Seat Tar­raco

Big seven-seat SUV joins the fray

Autocar - - THIS WEEK - STEVE CRO­P­LEY @Stvcr

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

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