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I bought my Seat Alhambra 110bhp 1.9 TDI S in Nov '99. The deal I got on this car was very good. A great Seat Finance deal of 4.7% APR meant only £1060 interest on £16000 borrowed over 3 years. Coupled with an extra £1100 trade-in allowance for my Mondeo if I bought the actual car in the showroom. It was the exact spec and colour I wanted, although in this situation you must always say that the colour is the one you hate so as to put the salesman under further pressure. However, protracted haggling and playing one dealer off against another further enhanced the deal with discount on alloy wheels and a few extras. The final deal was actually cheaper than buying an 18 month old Alhambra.
My experience of Seat Dealer's after-sales and warranty back-up has been a nightmare though. Seat Grange Hill were chaotic and useless, despite being awarded recent "Seat UK Best Dealer Awards". They are no longer Seat Dealers. Something must be wrong if the Seat's star dealers are no longer Seat agents.
Seat Letchworth were just as bad, (see my post under Seat Dealers) although they can't rub salt into the wounds by displaying Dealer of the Year Awards. I have been recommended to Seat Cheshunt and will now try them. I'll post a further update under Seat Dealers.
The Alhambra is cheaper to buy, better equipped and holds it's value better than the Galaxy and Sharan. All are built on the same production line in Portugal, so build quality etc is identical.
My opinion, on having driven the car 54000 miles in the last 18 months, is -
Overall build quality - very good.
Performance - Very good, even when loaded. 109 mph max and 40 mpg average although driven hard. Quick away, although not F1.
Ride quality - Excellent. Many people remark on the smoothness of it's ride quality.
Handling - Agile and nimble, much better than most saloons I've owned. Stable at speed even in cross-winds.
Brakes and steering - Excellent.
Controls - Clear and functional.
Comfort - Excellent, although more front seat side support needed.
Equipment - Air con, ABS, cruise control, elec front windows, alarm, immobiliser, deadlocks, load cover, superb 10 speaker stereo.
Tyre wear - Excellent. 38,000 miles on first set.
Reliability - I have to admit fairly poor, although better Seat Dealer back-up would reduce this to fairly good.
Servicing costs - Reasonable in comparison to other Main Dealers, although the usual high parts and labour rates subsidise an albeit poor warranty cover.
My verdict - If you require a largish, car like MPV, this is the best buy.
Criticsms - Front brake discs replacement necessary after 42000 miles. Vague dipped/main beam and rear wash/wiper switches. Lack of general interior storage space, although new models are better. Heavy seats. Dark rear window tinting needed on all models. Seat UK Dealer service/warranty back-up is useless.
Thanks Very much for the review, I’m thinking of buying ones of these and you have just given me a few more points to think about. Cheers Andy
Connoisseur_Haggler1 09.10.2001 13:03
Superb opinion -it's buying and driving experinces such as these Ciao need to hear about. I particularly like your critiscms section -new brakes at 42K eh, sure you're not a late of the heavy brakers:) I think I had new front brakes on my Alfa BOxer before then -but Im a heavy braker. Very Informative opinion, keep adding to this if you think of anything else. I almost bought a SEAT IBIZA CUPRA the delaership was pleasant -but you pre-Sale theyy are all helpful aren't they?! Its after Sales thats important. Good luck.