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SEAT Alhambra Estate engines, drive and performance

2010 - 2020 (change model)
Performance rating: 4.5 out of 54.5

Written by Simon McBride Published: 6 June 2019 Updated: 6 June 2019

There’s a choice of two engines. The entry level and sole petrol choice is a new 1.4 TSI unit. This may seem like a small engine for a car this size, but thanks to a turbo-charger and super-charger it produces 148bhp and feels eager despite the weight it has to carry and will reach 62mph from rest in 10.7 seconds. Even with a few passengers on board it performs well and only with a full load of seven people and luggage does it start to feel like it’s labouring.

On the diesel front is a 2.0 TDI common-rail engine with a choice of 138bhp or 168bhp. The lower-powered version has plenty of low-down pulling power with very little lag and will take a full load of passengers and bags without denting the performance too much. This will do the 0-62mph benchmark in 10.9 seconds. The higher-powered diesel offers the better prospect for anyone likely to have all seven seats filled the majority of time with greater pulling power and a 0-62mph time of 9.8 seconds.

All engines come with the choice of a six-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed DSG automatic ‘box with paddle changers behind the steering wheel. The manual does feel notchy, while the DSG feels slick when fitted to the petrol engine but can feel a bit jerky in the diesel models. Using the DSG’s manual mode can help smooth gear changes though. In 2011 SEAT added an entry-level 2.0-litre diesel two-wheel drive model to the range.

It produces 115bhp and 280Nm of pulling power. It’s a flexible and smooth engine, ideal for long distance drivers. If you intend to carry lots of people or equipment, however, then it’s worth opting for the more powerful 140bhp or 170bhp version.

The weighty steering means that even pushing a car of this size into tight bends at speed can be done with the minimum of fuss, giving the driver confidence throughout. It tackles rough roads well and absorbs bumps with ease. It is incredibly well insulated with road noise and wind noise barely audible, while the engine noise is also incredibly quiet.

As expected, diesel noise is more intrusive than the petrol.