SEAT Tarraco review
SEAT joins the seven-seat SUV market with the impressive and well-equipped Tarraco
Until now, if you fancied a seven-seat SEAT, your choice was limited to the Alhambra MPV, but the Tarraco is the company’s first SUV with seven seats. With a large boot and a generous level of equipment, it can comfortably meet the demands of a growing family, although the third row of seats – which are standard across the range – are best reserved for occasional use. The Tarraco is closely related to the Skoda Kodiaq, but the SEAT edges the Skoda in terms of styling and driver appeal, although it can’t match its Czech mate when it comes to practicality and flexibility. Pricing is more competitive and there's now a more comprehensive model line-up, offering logical progression in levels of equipment and power units.
In a very short space of time, SEAT has progressed from a company with no SUVs to having three for sale in dealers. The Tarraco sits at the top of the SUV family, above the compact Ateca and small Arona, and it’s closely related to the Kodiaq. Indeed, it sits on the same platform, but while the Kodiaq is focused on flexibility and practicality, the Tarraco has a sportier feel, as it sits 20mm lower than its Skoda counterpart.
That doesn’t make the Tarraco a sporty car, but as seven-seat SUVs go, it offers a fair amount of driver appeal. It feels good in corners and rides well over all surfaces, with only a limited level of body roll when cornering.
This is the first time that SEAT has offered seven seats in an SUV, and it presents a welcome alternative to the Alhambra MPV. That said, while the Alhambra is a full-size seven-seater that can be used in this format at all times, the third row of seats in the Tarraco are best reserved for children and early teens.
Still, at least the Tarraco will look better on the school run. Thanks to LED lighting at the front and rear, a bold corporate face and chunky SUV styling, the Tarraco is one of the best looking seven-seat SUVs on the market, especially in one of the Xcellence trims, which ride on 19- or 20-inch alloy wheels.
Be warned, though: the larger alloy wheels might look the part, but the Tarraco rides better on smaller wheels. There are a choice of petrol and diesel engines, with four-wheel drive available if you need it.
SEAT has now realigned the model range, reflecting a simpler line-up for buyers to engage with. SE and SE Technology make up the more affordable trims, followed by a choice of sportier or luxury versions, with the FR, FR Sport, Xcellence and Xcellence Lux.
Standard specification is high, with even SE cars offering metallic paint, LED headlights and rear lights, an eight-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, easy-fold rear seat system, rear parking sensors, auto lights and wipers and three Isofix points in the middle row.
Prices start from just over £29,000 for the SE 1.5-litre petrol, rising to over £41,000 for the FR Sport 190PS with DSG and 4Drive four-wheel drive. This edges the Tarraco into a higher rate of VED for the first five years you own it, which is something to consider when buying new.
There is no shortage of rivals for the SEAT Tarraco, with the Kodiaq, Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace, Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento offering seven seats for occasional use, while the Nissan X-Trail and Honda CR-V also have seven seats, but are a little tighter in the back.
Thanks to its large 700-litre boot, generous level of equipment and stylish good looks, the SEAT Tarraco can hold its own in a crowded market. But while it’s an impressive SUV, it doesn’t add anything new to the segment.
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingSEAT joins the seven-seat SUV market with the impressive and well-equipped Tarraco
- 2Engines, performance and driveNicer to drive than the Kodiaq, with the diesel engines delivering punchy performance
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsThe Tarraco is rather expensive to buy and the fuel economy figures are far from class-leading
- 4Interior, design and technologyA classy interior that’s loaded with kit helps to push the Tarraco into premium territory
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceIt’s not as practical as the Skoda Kodiaq, but the Tarraco is spacious in five-seat guise
- 6Reliability and SafetyA long list of safety equipment is available, but not all of it comes as standard