DID YOU KNOW BROWN IS THE NEW black? Or is it white? Well, whatever it is, this season I am mostly going to be driving a large, brown MPV. Seat calls the colour Boal Brown, and although maybe not my first choice on the colour option chart, it looks great and certainly gives the Alhambra a premium feel. I saw the Boal colour on the TV ads, and the ad on the back of this magazine, so I was pleased when OV11 MZJ arrived that it had this Custom Palette paint job, an option that costs L635. It works really well with the dark interior.
After running a compact Meriva MPV for the past six months, the Alhambra has raised the MPV game, and brought some solidity into my daily life, which isn’t suprising, as Seat is part of the Volkswagen Group. This car feels quality, and you do think you’re getting a lot of car for your money. The range starts at an on-the-road price of L22,800 for the 1.4 petrol TSi, right up to this range- topping SE Lux L31,700, with a standard equipment list as long as your arm. Added options to this are the paint (as I mentioned before), rear side bags L170, and Park Assist L295, which is Seat’s super-clever self-parking system – I’ve watched some clips of it working on YouTube, and it looks great.
Lastly, the two integrated child seats will set you back L340; I say it’s money well spent, as they are brilliant. I first used a similar system in a Volvo V50 and raved about them then. Child seats are always an issue, but having the option of turning what looks like a normal passenger seat into a child booster makes life so easy. The manufacturer has thought this system through, so you also get extended headrests with shoulder bolster (see right), so your child still experiences the comfort of the normal seat, often inducing sleep – a welcome relief. The two outer rear seats also have window blinds and plane-style flip-up tables with cup-holders.
The whole interior has a great feel good use of black leather, plastics and rubber, very tactile and solid with highlights of matt aluminium. The panoramic glass roof has a full- length blind, and the front section can be tilted or opened fully, like an old-school sunroof – I like that.
The 17in Kosta alloy wheels came with ‘self-sealing’Continental tyres. As the name suggests, they effectively ‘heal’ themselves in around 85 per cent of typical puncture incidents. The technology is basically a type of coating inside the tyre which almost instantly fills a typical gap when the tread runs over, say, a nail, so no need for a spare or a compressor. A tyre pressure monitor comes as standard too.