- Certainly doesn’t drive like a seven-seater
- Stylish design and packed with tech
- Competitively priced with a choice of engines, transmissions and trim levels
- As with most seven-seaters, space in the rear two seats is very limited
- The ride can be a little firm
- Price for the range-topping FR Sport model is fairly high
The SEAT Tarraco was launched back in 2019 and completes SEAT’s SUV line-up following on from the smaller Arona and mid-sized Ateca models. Initially it was launched with trim levels called SE, SE Technology, XCELLENCE and XCELLENCE LUX but we were promised sportier FR and FR Sport versions a little later on.
Two years down the line, we have those sport derivatives and they certainly bring a certain edge to the mix with larger wheels and a wealth of sporty design cues.
The SUV scene is fiercely competitive but with an extensive choice of engines, including plug-in hybrid versions, manual or auto gearboxes, front or all-wheel drive and a range of well-equipped trim levels, there will be a Tarraco to suit all requirements and budgets.
And it brings seven-seat versatility to the arena too.
On The Road
There are trims, transmissions and powertrains to suit all requirements in the SEAT Tarraco line-up, but we opted for the high-end FR Sport specification. This car was powered by a 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine delivering 200PS and 400Nm of torque. It could sprint from 0-62mph in 7.8 seconds and maxed out at 130mph – not bad for a high-sided SUV with room for seven occupants.
And if you want a little more zip, the car is available with the same engine, but delivering 245PS which adds an extra £1,100 to the starting price.
However, our car was certainly powerful enough and offered excellent acceleration through the seven-speed automatic gearbox with steering wheel-mounted paddles for added driver fun.
On motorways, the Tarraco quickly reaches 70mph and cruises with ease at that speed. The cabin is nicely refined, although there is a little wind, road surface and engine noise at higher speeds.
I was really impressed with how agile the vehicle was in built-up city centres. It coped well with lots of stop/start driving and the excellent driver visibility, along with some help from the self-parking system, will make you look an expert when squeezing into a tight parking space.
All controls are easy to operate on the fly and it’s a car you quickly feel at home with.
The SEAT Tarraco may not be the most dynamic car you’ll ever drive, but it is impressive for its size with performance not compromised for practicality.
With 4Drive it can cope with any of Mother Nature’s mood swings and there are drive modes called Eco, Normal, Sport, Individual, Off-road and Snow. So, this car is equipped for any adverse driving conditions along the way.
It’s certainly worth exploring the more exciting Sport mode though as it sharpens up the car’s responses for a more rewarding driving performance. Basically, the Tarraco is a car of many moods to suit your needs.
It feels well balanced through the country lanes and offers confident grip levels provided tighter bends are given some respect. In addition, the nicely weighted and precise steering offers ample driver feedback.
If you do attack bends too enthusiastically, then expect some body lean, but generally the ride and handling are nicely controlled with the suspension system doing a worthy job of smoothing out the rougher surfaces.
That said; our test car was riding on large 20-inch alloys, so larger bumps did send quite a shudder through the cabin. If more comfort is a top requirement, then the Tarraco does come with wheels from 17-inches upwards.
The SEAT Tarraco shares many of its underpinnings with its VW stablemate, the Skoda Kodiaq, but SEAT has certainly stamped its own identity on the car. It boasts much crisper, sharper and angled lines and creases, there is a prominent and distinctive grille, full LED headlights that feature the company’s triangular signature and a hidden exhaust pipe.
The FR Sport model, as tested, added a sports bumper, dark tinted rear windows, black roof rails, a roof spoiler, black door mirrors and 20-inch Cosmo Grey machined alloy wheels.
Move inside and the first thing you notice are the power-operated leather sports seats and flat-bottomed steering wheel. A horizontal line spans the length of the dashboard to emphasise the width of the vehicle and there are lots of soft-touch materials and decorative trimmings to raise the interior quality levels.
The sunroof, which was an option on the car, allowed light to flood into the cabin.
All the controls, dials and readouts are perfectly positioned for ease of use and the cabin has a nice, simplistic layout. But there is a wealth of on-board technology to get your teeth into. And special mention to the highly-efficient cruise control set-up which is very easy to set up and adjust on the fly.
In The Car
Behind the Wheel
With a good range of powered driver’s seat and manual steering wheel adjustment it’s easy to get comfy in the Tarraco and there are memory buttons to store the settings.
With the elevated seating position, the driver benefits from excellent all-round visibility – this is essential on any vehicle, but especially so with a model that will likely feature regularly on the school run with cars and children darting out from all angles.
Despite being fitted with sports seats, the Tarraco FR Sport offers high levels of comfort even on lengthier journeys and there are heated front and outer rear seats to fend off the winter chill.
