4.3 out of 5 4.3
Parkers overall rating: 4.3 out of 5 4.3

The seven-seater that doesn't drive like a seven-seater

SEAT Tarraco SUV (18 on) - rated 4.3 out of 5
Enlarge 42 photos

At a glance

New price £29,140 - £40,395
Lease from new From £322 p/m View lease deals
Used price £15,010 - £28,325
Used monthly cost From £375 per month
Fuel Economy 29.7 - 48.7 mpg
Road tax cost £150 - £475
Insurance group 18 - 30 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

  • Excellent infotainment and connectivity
  • Handles well for a large SUV
  • Quick steering and sporty drive

CONS

  • Firm ride might be off-putting for some
  • Rearmost seats are tight for adults
  • Entry-level petrol engine feels underpowered

SEAT Tarraco SUV rivals

Written by Keith Adams on

Sitting at the top of the Spanish carmaker’s range is the seven-seater SEAT Tarraco, a relative newcomer to the large SUV market that should tick all the boxes for many family car buyers. It also completes SEAT’s SUV line-up alongside the popular Arona and Ateca.

Not only is the Tarraco up against the spacious Peugeot 5008 and the distinctive-looking Hyundai Santa Fe, it also has two close cousins to contend with in the forms of the Skoda Kodiaq and Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace. Make no mistake, the Tarraco, Tiguan and Kodiaq are very closely aligned – all three sharing the Volkswagen Group's same long-wheelbase underpinnings and much of their mechanical components.

This is good news for anyone interested in buying a SEAT Tarraco, as there's so much shared with its Volkswagen and Skoda sister cars. The benefit for buyers being that although it's quite new, it's based on tried and tested tech, with any issues already ironed out.

Plenty of engines available

It’s no shock to learn that the engines and gearboxes found under the skin of the Tarraco can be found in a number of other cars from the Volkswagen Group stable. Not that there's anything wrong with that, 1.5-litre petrol reliability wobbles aside.

That means there’s the aforementioned 1.5-litre TSI petrol in manual and DSG automatic forms with 150hp kicking off the range, while a more powerful 190hp 2.0-litre TSI with 4Drive all-wheel drive and a DSG automatic gearbox is available, too.

For diesel lovers, there are 150hp and 190hp versions of a familiar 2.0-litre TDI unit, the latter of which comes exclusively with 4Drive and DSG. The 150hp version has a bit more flexibility with a choice of gearboxes – however if you want 4Drive you automatically get the DSG gearbox – no manual version is offered.

The Tarraco is the sportier of the VW Group trio, with slightly lower suspension and large 20-inch alloy wheels available higher up the range. In reality, it doesn’t feel massively different to drive to the other two, however it does feel a little firmer on rough surfaces, has more responsive steering and doesn’t have the option of adaptive suspension like the Kodiaq and Tiguan – so it’s worth checking its comfort levels are good enough for you.

The rest of the time it’s a refined and quiet ride, with the 2.0-litre engines proving more than strong enough to haul the Tarraco along, however it’s the 1.5 TSI that’s the expected best-seller.

Trim levels and specification

The Tarraco’s trim levels are easy to understand – following the firm’s ‘Easy Move’ structure where you simply get the next trim level up if you want more equipment. You can’t add optional extras and you don’t have to pay for metallic paint.

The line-up consists of entry-level SE, moving up through SE Technology, Xcellence and Xcellence Lux to begin with. The FR version was added to the range in 2020 with some sportier touches inside and out, including machined alloy wheels, bucket sports seats and a larger infotainment screen.

Impressively practical interior

The Tarraco is all about being family friendly with a spacious interior, and it delivers in this regard – to a degree. Seven seats come as standard across the whole Tarraco range, but it’s more of a 5+2 rather than a full seven-seater. Much in the way the Tiguan Allspace is – you’ll want the Skoda Kodiaq out of the three as it has slightly more space and larger rear side windows.

If, however, you’ll be using it as a five-seater with a big boot, you won’t be disappointed. There’s ample head and legroom in the first two rows, plenty of Isofix points, a sliding middle row and a large boot with space to store the load cover. There’s also additional extra storage throughout with large cubbyholes, cupholders and storage areas.

Is the SEAT Tarraco a safe family SUV?

Not only did the Tarraco score a five-star rating when it was crash-tested by Euro NCAP at the start of 2019, its adult occupancy result of 97% is particularly impressive. The excellent score is attributed to the strength of the SEAT's body, as well as the raft of electronic crash-mitigation technology it's bristling with.

Tarraco PHEV and FR models added for 2020

In a bid to become more eco-friendly, a plug-in hybrid Tarraco joins the range in 2020, powered by a 1.4-litre TSI petrol in combination with an electric motor. Total power output is 245hp, with 400Nm of torque available - matching that of the diesel. All-electric range is claimed to be around 31 miles, with CO2 emissions rated at below 50g/km. 

In an attempt to give the Tarraco more showwoom appeal, SEAT added new FR trims, which are styled more aggressively inside and out, but without any changes to the engine power.

Click through the next few pages to read everything you need to know about the SEAT Tarraco including its practicality, how much it costs to run, what it's like to drive – and whether we recommend buying one.

SEAT Tarraco SUV rivals