2002 Seat Alhambra Signo 1.9 TDI from Slovakia


A perfect family car


At 25,000 KM the stabilizer rods and ball joints had to be replaced due to being worn out, producing a rattling sound from front suspension. I was told that this is a known issue at VW/Seat, a result of poor material being used on these parts. Supposedly it had been rectified by change of supplier and higher quality of replacement parts. It remains to be seen... BTW, the parts and service (€ 300 value) was free of charge in spite of the fact that the one-year warranty was expired at the time!

At 30,000 KM we had a car theft attempt, luckily a secret electrical circuit switch did its job. However, the thief stole the controller unit from the engine compartment and destroyed the driver's side door lock and ignition switch (BTW, when you brake the door lock the factory alarm remains silent since it's turned off by the door lock - poor design). We had to wait over 3 weeks for replacement parts from Seat. Cost € 2,000! We sure got our insurance money back this time...

Formerly a pretty tight car is loosening up a bit. At 32,000 KM there are a few rattling sounds coming out from somewhere near the dashboard.

General Comments:

The 1.9 TDI, 115 HP engine is superb with enough torque for overtaking and uphill climbs even when fully loaded. Diesel consumption is excellent for a car of this size and weight. Very low oil consumption for a diesel too.

The brakes with ABS (Anti-Blocking System) are very responsive and effective. We even got into a tight situation when we appreciated the ESP (Electronic Stability Program) system which apparently actually works. Uffff... ;-)

The 4-motion (4x4) system works great in deep snow and on slippery roads helps the ASR (Anti-Slip Regulator).

The ride is a bit firm, but it is an acceptable trade-off for excellent handling on twisty mountain roads where this family van handles more like a sedan than an MPV (Multi-Purpose/Passenger Vehicle).

Changing gears on a 6-speed transmission is a bit ragged, especially from first to second and third gears. Although the transmission is accurate it lacks the smoothness of other cars I owned.

The dual Climatronic air conditioning works great even in hot Mediterranean summer.

Overall, this is an excellent car, well built, with great engine and comfortable and well designed spacious interior. The Signo version is fully loaded with all electrical gadgets you will ever need or want. We were on a 6,000 KM vacation trip around France this summer and this car has not let us down in any situation. It seemed as if it was built for long family hauls without ever complaining about them.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd December, 2003

2002 Seat Alhambra TDI 1.9 TDI 115 bhp from UK and Ireland


A good workhorse that drives like a saloon


Rubbing strip detaching from body.

Gearbox needs replacing at 20000 miles. Dealer has agreed to replace. Now on order.

General Comments:

Generally very pleased. Saloon car performance and ride with frugal mpg - over 40 on most longer trips. The kids love it, but I wonder how the interior will stand up to them. It is already starting to show signs of wear. I don't find the heater to be very effective, especially at first. However, these are minor niggles.

I would advise anyone thinking of buying a second hand Alhambra TDI to go for the 110 or 115 bhp versions. I have driven a couple of 90 bhp models and they are pretty pedestrian by comparison with the 115 version.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th November, 2003

2002 Seat Alhambra SE 1.9 TDi from UK and Ireland


Anti roll bar ball joint has worn, first noticed at 6000 miles. Still waiting for spares (on factory back order!)

Unable to get consistent information on engine oil type. Dealer and manufacturer differ.

Squeaks and rattles from dash that come and go.

General Comments:

The sports suspension make this a hard ride on all, but the smoothest roads.

Oil consumption of up to 1 litre per 600 miles appears to be acceptable according to manufacturer. As oil can be either £7 or £20 per litre, depending on who you listen too, adds greatly to running cost.

"Blind spot" at offside drivers door post tends to make you have to lean forward a lot.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 2nd June, 2003

2002 Seat Alhambra tdi 1.9 turbo diesel from UK and Ireland


Good all round mpv - I loved the options


Poor retraction of second row seatbelts - this causes them to get caught in doors.

Sticking switch on drivers door for rear offside passenger window.

Poor fit of all doors.

Rear wiper never cleared screen properly.

Driver's heated seat failed at 12,000 miles - repaired on guarantee.

General Comments:

Generally pleased with vehicle, but the Dealers were completely unprofessional.

1. battery flat when I went to pick it up.

2. Tow bar support (paid for) had not been fitted.

3. They lost my insurance certificate.

4. The service book took me 3 months and 6 visits to get it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st May, 2003

1st Jun 2003, 15:19

It's worrying to find faults on any car of this age - more worrying to find that the dealer is not able to correct them without causing further difficulties - unfortunately, from my experience, this is not only a problem with SEAT dealers. Very worrying is the poor fit of the doors - this has to be unacceptable!

I'm currently looking at purchasing one of the three variants and was very interested in reading this report.