Big seven-seat SUV joins the fray
Seat is getting ever keener on SUVS, for the good reason that European demand for them is due to grow another 25% between now and 2025. In February the company will be fielding a threemodel SUV line-up when a new seven-seater flagship, the Tarraco, joins the Arona and Ateca.
The Tarraco comes in two and four-wheel-drive guises, starting at £28,320 for a 148bhp 1.5-litre frontdrive petrol turbo SE and reaching up to around £40,000 for the topspec 187bhp, 2.0 4x4 petrol turbo Xcellence. Other engine choices are 148bhp and 187bhp diesels.
Where fitted, the 4Drive all-wheel drive system is configurable for on and off-road via a control on the centre console and incorporates hill descent control and roll-over protection. The basic front-drive model comes with a six-speed manual gearbox, but all-wheel-drive versions use the Volkswagen Group’s seven-speed dual clutch automatic.
There are two main trim levels, SE and Xcellence, each enhanced by launch editions and extra equipment packs. The bottom line is that even the most basic Tarraco is well equipped and all models look like decent value against rivals.
The Tarraco, an imposing machine at 4.75m long, is unashamedly linked with VW and Skoda SUV models. Like its siblings, the Tarraco is a capable family car, adequately quick and responsive with any powertrain. The seats are firm but comfortable and there’s a wide array of equipment plus appealing trim materials that vary from durable-looking fabrics to full-on leather. All UK models are seven-seaters, although it’s fairer to describe them as a ‘5+2s’. But the Tarraco is compact enough for a suburban life, which is a vital point.
The big Seat shrinks as you drive, a compliment to its taut and neutralhandling chassis. All versions are refined (apart from wind noise around the door mirrors). The steering offers classy feel and the chassis’ rolling comfort is impressive. We drove three versions – the base model and the top diesel and petrol versions – and found, somewhat perversely, that the quietest of all was the front-wheel-drive 148bhp petrol model with 17in alloys. If wheel size matters for you, top Tarracos come with wheels up to 21in.
Seat knows it’s a latecomer in this market but believes it can do well with a contender that’s not only as strong as any on practicality grounds but also livelier than most in terms of style and character.
Equipment count is good on even basic models; seats are firm but comfy