In times when families with more than two children are already exotic, large vans somehow seem to be relics of a bygone era and way of life. And yet: despite the competition from spacious SUVs, MPVs will continue to be offered. Renault (Espace) and Ford (Galaxy) have just launched new models; Time for the VW Sharan to be largely identical Seat Alhambra undergoes at least a revision and refresh. In addition to the obligatory retouching at the front and rear, modern assistance and infotainment systems have found their way into the family and taxi carriages. The engines are also becoming somewhat more economical. Starting from 29.965 Euro, the van has been available in conjunction with the 110 kW / 150 PS strong TSI since the beginning of July.
Children, how quickly time flies: When the current Alhambra came to the dealers at the end of 2010, the topics of assistance and infotainment systems were not as important as they are today. So it is no wonder that the van has now been brought up to scratch, particularly with regard to these aspects. Thanks to access to the VW Group's modular infotainment kit, new, high-resolution displays with a touchscreen and modern navigation systems are now available. Integrating your own smartphone is easier with MirrorLink, CarPlay and Android Auto. Of course, apps and gesture control are no longer future visions for the Alhambra - at most Bohemian villages for those who are not quite tech- and electronics-savvy.
A lot has happened with the rest of the vehicle electronics. In the meantime, blind spot, parking and high beam assistants can also be found in the Alhambra price lists. Traffic sign recognition can also be ordered. It will also be easier to maneuver the 4,85 meter-long family companion safely into parking spaces. The parking steering assistant (800 Euro surcharge) now also supports parking and leaving parking spaces if required.
There was also a potential for refreshing the engines. They now meet the Euro 6 emissions standard and should be up to ten percent more economical. As before, five units are available; they cover a performance range from 85 kW / 115 PS to 162 kW / 220 PS. The top engine, a two-liter TSI, now has 20 PS more than before, but is likely to remain the exception on German roads. The majority of customers choose a diesel. The average consumption here is between 5,1 and 5,6 liters.
The 110 kW / 150 hp diesel receives most orders and - not without reason. The well-known unit now delivers 10 hp more and mobilizes 340 Nm. This is easily enough for trips with family or on business trips to swim relaxed in traffic and, if necessary, just as relaxed, but with the prospect of early success, to start overtaking. The Alhambra is usually the good-natured companion. He is not an athlete, comfort is in the foreground for most users despite the optional adaptive suspension. Speaking of convenience: if you like, you can also order this engine with a six-speed dual clutch transmission (surcharge: 2.050 euros). This is now automatically disconnected from the engine when the accelerator is removed. The so-called "sailing" should help to save fuel. Also available for this engine: four-wheel drive.
As usual, the van, which can also be configured with seven seats, scores with its good space, its variability in seating and the side sliding rear doors. So nothing has been changed here. Depending on the configuration, the luggage volume varies between 300 and 2.430 liters.
Oh yes: optical retouching shouldn't be missing. But there are only a few of them, so the differences only become apparent when you look very closely. The new Seat logo adorns the front, LEDs are used in the rear lights and new alloy wheels are on offer. In the interior everything has remained more or less the same except for a few new decor colors and a new steering wheel.
At least 29.965 euros are due for the van (Reference, Style and Style Plus) offered in three equipment lines, making it around 2.000 euros cheaper than the twin with the VW logo. The 150 PS diesel starts at 32.710 Euro. The price list offers plenty of room for improvement. For massage seats for example, or a panoramic glass roof, or electric sliding doors, or assistants or or or. Some things remain unchanged.
Author: Elfriede Munsch / SP-X