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.
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