The Tarraco is the all-new flagship SUV from SEAT and offers seven-seat versatility. There are generously-equipped trim levels to choose from, along with a range of powertrains and transmissions. It’s dynamic and distinctive design helps the Tarraco stand out from the crowd.
The goodPractical, stylish and competitively priced
The badUp against stiff opposition including rivals in the VW Group
SEAT Tarraco – First Drive (2019)
Turn the clock back a couple of years and there was no sign of an SUV on the Spanish manufacturer’s fleet. Fast forwards to 2019 and we have three.
First on the scene was the mid-sized Ateca followed swiftly by the smaller Arona, but now SEAT has pulled out all the stops for the daddy of the line-up and it’s big, bold, practical and full of Spanish flair.
The all-new flagship model is called the Tarraco and it boasts full seven-seat versatility along with engine, transmission and trim level choices.
With prices starting from a very reasonable £28,335 and rising to £32,150, buyers can choose from generously-equipped spec levels called SE, SE Technology, XCELLENCE and XCELLENCE LUX with the promise of FR and FR Sport versions at a later date.
There are five punchy engines with manual or automatic gearboxes, plus front or four-wheel-drive. For petrol fans there is a 1.5 TSI 150PS mated to a six-speed manual transmission or a 2.0 TSI 190PS that is seven-speed DSG auto with 4Drive (which is SEAT’s total traction system). Diesel customers can select from a 2.0 TDI 150PS in manual or auto with 4Drive, or a 2.0 TDI 190PS which is only available in automatic format with 4Drive.
The Tarraco shares many of its underpinnings with its sibling from the VW stable, the Skoda Kodiaq. But as is the SEAT way, it brings a sporting edge to the mix. For example, there are crisper lines and creases, a prominent front grille, striking alloys and the sharper full LED headlights retain the company’s triangular signature.
Step inside and the Tarraco oozes class and elegance with a wealth of on-board technology and creature comforts at your disposal. A horizontal line spans the length of the dashboard to emphasise the width of the car and there are plenty of soft-touch materials and elegant surfaces that help raise the interior quality levels.
All the controls and readouts are beautifully laid out in a clutter-free manner with traditional dials to control the temperature – no overcomplicated menus to navigate when you want a blast of cool air then. There is a neat eight-inch floating touchscreen that is simple to master and that is where the likes of the navigation system, DAB radio, and infotainment systems are all located. Full smartphone connectivity is achieved via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, and as you move up through the various trim levels, you will see the introduction of features such as a rearview camera, top view camera, heated front and rear seats, park assist, plus keyless-entry-and-go with electric tailgate and virtual pedal.
There is a 10.2-inch digital cockpit display that allows the driver to personalise the information and readouts they see, with options including standard speedo and rev counter dials or full colour maps and navigation instructions.
Measuring 4.7 meters in length and 1.8 metres in width, the Tarraco is big on size and big on versatility with three rows of seats. Although the car is on sale to other markets with five-seats, the Tarraco is only available as a seven-seater here in the UK.
The rear two seats fold flat to the boot floor when not being used and the second row has a 60:40 split with plenty of tilt and slide adjustment. In reality the pair of rear seats are only suitable for children or adults on really short journeys as legroom is restricted.
The Tarraco’s storage capabilities are impressive with a boot capacity that ranges from 230 litres when all seven seats are in use, increasing to 700 litres with the rear seats dropped down. When just the front seats are occupied the cargo limit rises to a whopping 1,775 litres. And there are plenty of handy storage compartments scattered throughout the car with a decent-sized glovebox, central cubby, trays, door bins, a sunnies holder and cup holders that are adjustable.
We tested two Tarraco models – a petrol and a diesel – both in XCELLENCE trim, on a lengthy road route with motorways, B roads and congested town centres and they each had their own individual appeal.
First up was the 2.0 TSI 190PS petrol model with seven-speed DSG automatic transmission and 4Drive. This car carried a £34,845 price-tag and could sprint to 62mph from a standing start in 8.0 seconds, maxing out at 131mph. Combined fuel economy is set at 29.7-31.0mpg (WLTP) with carbon emissions of 166g/km.
With a seemingly never-ending supply of power on tap, the petrol-driven model eats up the motorway miles with ease and cruises effortlessly at national speed limits. There is instant response from the engine out on the open country lanes too where short bursts of acceleration are needed to overtake slower moving vehicles and the steering wheel paddles mean you can have fun controlling the gear changes.
From a refinement point of view, the cabin is well insulated against engine and road surface noise, but the bulky design of the car means wind noise becomes more noticeable at higher speeds. Elsewhere, the suspension does a good job of ironing out the uneven bumps and dips along the way.
There is very little vibration through the cabin and the car feels beautifully controlled and composed into tight bends with minimal body sway. The high-seated driving position results in excellent all-round visibility which is a ‘must’ for any family car.
Next up was the 2.0 TDI 190PS diesel DSG with 4Drive priced at £36,330. This car also completes the 0-62mph sprint in 8.0 seconds and maxes out at 131mph but it achieves a combined 37.2-38.2mpg with CO2 of 147g/km.
Although the diesel-driven Tarraco was not as refined to drive as its petrol counterpart, it still offered ample power through the automatic gearbox. It is a noisier unit, but you are rewarded with more frugal running costs, so it has pros and cons.
To be honest, the all-new Tarraco is another excellent full-sized SUV to join the ever-expanding sector and it adds a sportier option to the mix.
And when you factor in the comprehensive list of features and driver aids that helped the car secure a maximum five star Euro NCAP safety rating, the Tarraco is the complete all-round package to take on the likes of the Kia Sorento, Nissan X-Trail and Renault Koleos.