The last-generation Seat Alhambra MPV was an absolute stalwart of the Spanish car maker's range, on sale for what felt like decades, and shared development with Volkswagen's Sharan and Ford's Galaxy. You would think that its existence in the Seat line-up would be incongruous for an apparently sporty manufacturer, but Seat does seem to do a nice line in people carriers big and small.
Ford has been ditched from this particular party, but the latest Alhambra shares much of its DNA with the newest Volkswagen Sharan. There's nothing sporty about the Alhambra, but it is being pushed heavily on its price, and it does represent good value at around £20,000 with a decent level of equipment. Climate control, Bluetooth connectivity and alloys come as standard.
Being a 7-seater MPV it's not particularly exciting, but carrying five children around behind you has never been particularly exciting anyway - at least not in a good way. It's usefully bigger than the previous-generation model and the third row of seats will even accommodate adults for short runs thanks to a middle row that slides backwards and forwards. Children should have no complaints over longer-distance trips and there's even space for luggage seven-up.
All of the seats fold down to leave a cavernous flat load space, making the Seat an entirely practical proposition. It isn't particularly fun to drive - Ford's offerings in this segment are much more satisfying dynamically, as even the Galaxy has something to offer a driver - but the Alhambra does feel solid enough on the move.
The handling won't offer you any problems, and neither should the ride - it smothers most of the bumps the road will throw up at you, making it a comfortable proposition for longer journeys. In fact, the car is a comfortable proposition for daily life, with lots of thought having been put into how a family might use it - seats drop with one hand and there are sockets in the back for the kids, for example.
There are two diesel engines available for the car and a 1.4-litre petrol which seems to have got lost on its way to an Ibiza and somehow ended up in the engine bay of a sizeable people-carrier. The best option for the Alhambra is the 2.0-litre diesel engine in 140bhp guise, offering up just the right blend of torquey urge and respectable economy. The Alhambra stands mostly on its value for money, but it's actually a decent car.