Wednesday 12 October 2011

Road - SEATed and Booted

The man from SEAT came last night to take away the Alhambra. I was sorry to see it go. I used it to follow Rally of Scotland and over three days it covered 608 miles - and it still had an eighth of a tank left. Yes, the fuel light was on, but it was still showing 60 or so miles before it would need topped up from Jim Carty's jerry cans (in-joke - see earlier RoS story!). That means that it was sipping diesel from its 13.2 gallon fuel tank at the rate of around 50 mpg.

Now bear in mind, the weather was foul and the a/c and demister were in frequent use, not to mention the heated seats, and I wasn't using the IAM's top ten tips on fuel economy, I was quite impressed with that.

Considering it had the 2 litre, 140 hp turbodiesel, I was even more impressed. And it's not the lightest of cars either, with seven seats, electric sliding side doors and electric tailgate, it tips the scales at 1.6 tonnes. It wasn't the quickest car off its mark, but once on the move, it surged along quite impressively especially when required to pass lost spectators looking for stages and car parks.

The upright seating postion was comfy and it felt really quite stable, even when the roads were wet, muddy and slippery, but there's not as much room in the back as you might think. For four adults and three weans it is pretty good, but it doesn't leave much room for baggage. What did surprise me was the fact that it is physically bigger (longer and wider, but not as tall) than the old Alhambra and yet I struggled to get my mountain bike in the back with all the seats down. That was down to the narrow width of the rear tailgate, so I had to remove the front wheel to get the bike on board.

Then again, what SEAT are trying to do here is make a compact MPV, not a van with windows, so load carrying capacity is secondary to passenger comfort. On that basis, it is the ideal school taxi rather than a service barge!

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