Features include a smart eight-inch floating touchscreen where the likes of the navigation system, DAB radio, Bluetooth and eight-speaker sound system are accessed.
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 top view and rear-view camera, park assist, plus keyless-entry-and-go with electric tailgate and virtual pedal.
A 10.25-inch high-resolution digital driver cluster behind the steering wheel is fully customisable and the separate panel for the climate control functions is another well thought-out feature as it avoids driver distraction.
Space & Practicality
The SEAT Tarraco is a five-door SUV that has seven-seat practicality. When not in use, the rear two seats fold flat to the boot floor, but they can be raised when needed in a matter of seconds. Like most seven-seaters, gaining access to these rear seats can be a bit of a scramble and ideally, they are suitable for children due to the limited leg room.
The Tarraco is a big old beast stretching 4,735mm in length and 1,839mm across. It is 1,665mm high and has a wheelbase of 2,790mm. The cabin is roomy with ample space for a trio of adults in the second row. Headroom and legroom are impressive and with long, wide windows they will all have a nice view of what’s going on.
The boot, which is accessed via a powered tailgate, can accommodate 230 litres of kit with all seven seats in use. Drop the pair of rear seats and that limit increases to 700 litres. With only the front seats in use, the storage capacity rises to a whopping 1,775 litres.
There are plenty of convenient storage options scattered throughout the car too, including deep door bins with a bottle holder compartment, trays for a mobile phone with charging ports, a central cubby box beneath the sliding front armrest, adjustable cup holders in the front and two more in the fold-down armrest in row two, a glovebox and handy trays in the backs of the front seats.
The Tarraco with 4WD can tow a trailer or caravan weighing up to 2.3 tonnes.
The SEAT Tarraco line-up is priced from £30,080 for the entry-level SE model and rises to £43,350 for the high-end FR Sport 2.0 TDI 4Drive DSG model, similar to the one we tested but with 245PS rather than the 200PS on our car.
The test car was priced at £42,250, although an optional panoramic sunroof (£995) and tow bar with hook (£710) increased the final cost to £43,930.
This car was powered by a 2.0-litre diesel engine and, according to official WLTP figures, could deliver a combined 40.4-42.8mpg with carbon emissions of 173g/km.
This CO2 figure would result in a first year Vehicle Excise Duty charge of £895 dropping to the standard rate of £155 after 12 months. But there is some bad news for buyers because the car costs more than £40k which makes it subject to a Government Premium Rate levy that adds a further £335 to the cost for five years.
For business users, the car has a Benefit in Kind tax rating of 37 per cent and the SEAT Tarraco FR Sport 2.0 TDI 4Drive 200PS DSG model, as tested, sits in insurance group 28.
Quality & Reliability
SEAT tends to do reasonably well when it comes to customer satisfaction surveys and often features in the top half of the table of manufacturers.
Its parent company is VW so the car does feature lots of tried and tested kit, but still very much maintains its own unique identity.
It feels solid in its build and the leather upholstery on the test car felt high-end and should survive the test of time. It was also black which is a sensible choice as most seven seaters will be ferrying lots of children about and that means plenty of spills along the way. With that in mind, there’s lots of wipe-clean surfaces which will be practical.
For added peace of mind, the SEAT Tarraco is supplied with a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty. That warranty is fairly standard across the board, although the likes of Kia, Toyota, Hyundai and SsangYong do offer more attractive packages.
Safety & Security
The SEAT Tarraco was awarded a maximum five-star rating when tested in 2019 for its Euro NCAP safety rating, gaining a 97 per cent score for adult occupant safety, 84 per cent for child occupants, 79 per cent for vulnerable road users and 79 per cent for safety assist.
The standard features include the likes of front assist with city emergency braking and pedestrian detection, anti-lock brakes, traction control, stability control and an electronic differential lock system. There is a full suite of airbags, lane assist, tyre pressure monitoring, hill hold control, Isofix fixtures and a driver condition monitor.
An emergency e-Call system is fitted across the range, that works via a built-in eSIM. The emergency services will be contacted in the event of an accident and vital information such as the car’s GPS position will be relayed along with the engine type and the number of occupants.
As you move up through the trim levels, the car gains a few additional safety features, including adaptive cruise control with speed limiter, park assist self-parking, a rearview camera and a top view camera.
It’s also worth noting that the test car featured SEAT’s 4Drive all-wheel drive system to cope with more adverse driving and weather conditions.
The car is fitted with a high-end alarm system and immobiliser to keep thieves at bay.
It’s a fact that the demand for SUVs is showing no sign of letting up and why would it? Owners get practical models that are neatly designed, packed with tech and feel exceptionally safe too. The SEAT Tarraco is another model that is certainly worth adding to your ‘to test drive’ list.