The extra grunt of the bigger engine is obvious and useful
Apart from some wind noise, the ride is pleasing and well controlled
The ride is slightly nuggety on the 17in wheels fitted here
It’s not as engaging to drive as the S-Max/Galaxy
If you need the seating capacity and travel long distances, this is the engine to go for
Higher-powered diesel adds 30bhp and 22lb ft of torque over the 2.0 TDI 140
Within the current Seat range, the new Alhambra represents the closest proxy for a VW
At £26,500, this is the most expensive Alhambra
First DriveSeat’s Alhambra now comes with a little more visual clout in FR-Line trim. We’ve tested the most powerful 181bhp variant
First DriveTop-spec Alhambra is a fine car, but it’s only worth paying for if you need the extra power
What is it?
Having tested two versions of the new Alhambra on the international launch, this is a chance to try both the car in the UK, and the third and final engine in the initial line-up.
The question is, though, do you need the higher-powered diesel? It adds 30bhp and 22lb ft of torque over the 2.0 TDI 140, but it costs £1230 and pushes emissions up to 154g/km and the benefit-in-kind tax up by one percentage point.
What’s it like?
On the road, the extra performance is obvious and useful, especially when accelerating at motorway speeds. However, the lower-powered engine is fractionally more refined. If you are likely to use the Alhambra’s maximum seating capacity often and go long distances, the trade-off is probably worth considering, but for lighter use the TDI 140 is the engine to go for.
Apart from some wind noise, the ride is pleasing and well controlled, if slightly nuggety on the 17in wheels fitted here. It’s not as engaging to drive as the S-Max/Galaxy but it still makes fine family transport.
Should I buy one?
At £26,500 (or £27,735 for the six-speed DSG model tested here), the 168bhp version of the common-rail 2.0 TDI is the most expensive Alhambra. The equivalent VW Sharan costs £28,955 and the Ford Galaxy £28,545, so opting for the Seat is not the bargain it once was.
However, within the current Seat range, the new Alhambra represents the closest proxy for a VW. Given that, more or less, you are getting the same solid-feeling, well constructed, versatile seven-seat MPV (both built in the same Portuguese factory), so £1200 is a worthwhile saving.
Seat Alhambra 2.0 TDI 170 DSG SE
Price: £27,735; Top speed: 127mph; 0-62mph: 9.8sec; Economy: 47.9mpg (combined); CO2: 154g/km; Kerb weight: 1665kg; Engine: 4 cyls, 1968cc, turbodiesel; Power: 168bhp at 4200rpm; Torque: 258lb ft at 1750rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd dual-clutch auto