BMW teams up with Italian styling gurus at Pininfarina for slick new coupe
SEAT Alhambra SE 2.0 TDI CR Ecomotive 140 PS: month 4
On fleet since: January 2012
Total mileage: 3,745
Official combined mpg/CO2: 50.4mpg - 146g/km
Actual mpg: 40mpg
Costs: £0 so far
Pros: practicality, space, solidity
Cons: size, parts availability
SEAT Alhambra at Imperial War Museum Duxford
Where we've been this month?
Well sadly the car has spent a lot of time in the garage, which explains the delay since our last report for which please accept my apologies. As I recounted last time, a lady went into the back of the car in a low-speed accident in early May, requiring a new bumper.
Except there weren't any bumpers going spare, it seems. This SEAT, owned by SEAT, needed a new bumper from SEAT, but there were none around. It was a month before one turned up - which seems bizarre for a car that while new on the market, is not that new. Still, we survived.
What do I like?
Having got the car back we got a proper chance to put the car through its full-size paces: a six-up trip to the aviation museum at Duxford, in Cambridgeshire.
We only have two children ourselves, but wanted the extra flexibility of this car to be able to carry out just this sort of expedition: do missions with friends and take only one car where normally we would have to take two. In this instance we teamed up the my old friend Andy and his two-year-old daughter, Georgiana.
SEAT Alhambra - seating 'executive stye'
Being six rather than seven we were able to employ the 'executive' approach (see above) and left the middle-middle seat folded down, allowing easy access to the rear row, as well as providing a foot rest for my wife who was back there with our youngest.
Blessed admittedly by flowing traffic, the Alhambra made short work of the journey. It was a warm day, and the car is equipped with multiple air-conditioning vents throughout the whole length of the car so no one suffered the stuffiness for which these cars used to be renowned.
And stuffiness lest we forget leads to nausea - and you really don't want that where children are involved...
The car is a very comfortable cruiser, with low noise levels at motorway speeds. As I cruised along in the sun with cruise control selected and all the children happily snoozing in the back I contemplated the sheer competence of this car: its ability to carry a number of people in great comfort and safety.
SEAT Alhambra - access to rear seats
Andy loved it; he is an Audi A6 estate driver, but has a growing family and wants something bigger.
"Can you get Audi to build a version of one of these please, Tom?" was his plea. Well we can but ask, and I do like the idea of a big seven-seater Audi. I once posed the question to the head of Audi UK's PR and he told me that they already did make one: the Q7. Which wasn't quite what I had in mind...
For me this SEAT is just fine though; it does exactly what you require of it, in some style. Last month I touched on the fact that this car is a bit, well, beige. Perfectly capable, but lacking the pizazz of the class-leading full-size MPV, the Ford S-Max. Well in the past few weeks I have come to appreciate the distinct virtues of the SEAT over the Ford: its Volkswagen solidity, the quality of its controls, the competence.
PS: the Duxford air museum is a wonderful place and if you're into planes you need to go immediately.
SEAT Alhambra - helping with the gardening
What don't I like?
Well, waiting many weeks for a fairly standard part wasn't much fun and would have greatly irritated me if this car's usage was mission-critical - as it will be to many owners.
But I have no other complaints this month.
What next for the SEAT Alhambra?
The summer holidays are fast approaching! Our Alhambra has a tow bar, which we intend to put to good use as a bike rack, and really see if this car can do holidays as well as the everyday.
Tom Evans is the managing editor of MSN Cars, and is currently the holder of the Guild of Motoring Writers Editor of the Year award. Follow him on Twitter @MSNTom
Engine: 2.0 TDI CR Ecomotive 140hp turbodiesel, six-speed manual
Performance: 0-62 in 10.9 seconds/ 120mph top speed
Power/torque: 140hp/236lb ft @ 1,750rpm
Insurance group: 18E
List price: £26,605
Options fitted: SEAT Media System (includes sat-nav, with dynamic route guidance, five-inch colour touchscreen, DAB radio tuner and SD card slot) (£625), park assist (£295), power tailgate and rear-doors (£995), Winter pack (£295), panorama pack (includes panoramic glass roof, with electrically opening front pane (slide/tilt), electrically operated sun-shade, 17" 'Kosta' alloy wheels, 'sport-style' comfort seats, black cloth and 'brushed black' door and dashboard decorative inserts (£795), folding tow-bar with electric release (£645).
Price as tested: £30,255
Report 1: SEAT Alhambra arrival
Report 2: SEAT Alhambra month two
Report 3: SEAT Alhambra month three
Report 4: SEAT Alhambra month four (this report)
First drive: SEAT Alhambra
Buy a used SEAT Alhambra on Auto Trader
Read another long-term review
related stories on msn
Latest Cars videos
MSN Cars' Steve Walker takes the UK's cheapest new car for a test drive to see if it's worth parting only £5,995 for.
Date 23/05/13, Duration 4:17, Views 1184