Need a family SUV with seven seats? Bored by what's on offer? SEAT hopes you'll like its offering, the Tarraco. You get Volkswagen Group engineering, sharp styling, plenty of interior space and, the Iberian maker hopes, a dash of Spanish flair. Which this car will need to stand out in its segment.
SEAT says it's put a lot of work into driving feedback so that this car will feel 'sportier' than its rivals. The same people who made its smaller Ateca stablemate so alert and nimble claim to have repeated their magic here, with sharp steering and supple multi-link rear suspension which can be enhanced with optional 'ACC' adaptive damping. The Tarraco offers four direct injection turbocharged engines, two of them petrol, two diesel. Predictably, we've seen them all before in various VW Group models, things kicking off with a 1.5-litre petrol TSI unit mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox and front-wheel drive. The alternative mainstream petrol option, the 190PS 2.0-litre TSI unit, comes only in high spec guise with a 7-speed DSG auto 'box and 4WD. There's also a PHEV Plug-in hybrid variant available, which mates a 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine with an 85kW electric motor and a 13 kWh lithium-ion battery pack.
Both the diesels are 2.0 TDI unit, the choice being between a 150PS powerplant with front wheel drive and a 190PS variant with 4WD. If you're regularly going to be using the third seating row and really loading the car up, then the extra grunt of the pokier powerplants will obviously be useful. The 4WD system that these pricier powertrains offer is, as usual in this class, of the 'on-demand' variety, cutting in when a loss of traction is detected. Predictably, the AWD isn't there to enable any sort of prodigious level of off road prowess; there isn't really the ground clearance for that. Instead, this Tarraco is very firmly tarmac-orientated, like SEAT's other SUVs.
SEAT Design boss Alejandro Mesonero says that the styling of this Tarraco gives 'a hint' to the company's future styling direction. By that, he presumably means that the slightly different design approach that this SUV features in its headlamps and front grille will in future be replicated on other models. The Spaniard claims that the aesthetics will make 'a strong first impression'; you may disagree. What's not up for debate though is that this is a fairly substantial thing by class standards. Measuring in a 4,735mm long and 1,658mm tall, it's 38mm longer than its Skoda Kodiaq class cousin.
That and the 2.8m wheelbase facilitate a roomy cabin. And quite a sophisticated-looking one, thanks primarily to a 10.25-inch digital instrument binnacle and the placement of a 'floating' 8-inch infotainment screen on top of the dashboard. The 10.25-inch digital instrument display you'll view through the steering wheel allows drivers to access everything from classic information found on analogue dials to full-colour maps and navigation. Controlling the information provided is simple and requires the driver to merely press the steering wheel-mounted 'View' control button to scroll through the three different available main displays. What else? Well 2nd row seat room is aided by that long wheelbase, but the third row will suit children only. Out back, there's 700-litre of luggage space, which increases to 1,775-litres when all the seats are folded.
The Tarraco won't make anything like the same impact its smaller Ateca stablemate did when it was launched back in 2016, but it does bring something of that model's dynamic feel to a market segment that really needs a more dynamically-orientated product.
We don't think the styling's especially dynamic but that's a subjective call. What can't be denied is that there's a lot to like here for larger families wanting a spacious 7-seat mid-sized SUV with a sportier demeanour: agile handling, state-of-the-art technology, versatility, functionality and plenty of cabin space. Mind you, every other rival in this segment claims to have all these attributes too. It'll be interesting to see how the Tarraco slots in to its sector. Over to you.Click here to find out more about our SEAT Tarraco range