SEAT Tarraco Review
The SEAT Tarraco is a practical, well-equipped seven-seater SUV with a durable cabin. It’s available with two good engines but is very similar to the Skoda Kodiaq.
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The SEAT Tarraco has a decent shout at fulfilling the brief “all the car you’ll ever need”. It has plenty of space for four adults and a couple more seats in the boot that kids will love. It’s also dead easy to drive and has a range of engines that won’t cost a fortune to run.
Its cabin is a true highlight. There’s nothing flashy about the design – in fact, it’s only a little fussier than the cabin you get in a Skoda Kodiaq – but it’s still very easy to use and feels durable. It also looks pretty high-tech because all models get a huge infotainment screen behind the steering wheel that’s only an option in the Skoda. It can transform into a big sat-nav map in all but basic models.
Whichever model you choose, the SEAT Tarraco is an easy car to get on with. Up front, you get loads of adjustment for the driver’s seat and steering wheel – so getting comfy is easy. Meanwhile, the middle row of seats has loads of room for two adults, in fact, even three won’t feel too crushed. The third row is only really suitable for kids mind you, and is a bit of a pain to access if you’re not as flexible as you once were. Unlike the very similar Skoda Kodiaq, the Tarraco is a seven-seater only.
The SEAT Tarraco is just as spacious for stuff as it is for people. You get loads of smaller storage bins scattered around the cabin and you can specify handy features like wireless phone charging.
Even the boot is well thought out. It has space for a small suitcase even with all the SEAT’s seats in use but, with only five seats in place, it’s massive – easily swallowing a set of suitcases without a second thought. Even big jobs are simple because all the back seats fold completely flat into the floor and the huge boot opening makes loading bulky items as hassle-free as possible.
The SEAT Tarraco SUV should really be called a 'Spacious Utility Vehicle' – it's absolutely massive inside
And that easy-going nature carries through to the way the SEAT Tarraco drives. Sure, there’s a bit of a blind spot over your shoulder but the view out the front is excellent and standard rear parking sensors make reversing that bit less nerve-wracking.
Move up the range and you can also have a rear-view camera or a 360-degree camera, which make tight manoeuvring even easier. Models from FR trim and upwards can also park themselves (you do the accelerator and brake while the car takes care of the steering).
That said, the SEAT Tarraco feels best as a long-distance cruiser. It’s quiet and comfortable on the motorway, calm and composed on winding country roads and gets important safety features like automatic emergency braking as standard.
A good mixture of economical petrol and diesel engines means there’s something for everyone and you can also choose to have four-wheel drive and a smooth-shifting automatic gearbox.
Of course all this adds to the price, but the SEAT Tarraco is still quite competitively priced – but check out our SEAT Tarraco deals to see how much you can save on one.
You won’t find an SUV that’s more practical than the SEAT Tarraco for less than £30,000 – except a Skoda Kodiaq.
Up front, there’s acres of room for tall adults and your driver’s seat and steering wheel offers a wide range of adjustment so it’s easy to get everything how you like it.
You can crank up the driver’s seat for a classic high-set SUV view of the road and – even with the panoramic sunroof fitted to mid-range models and above – you won’t run out of headroom. Electrical adjustment, however, only comes as standard on the top-of-the-range model.
There’s no electrical adjustment for the back seats but you can slide them forwards and backwards and recline the backrest a few degrees for added comfort. You can also choose from handy options like window blinds, or heated seats for the middle row (the outside ones, at least).
Every SEAT Tarraco has loads of room in the middle row so it doesn’t matter if you and your front passenger are tall because the people in the back will still have plenty of knee room. The harder centre seat isn’t quite as comfortable as the outer two, but there’s plenty of foot room and you can carry three adults without any major complaints.
The same cannot be said for the seats in the boot. Squeezing adults behind the middle row is a bit of palaver and once they’re in they’ll have to rely on your middle passengers sliding their seats forward to give them a little extra knee room. Unfortunately, you can’t do anything about the tight rear headroom. They’re perfect seats for kids, though.
