Seat has officially unveiled its German-blooded minivan, the Alhambra. Like its clone, the Volkswagen Sharan, the people-mover packs plenty of space, dual-sliding doors and an efficient turbo-diesel option. The Alhambra's spec sheet reads like your run-of-the-mill minivan recipe, with a few exceptions. There are seven seats thanks to a third row capable of comfortably ferrying full-size adults, cavernous amounts of cargo room when all but the front two chairs are stowed away and a laundry list of safety equipment.
Since the Alhambra shares its bones with Volkswagen, it's no surprise that the van gets its power from either a 1.4-liter TSI four-cylinder or a 2.0-liter TDI. The latter engine dishes out 140 horsepower and 51 mpg on the European cycle. Even better, you can get the thing with an optional seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
The mechanicals aren't quite enough to make our mouths water over the thought of some time behind the wheel, but we're intrigued nevertheless. Head past the jump to see the press release.
Strictly embargoed until:
15:00h BST, 19 April 2010
* New model range with the latest technology, up to seven seats and sliding doors
* TDI and TSI power units with the lowest CO2 emissions in the segment
* Innovative hi-tech equipment, exceptional quality standards
SEAT is today unveiling the first official images of its all-new Alhambra, the latest generation of the Spanish car maker's perennially popular people carrier.
As a genuine Multi-Purpose Vehicle (MPV), the new SEAT Alhambra offers far more than simply plenty of space for family, business and hobbies. Its innovative versatility fits just as well to family requirements as it does to the demands of the high-mileage business driver.
Just like every SEAT, sporting character and driving fun go hand-in-hand with practicality and innovation. Thanks to its surprisingly dynamic handling, engaging powerplants and the latest hi-tech equipment, drivers can look forward to every mile behind the wheel of the new car.
And, with the potential for a combined fuel consumption figure of more than 51 mpg, the new Alhambra sets a benchmark in its segment.
James Muir, SEAT S.A. President, said: 'Innovation and intelligence are the keywords for our new Alhambra. It represents a major step forward in terms of usability as well as dynamics and safety.
'Its impressive concept combines the highest levels of functionality and state-of-the-art technology with excellent quality and workmanship. This also includes – in typical SEAT fashion – exceptional value-for-money.'
Measuring 4.85 metres bumper to bumper the new Alhambra is 22 centimetres longer than its predecessor, while it is also wider by a full nine centimetres. There's plenty of room for adults to sit comfortably, even in the third row, while the large sliding doors (with optional electric operation) allow especially easy entry.
Luggage space is more than generous, too. When configured as a five-seater the new SEAT has 885 litres of load space available, which grows to a cavernous maximum of 2,297 litres if only the front two seats are in use.
Central to the new car's development has been the intelligent and extremely versatile seating concept – the new Alhambra comes with seating for five, six or seven. Unlike its predecessor if more storage room is called for the second and third-row seats need no longer be removed; instead, they can be sunk easily into the vehicle floor using the "Easy-Fold" system.
The middle row seats can also be arranged longitudinally, with integrated child seats available as an option. Meanwhile the seating position of both the driver and front seat passenger combines the best visibility with a sporty feel and ideal ergonomics.
Looks-wise, the new Alhambra clearly conveys its dynamic character through its design. Broad, taut proportions; clear lines and the distinctive wheel arches give it a powerful presence and a level of sporting appeal that's extremely unusual in the MPV sector.
With its arrow-shaped bonnet, hallmark grille and distinctive front skirt continuing the Arrow Design, the new Alhambra clearly displays its SEAT DNA. The sleek side profile shows great technical precision, with the sliding doors perfectly integrated. The muscular spoiler on the rear edge of the roof, the low-reaching rear hatch and the expansive light clusters dominate the rear end.
Beneath its attractive skin, the Alhambra is new in every detail and equipped with state-of-the-art technology throughout. First and foremost there's the new engine line-up, where the TSI and both TDI power units are equipped with direct fuel injection and turbocharging. The TSI unit delivers 150 PS, while the two TDI engines offer 140 PS and 170 PS. Further efficiency measures fitted as standard include a Start-Stop system and brake energy recovery technology. These guarantee refined pulling power alongside exceptional economy.
With an average fuel consumption of more than 51 mpg and CO2 emissions of just 143 g/km, the 140 PS SEAT Alhambra 2.0 TDI sets a clear benchmark in its class. The Alhambra TDI is also equipped with an SCR catalytic converter (Selective Catalytic Reduction), making the diesel model one of the world's cleanest MPVs.
Just like the TSI and TDI engines, the optional DSG dual-clutch transmission delivers a perfect combination of sporting character, comfort and efficiency. But it's the range of state-of-the-art and innovative technologies offered as optional equipment on the new Alhambra that really stand out. Among the highlights are the SEAT's bi-xenon headlamps with adaptive control and new full beam assistant. In this system, a sensor detects oncoming vehicles and automatically dips the beam.
Also new is the park/steer assistant, which autonomously manoeuvres the Alhambra into tight parking spaces. A rear view camera delivers an image of the world behind the vehicle while the optional panorama sliding roof has an opening that is 300% larger than a conventional sunroof. The new car's optional three-zone Climatronic ensures an optimum temperature in all seats while electric motors simplify the operation of the sliding doors and rear hatch.
Standard safety equipment is already well above the industry average. In the new Alhambra it encompasses seven airbags, including a driver-side knee airbag, and electric child locks on the rear doors. Also standard are ABS and ESP, including electronic braking assistant, trailer stabilisation and tyre pressure monitoring display.
Once again produced in Palmela, Portugal, the new Alhambra goes on sale in its home market this summer. More details of the UK range, including specification and pricing details, will be available closer to the car's launch here later this year.