AND the winner is . . . SEAT’s seven-seater Alhambra.
That was the announcement when the Scottish Car of the Year awards were handed out recently with this model being voted the top MPV.
There’s a fair bit of competition in this sector but the Alhambra stood out from the rest as far as the Association of Scottish Motoring Writers were concerned.
A recent drive in this big MPV was enough to convince me that this Spanish offering thoroughly deserved its award.
The model I tested was the 2.0 TDI CR 138bhp E Ecomotive SE and it was everything you expect from an MPV - and a bit more.
There was lots of space inside for the driver and six passengers with the two third row seats easily popping up or down and easy access to them helped by the sliding middle row and the wide sliding doors. The SE model doesn’t come with the powered sliding rear doors but the £795 option on the test car, which includes the power tailgate as well, would be a must for me.
You can have seven people sitting comfortably in the Alhambra and still have room for luggage.
With its EasyFold system there is great flexibility as well and the load area is always flat.
There is 658 litres of luggage space when loaded to the luggage compartment cover with just the third row seats down, rising to 1,167 litres when loaded up to the ceiling.
This grows to a massive 2,297 litres when the three second-row seats are also folded down. Objects up to 2.95 metres can be carried on S and SE models where the front passenger’s seat can also be folded flat.
The diesel engine in this model proved responsive and powerful enough as it went smoothly up and down the six-speed manual gearbox and it cruised quietly at motorway speeds.
Handling was also good on some winding roads and ride comfort was up there with top saloon models.
It’s not the type of vehicle you buy to go racing away at traffic lights but there was swift enough acceleration in this Alhambra which has a zero to 62mph time of 10.9 seconds and a top speed of 120mph.
It’s also extremely frugal, assisted by the Stop/Start system, with an excellent combined fuel consumption figure of 50.4mpg, 57.6mpg extra urban and 40.9mpg urban.
Standard equipment levels are high with far too many items to mention in this write-up and the interior has a quality feel to it.
With its stylish looks there was little to find fault with in this Alhambra which offers excellent value. On-the-road prices start at £23,045 with the test model £25,805.