Fleet News

SEAT Alhambra

SEAT

Review

THE spate of changes sweeping the large-MPV sector is currently running at an infectious level. And once one of the Ford-Volkswagen-SEAT threesome announces a comprehensive overhaul, the others soon follow - especially when the Galaxy holds the number one position with 31 per cent of sales, followed by the Renault Espace with a 13 per cent share, Chrysler's Voyager 9.8 per cent, Volkswagen Sharan 8.6 per cent and SEAT Alhambra 6.5 per cent.

To the uninitiated, the changes might look more like a blatant attempt to plagiarise Volkswagen's effort given the number of carryover components - only a few sports-orientated SEAT-style trim additions differentiate the Alhambra from the rest of the family.

All three models are built on the same platform at the same factory, which explains some of the commonality, but you have to look at the VW family tree to understand what's going on. With VW ownership, the new Alhambra, like the Leon and Toledo, gets the 'VW treatment' with better build quality and reliability, VW Group engines and platforms.

New for 2000 is an eight model range comprising S, SE and Sport trim powered by a choice of three petrol engines and one turbodiesel. Kicking off the range is the 2.0-litre S - powered by the same four-cylinder petrol unit in the VW Golf GTI and Beetle developing 115bhp. Level two is the turbocharged 20V T engine, producing 150bhp while the top-of-the-range petrol is the 2.8-litre V6, pumping out 204bhp.

The biggest benefit to SEAT's fortunes - and to fleet customers -is the availability of VW's excellent high torque pnmpe dnse diesel technology in the shape of the 115bhp TDI PD unit.

Prices start at ú17,795 OTR for the Alhambra 2.0 S, rising through ú21,895 for the TDI PD tested here and topping out at ú24,995 for the 2.8 V6 Sport.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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