In-depth reviews

SEAT Tarraco review - Engines, performance and drive

The Tarraco is nicer to drive than the Kodiaq, with the diesel engines delivering punchy performance

For a seven-seat SUV, the SEAT Tarraco is remarkably good to drive, offering more driver appeal than the Skoda Kodiaq, even though it shares the same platform. It helps that the Tarraco sits 20mm lower to the ground, which means body roll is kept in check.

It means that you can change direction with confidence, with the responsive steering encouraging you to press on when cornering. Sure, it’s far from sporty, and we suspect the majority of customers won’t be placing dynamics too close to the top of the list of priorities.

You can select from four different driving modes – Normal, Sport, Eco or Individual – although we question the relevance of a Sport mode on a seven-seat SUV. We think it’s better to enjoy the Tarraco’s long suspension travel and revel in the soft and cushioning ride, especially if you’ve opted for an SE model with 17- and 18-inch alloy wheels. 

Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed

There are two petrol engines available: a turbocharged 148bhp 1.5 TSI, and a 2.0 TSI with either 187bhp or 242bhp. The entry-level 1.5-litre is equipped with a six-speed manual gearbox, while the range-topping 2.0-litre TSI only comes with a seven-speed DSG transmission and 4Drive four-wheel drive.

The 1.5-litre petrol can feel a little underpowered, especially when fully-laden, with only 250Nm of torque and all of the power available at the top end of the rev range. It’ll cover 0-62mph in a leisurely 9.9 seconds before hitting a top speed of 124mph. In comparison, the 187bhp 2.0-litre petrol feels more punchy, helped in no small part by 320Nm of torque. The 0-62mph time drops to 7.8 seconds and the top speed increases to 130mph.

Moving up to the 242bhp petrol model means you'll see 0-62mph dispatched in a rapid 6.2 seconds, with a 142mph maximum. Be warned, though, the four-wheel drive system and DSG transmission add weight, which serves to blunt the performance and makes the Tarraco feel less agile.

There are also two diesel options, both 2.0 TDI units, that are available with either 148bhp or 197bhp. The higher-powered oil-burner is the one we’d recommend if you intend to opt for four-wheel drive, while SEAT offers the lower-powered version with front-wheel-drive and the option of either a six-speed manual 'box or DSG auto transmission. With 340Nm and 400Nm of torque respectively, the two diesel engines have the pulling power required for a fully-laden SUV. 

Indeed, in 197bhp guise, the 2.0-litre diesel is as quick as the 187bhp 2.0-litre petrol, with a 0-62mph time of 7.8 seconds and a top speed of 130mph. In the 148bhp version, the figures are 10.2 seconds and 124mph in manual guise, or 10.1 seconds and 122mph when equipped with the DSG transmission.

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