The SEAT Tarraco’s interior is loaded with handy smaller storage areas that help you keep its cabin looking spick and span.
All the doors have huge pockets that’ll swallow a bottle of water and a lot more besides. In front of the gearstick, you get a rubberised tray for your phone complete with a USB plug, while top-end versions go one step further by offering wireless charging. The centre console also houses a couple of cup holders that are concealed under a sliding panel and there’s another storage area under the front centre armrest. There are folding picnic tables on the rear of the front seats, too.
One thing the SEAT Tarraco doesn’t have are the handy features – umbrellas hidden in the doors and an ice scraper concealed under the fuel cap – that you get in a Skoda Kodiaq.
Unlike some seven-seaters, the SEAT Tarraco does have some usable boot space even when all the seats are occupied. The 230-litre capacity is about the same as you get in a small city car such as a VW Up! so you should have enough room for a cabin case or a few bags of shopping.
Fold away the third row, though, and the Tarraco’s load-lugging ability jumps to a significant 700 litres. That’s enough for a set of suitcases with space left over for several soft bags.
Fold the middle row away and you’ll hit a maximum capacity of 1,775 litres, which means the Tarraco is more than capable of big jobs like trips to Ikea and it’ll swallow an adult’s bike with its wheels on. Even bulky items are easy to load because the boot opening is huge and unobstructed, there’s no load lip to have to lift things over and the boot floor is completely flat even with all the seats folded away.
The SEAT Tarraco takes the stress out of long journeys and gives you a good choice of engines. But SEAT’s claims that it is genuinely sporty are a little wide of the mark.
The SEAT Tarraco is available with a choice of two engines – one petrol and one diesel.
The 150hp 1.5-litre petrol is a cracking option – depending on what kind of driving you do. It’s quiet, smooth and quick enough once you’re under way, aided by a slick-to-use six-speed manual gearbox. It gets from 0-62mph in 9.9 seconds and returns fuel economy of 39mpg.
If you’ll do lots of long journeys or will often have the car fully loaded, the diesel will be a better option. The 150hp 2.0-litre model is a brilliant all-rounder that returns fuel economy of 50mpg and gets from 0-62mph in 10.2 seconds. On the motorway, it feels punchier than the petrol models, plus you can have it with four-wheel-drive and SEAT’s smooth shifting seven-speed automatic gearbox.
SEAT markets the Tarraco as an SUV that is genuinely sporty to drive, but this doesn’t feel the case in reality. Around tight corners it’ll feel a touch more enthusiastic than a Skoda Kodiaq but, in general, the whole experience is so numb it’s hard to derive an awful lot of pleasure from it. It doesn’t get close to genuine sporty SUVs such as the BMW X3, Porsche Macan or even the Cupra Ateca from SEAT’s sub-brand.
Compared with other family SUVs though, the Tarraco makes a much better case for itself because body lean is well contained and it remains unflustered by whatever you throw at it. You can build on this jack-of-all-trades character by specifying the optional DCC dampers, which let you firm up the suspension in bends for more control before loosening it off for more comfort on bumpy roads.
Even with the fancy dampers, the Tarraco feels most comfortable on the motorway. At these higher speeds it smooths out bumps well and the cabin is pretty quiet. Xcellence models and above come with active cruise control as standard which effectively hands the job of braking and accelerating over to the car.
Xcellence models also come with a reversing camera as standard, making it that bit easier to get the big Tarraco tucked away into tight town parking spaces.
Move one step up to Xcellence Lux and you get a handy 360-degree camera, which gives you an overhead view of the car – handy for preserving the alloy wheels. Even without all this fancy kit, though, the Tarraco isn’t hard to drive in the city thanks to its light controls and standard rear parking sensors. It’s also good to know that all models come with automatic emergency brakes that’ll slam on if the car detects an imminent collision.
The SEAT Tarraco has a logical dashboard, infotainment that’s easy to operate and a cabin that’s well built but not flashy. However, the overall design is a tad fussy.