New SEAT Tarraco prototype review

Early verdict as we drive a prototype version of the seven-seat SEAT Tarraco SUV

The SEAT Tarraco is shaping up to be a strong seven-seat SUV, offering just enough sportiness without compromising comfort. It blends this with more tech inside and practicality to push rivals in this sector. Pricing and efficiency will be key, but with SEAT’s sporty edge and sense of style, the signs are positive.

The Volkswagen Group’s rather predictable approach to new products means it’s now SEAT’s turn to offer a family-friendly seven-seatSUV. It’s called the Tarraco, and we’ve driven it in prototype form before it’s unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in October.

Think of this as SEAT’s rival to the Skoda Kodiaq and Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace. Tough competition, then, but SEAT has form when it comes to seven-seaters. The brand’s Alhambra MPV was a stalwart of the class for years, but with traditional MPV sales waning and seven-seat SUVs on the rise, the Tarraco is the car that aims to mix practicality and versatility with style. And it delivers.

• Best 4x4s and SUVs on sale

Even in camouflaged form, you get a hint of how the new car looks – its proportions and the lines of the body.

In the here and now, the Tarraco drives as you’d expect from a car based on the VW Group’s MQB platform, but is subtly different to its in-house rivals. It’s aiming to be the sportiest car in its class, and this shows. Responsive steering makes it feel pointy and direction changes are positive, while the chassis set-up controls roll well, giving a good level of agility for something so big.

However, this slightly sportier focus hasn’t compromised ride quality. Our test models weren’t equipped with the optional adaptive dampers, but on 19-inch wheels, it felt compliant – more forgiving than an Ateca, in fact. This is no doubt helped by the car’s extra weight and the longer wheelbase – making the ride less fidgety.

Our first taste of the Tarraco was behind the wheel of the 148bhp 1.5-litre TSI turbo petrol with a six-speed manual, which is a known quantity. It delivered adequate performance in a car this size (0-62mph takes a claimed 9.7 seconds) and strong refinement at speed.

But despite the slightly sportier set-up, it’s not all that quick due to the sizeable body mass. While many drivers won’t need more pace, if you do, the 187bhp 2.0-litre TDI is a strong performer. The 0-62mph dash takes 8.0 seconds – 4DRIVE offers good traction and more off-road ability than many owners will ever require, as we sampled.

Best seven-seat cars available

It’s not as refined as the petrol version, but the extra torque on offer gives more flexibility as it’s also paired with a seven-speed DSG automatic.

Any seven-seater has to offer flexibility inside, too. While the Tarraco will come in both five and seven-seat versions, in the latter the room in the third row is adequate but mainly for children. With the third row folded, there are 700 litres of luggage space on offer – which increases to 760 litres if you go for the five-seat model.

Most Popular

Driving test update to preserve the manual gearbox
Dacia Duster gear lever
News

Driving test update to preserve the manual gearbox

With more drivers learning in autos and electric cars, the DVSA is looking to update the driving test so people can still drive manuals in future
16 Jun 2021
Ineos Grenadier prototype 2022 review
Ineos Grenadier prototype
Ineos Grenadier 4x4

Ineos Grenadier prototype 2022 review

Can the Ineos Grenadier really fill the mud-splattered void left by the old Land Rover Defender? We take a first drive in a prototype to find out...
15 Jun 2021
New 2021 Vauxhall Astra to offer plug-in hybrid power
Vauxhall Astra render
Vauxhall Astra

New 2021 Vauxhall Astra to offer plug-in hybrid power

The new Vauxhall Astra will get a plug-in hybrid powertrain and a more premium image - here’s how it could look
17 Jun 2021
Illegal car modification hotspots revealed
Volkswagen Polo exhaust
News

Illegal car modification hotspots revealed

Gloucestershire has the highest proportion of illegal car modifications, with altered number plates the most common breach
14 Jun 2021
Tesla Model 3 police car all set for evaluation by UK emergency services
Tesla Model 3 police car - front
News

Tesla Model 3 police car all set for evaluation by UK emergency services

Tesla hopes to offer UK police forces a new zero-emission emergency responder option with the Model 3 police car
17 Jun 2021
New Renault Arkana 2021 review
Renault Arkana - front
Renault Arkana

New Renault Arkana 2021 review

Does an eye-catching coupe-SUV body give the new Renault Arkana the edge over other mid-size SUVs? We find out...
16 Jun 2021
New Vauxhall Astra prototype review
Vauxhall Astra prototype - front
Vauxhall Astra

New Vauxhall Astra prototype review

A new Vauxhall Astra is on the way and we've driven a prototype ahead of its official arrival
14 Jun 2021
UN report highlights ethical problems with electric cars
Electric car charging
News

UN report highlights ethical problems with electric cars

Analysis reveals lithium refining takes 65 per cent of Chilean region’s water, while 40,000 child miners dig for cobalt in DRC
14 Jun 2021
New Nissan Qashqai 2021 review
Nissan Qashqai 2021
Nissan Qashqai

New Nissan Qashqai 2021 review

We get behind the wheel of the larger, more comfortable and higher-tech Nissan Qashqai SUV in the UK
16 Jun 2021
New Porsche 911 GT3 Touring tones down the styling
Porsche 911 GT3 Touring - front
Porsche 911

New Porsche 911 GT3 Touring tones down the styling

The optional Touring package aims to bring a few creature comforts to the track-focused Porsche 911 GT3
15 Jun 2021
Dacia unveils new badge design
Dacia badge
Dacia

Dacia unveils new badge design

The new Dacia branding will feature on the company’s cars from 2022, with the Bigster being the first candidate
17 Jun 2021
'I was cynical about Hyundai's aim to be the world's 2nd biggest carmaker, not now'
Opinion Genesis Hyundai Ioniq
Opinion

'I was cynical about Hyundai's aim to be the world's 2nd biggest carmaker, not now'

Steve Fowler is impressed by Hyundai's electric cars, its N division and now its luxury Genesis brand
16 Jun 2021
New SsangYong Korando e-Motion breaks cover with electric power
SsangYong Korando EV
Electric cars

New SsangYong Korando e-Motion breaks cover with electric power

The new SsangYong Korando compact electric SUV will be on sale later in 2021, says the financially stricken South Korean manufacturer
15 Jun 2021
Motorists think they can get away with driving offences due to lack of road police
police speed gun
News

Motorists think they can get away with driving offences due to lack of road police

Lack of road traffic police officers in the UK is making it easy for drivers to break the law, according to a survey of 15,500 British motorists
16 Jun 2021