panamera and the Cayenne, and it also has its flat-six engines. Why oh why oh why have they got so much duplication? It's the same with the V8s - Porsche and Audi's V8s have nothing in common, and there was also the VW W8...

VW needs to trim its brand portfolio, or at least do something distinctively different with each of its brands, or it'll end up collapsing into a mess of confusion.

19 April 2010

To simon_73: I just wanted to say that this is another testament (albeit not the most striking because as you say looks on MPV-s do not count so much) that SEAT does not have a distinctive DNA. The last impressive one that I can recall was the Altea and you could see it in sales numbers (also last Ibiza and Leon were distinctive). But now they do not have a coherent design language and they do not express the spanish ("auto emocion") DNA in their cars. Shame because I wanted them to be the spanish Alfa (with german diligence and quality) and they could be that. P.S. We had to wait more than 6 months for the delivery of an S-Max - so looks do count on MPV-s if the styling is done as it should be.

19 April 2010

It is not a matter of questioning SEAT's positionment as a brand with a distinctive design.
SEAT has it and you can still find it in the Ibiza, the Leon, and the Altea.
Other than those, SEAT is a VAG subsidiary and they have to take part in the group's economies of scale. VW or SEAT could never afford to carry on their own the full expenses in developing the VAG's big MPV.
This is why they had to wait almost 15 years since 1995
when they presented the first gen of the Sharan Mk1,
and this is why the Sharan Mk1 had also been rebadged by that time
as the Alhambra Mk1 (as well as the Galaxy Mk1).
The fact that the big MPV segment doesn't get strong sales in the European market,
doesn't mean that the VAG shouldn't take part in it
and rebadges are simply the only mean to make profits out of it.

PS: Mr John Muir - SEAT's new boss - has recently stated
that his goal is to make the brand's identity as a sporty brand even more distinctive in the future
and for this purpose he plans to make dramatic changes reinforcing SEAT's image and positionment,
from a range with models with their own sporty and distinctive design (ie Leon Mk3, Exeo Mk2 etc)
up to the restyling of the SEAT logo itself...

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