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Used car focus: Seat Alhambra 2000 onwards

The budget model in the Ford-Volkswagen-Seat people carrier project is probably the best all-round package. It gets the same airy, versatile interiors as the Sharan and Galaxy, yet has more equipment and lower list prices.

LINE-UP AND TRIMS

All models have air-conditioning, tinted glass, electric front windows, remote central locking and a stereo. SE adds front fog lamps, headlight washers, 16in alloy wheels, climate control, electric rear windows, cruise control, leather trimmed steering wheel and gearknob, on-board computer and sports suspension. Sport adds a CD autochanger and ESP traction control. In August, the trim names were changed to bring Alhambra into line with other Seat models. S became Reference, SE became Stylance and Sport kept its original name.

DRIVING AND PERFORMANCE

Sharper drives come from SE and Sport models with sports suspension and larger 16in alloy wheels. On all cars body control is good and roll is kept in check. Steering is accurate but lacks feeling. All have a six-speed manual gearbox well suited to all engines.

COMFORT AND INTERIOR

Seat’s raid on the VW parts bin has resulted in a classy, easy-to-use cabin. There’s plenty of steering wheel and seat adjustment and all-round visibility is good. Alhambra is available with five or seven seats. All the rear seats can be individually folded or removed.

ENGINES AND ECONOMY

The 115bhp 2.0 can struggle with the weight. Most popular petrol is the 1.8T with 150bp. The 2.8 V6 is smooth, but high running costs make it quite rare. The 1.9 TDi PD is offered in either 115bhp or 130bhp form. Both have plenty of pull, are tolerably refined and have excellent fuel consumption.

SAFETY AND SECURITY

Alhambra hasn’t been tested by Euro NCAP, but all versions get driver, passenger and side airbags and ABS. Sport models also get ESP traction control. Alarm, deadlocks, remote central locking and immobiliser are standard across the range.

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