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Large SUV of the Year 2020: SEAT Tarraco

The SEAT Tarraco is the 2020 Auto Express Large SUV of the Year, with the Kia Sorento and Skoda Kodiaq commended

If you’ve got a growing family and need a seven-seat car, these days it’s an SUV you’ll be looking at, rather than a conventional MPV – and the SEAT Tarraco is yet again the best large SUV on sale.

SEAT has broadened the range, with even more engine and trim combinations now available, but every version offers the same appealing blend of attributes that made this seven-seat SUV a success in our 2019 awards. With even more choice available for buyers, it’s now an even stronger proposition in 2020.

Based on the VW Group’s MQB platform – the same tech that underpins the Skoda Octavia and Superb models that have also taken honours in this year’s awards so far – there’s enough space in the rear row for kids, or even for adults on shorter journeys.

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Many owners might only use these back-row chairs occasionally, but it’s nice to know you have the flexibility if you need it. The middle row offers a good amount of legroom and can be moved forward or backward to maximise this or increase boot space to a total of 700 litres if you need it for bikes, scooters or anything else the kids might want to bring with them.

There are still 230 litres available with all seven seats in place (that’s more than in rivals such as the Skoda Kodiaq), while the balance between the quality and robustness of the materials inside means the Tarraco should easily put up with the rough and tumble of family life without feeling cheap.

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But it’s not expensive, either. Entry-level SE trim is superbly equipped for the money, with full-LED headlights, a 10.25-inch digital dash, an eight-inch colour touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, three-zone climate control and parking sensors. Even metallic paint is included.

Safety kit includes autonomous braking with collision warning and pedestrian detection, as well as lane-assist. These features are key to a large family SUV like the Tarraco and should offer plenty of peace of mind.

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It should be efficient to run, too, with claimed economy of 48.7mpg and CO2 emissions of 151g/km for our choice.

Our choice

SEAT Tarraco 2.0 TDI 150 SE (£31,765)

Keep it simple and go for the two-wheel-drive 148bhp 2.0 TDI manual. The extra torque of the diesel will help when loaded up with passengers, while its CO2 emissions are lower than the 1.5 TSI 150 petrol’s. SE trim gets everything you’d need, as we’ve seen.

Commended

Kia Sorento

The all-new Sorento offers hybrid power in this class for strong efficiency. There are some superbly simple touches – such as the folding/sliding mechanism for the middle-row seats – that will make the Sorento superbly easy to live with. It can’t beat the SEAT’s value though.

Skoda Kodiaq

The Skoda uses similar tech to the SEAT when it comes to the platform and engines. It’s arguably a little more comfortable and takes a slightly more pragmatic approach than its Spanish cousin if ultimate practicality is what you’re really after from a large SUV.

New Car Awards 2020: the winners

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Sean’s been writing about cars since 2010, having worked for outlets as diverse as PistonHeads, MSN Cars, Which? Cars, Race Tech – a specialist motorsport publication – and most recently Auto Express and sister titles Carbuyer and DrivingElectric

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