More than the pace of the Seat Alhambra, it is the refinement that impresses most. The most intrusive noise in the cabin at motorway speeds is some minor wind flutter over the A-pillars. Tyre noise is well suppressed and even wind flutter is better than others in the class because of the impressive drag coefficient of 0.29.
We’ve seen the more powerful 2.0-litre diesel engine in various Volkswagen Group cars, and in this application (and when mated to the six-speed DSG) it works with a sense of effortlessness that the 148bhp version lacks.
The lower-power 2.0-litre diesel is okay for everyday use, but the economy gains are marginal so we’d recommend opting for the larger motor id you can stretch to the additional price premium and running costs.
The lower powered diesel is frugal and may appeal to buyer swith an absolute eye on running costs, but it feels breathless in such a big car, and we wouldn't recommend it as a sound purchase for anyone planning to either drive fully laden or looking for entertainment.
The 1.4 TSI and manual ’box proves to be a sweet powertrain, too. It won’t sell in big numbers, but given its lower list price, more pliant ride quality and excellent engine refinement it could make the better option over the diesel if the primary task is a short daily school run. Thanks to the supercharger and turbocharger there’s a pleasingly linear power delivery, though a touch more torque would help given the car’s weight.
The DSG gearbox also does an effective job. It works well in conjunction with the stop-start system, with the motor firing up quickly as you lift off the brake and progressive step-off ensuring a smooth getaway.
However, ask for full acceleration when in standard ‘D’ mode and the gearbox suffers from a moment’s hesitation before it responds. Sport mode holds on to gears for longer but, even so, the Alhambra never gives any pretence of being a spirited drive; rather, it’s a calm, relaxed one. Standard wheel-mounted paddles are included on all DSG models.