Thursday, 2 April 2009

The Seat Alhambra Test Drive

The Seat Alhambra Test Drive
The Seat Alhambra Test Drive
The Seat Alhambra is marketed as a Sporty MPV which sounds like a contradiction in terms. When you think sporty, you think mid engine, low to the ground, streamline and a head turner; it’s not many people who would picture a 7 seater people carrier. However, it could be considered sporty in that you could get a five a side football team into it comfortably.

I am one of those average people with 2.4 children and a dog, so I have never really had a need for such a big vehicle. Because of this I have never really given people carriers much thought as a possibility of my next car, its only when you are driving one that it suddenly occurs to you of how it might work for the family. Obviously it’s very roomy for Holidays, so lots of space for excited holiday makers and luggage and with rails on the roof you can easily fit a top bow for even more luggage. When the kids want to have their birthday party at the local cinema or Mcdonalds, you can easily get all the kids in the car and take them to the venue in one trip. Also its reassuring to know that even then you fill the car with teenagers, there is still ample room to move around and to be comfortable. So a large car definitely has practical benefits.

What about style, does the Seat Alhambra offer style? Well my teenagers rated the car highly. They liked that it was high up and that they could spy into other peoples cars. They liked that they had more seating options to choose from, not having to site next to one another or have to site directly behind the parents. They thought that the tinted windows were particularly beneficial and requested that my next car should have them, to protect their eyes oh hot sunny days. They almost immediately after getting into the car had to try out the little pull down tables that were situated on the backs of the chairs in front, a bit like aeroplane pull down tables. The tables were a big hit, something to lean on, and to hold your drink whist you play the DS – Fantastic.

As the driver I didn’t feel like I was sitting in a sporty car. For a start the chairs are bolt upright, great for the posture, but not exactly sporty bucket seats. The Dashboard was very functional and had quite a few dials which made it look a bit like the cockpit of a small aircraft. One of the extra dials was giving information about the charge in the battery. Not very helpful information to the driver, but it did add to the ambiance of the dashboard.

Once I had got the hang of the controls, it was actually rather good fun to drive. Other road users did tend to keep out of my way, and I found people at junctions and roundabouts to be more courteous. They obviously didn’t want to have conflict with a vehicle of this size, which made around the town driving more enjoyable than usual.

I also found that being so high up off the ground that I had much better visibility at junctions where shrubs or other vehicles would be in my way and block my view of oncoming traffic. This of course made driving quicker because I could see straight away when I was able to move off, instead of waiting cautiously until I had a clear view.

I found the pulling power in second great fun, it really shifted and you could feel it pulling you into your seat.

On the motorway it hummed along like a breeze with no problems. Again I found on motorways that the Alhambra offered great visibility of the road ahead. You are able to see further simply because you are a bit higher up than you normally would be. This was also beneficial when I was stuck in traffic because you can see what’s happening up ahead.

I think as with any large car that there are the usually draw backs, finding big parking spaces in the town, the higher price of car tax etcetera, however other than those large car issues there wasn’t anything about the Alhambra that I particularly didn’t like. Well except for the issue of where would the dog go? With no real boot to speak of, there’s no where safe for the dog to travel.

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