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Seat Tarraco review 2020

The Tarraco is Seat’s flagship spacious seven-seat SUV which shares much with the Skoda Kodiaq and Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace.

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4
Out of 5

Pros

  • Strong 2.0-litre diesel engine
  • Good depreciation
  • Excellent handling

Cons

  • Limited leg room in third row
  • Top spec models expensive
  • Firm ride
  • MPG

    38 - 57

  • CO2

    123 - 166 g/km

Model review

The Tarraco was launched in 2019 as Seat’s flagship SUV model. It’s only available as a seven-seater and has been designed to be spacious and practical, as well as being versatile enough to take mum, dad and enough kids for five-a-side football team.

Interestingly, the name Tarraco isn’t the dreamchild of some hipster designer or one that’s been forced through by a team of creative types. It actually originates from the Mediterranean city Tarragona, and it was given the name after being put to a public vote. In fact, more than 140,000 people voted for the name.

It’s got much in common with the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace and is very similar to its other VW Group sibling, the Skoda Kodiaq, and it completes Seat’s SUV line-up alongside the Arona and Ateca.

Current model

The current model is brand new to the Seat range, but what’s great is that most of the tech is tried and tested across the Volkswagen Group. It also looks very fresh-faced and modern compared to some of its rivals which are starting to show their age now. Especially if you look higher up the range, some of the models with larger wheels look very premium indeed.

But despite only being on sale for a short period of time, Seat has already added to the line-up. Changes include the introduction of sporty FR and FR Sport versions, while Seat the firm added a new front-wheel-drive 1.5-litre petrol option to range at the end of 2019, too.

Seat is also introducing a new plug-in hybrid version to the Tarraco range, which pairs a turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol engine together with an electric motor and 13kWh battery. It will offer the best performance and efficiency of any version, along with having a electric range of more than 30 miles. This will be introduced later in 2020.

Value for money

There’s no question the Tarraco offers good value for money, however it is more expensive than rivals from Peugeot and Skoda. The good news is that it should retain more of its value than most of the competition, so that should help with anyone looking to buy on PCP.

Prices start from £28,970 for the Tarraco, which makes it more expensive than the Skoda Kodiaq, though it comes with more kit as standard. These lesser trim levels make the most sense, because the high-spec versions can be expensive – costing up to £40,000, which is a lot of money.

While the Tarraco is still a new model, there are still some great savings available. For example, we saw a one-year-old example for sale with 10,000 miles on the clock for £19,000, which is a big saving off the list price. That price applies to an entry-level SE version, with high-spec Xcellence versions being the most decriable. These versions can be had from around £22,000.

Looks and image

One thing’s for sure, the Tarraco is a head turner in this class. Its sharp lines and the sleek taillights will certainly make it stand out from the rest of the cars on the school run. Even more so if you opt for one of the higher spec Xcellence models with bigger alloy wheels.

The Tarraco has more of a sportier image too compared to the Skoda, with that being helped by its 20mm lower ride height, but don’t be fooled into thinking this is a Sports SUV.

The interior quality is also to a high standard, with plenty of technology offered as standard. It perfectly combines a premium feel with everyday sturdiness, which is ideal for a family car.

Space and practicality

One of the key areas of interest with a seven-seat SUV is space, and while you do get an extra pair of seats in the boot, it’s not as roomy as some of the competition.

With all the seats in place, there’s 230 litres of boot space available, which grows to 700-litres with the third row folded down, and when all the rear seats are folded flat this grows to 1,775-litres.

Up front there’s ample room for tall drivers and passengers and it’s much the same case in the middle row too, even if you opt for the panoramic sunroof. Plus, the middle seats cam recline too, should those passengers fancy a little nap on route.

The third row of seats though are pretty poor, space-wise though. They’re really only suitable for children, and some of the rivals out there, like the Kodiaq, offer much more space.

  

Engines

There are five powertrains available from launch, which includes two petrol and three diesels, and while there were no hybrids available from the start, a plug-in hybrid version is planned for later in 2020.

On the petrol front, from there’s a manual 1.5-litre TSI unit with 148bhp as well as a four-wheel drive 2.0-litre TSI engine with 187bhp. The latter being available with a manual or DSG gearbox. The lower-powered petrol unit is, unsurprisingly, the cheapest in the range, and while it’s suitable for town driving, it does feel a little underpowered when it’s fully loaded with people or luggage. Having said that, it’s still a good all-rounder and for many will make most sense, especially with its lower running costs.

Diesel-wise, there’s also two which also offer the same power outputs. Both are 2.0-litre units with either 148bhp (TDI 150) or 187bhp (TDI 190), the former doing the 0-60mph dash in a respectable 9.8 seconds and a top speed of 128mph. The power difference in both is quite noticeable with plenty of low-down pull.

 

Running costs

It’s no surprise to hear the diesel is the most economical option offering around mid-40mpg in front-wheel drive manual, reducing to around 40mpg for the four-wheel drive automatic. 

On the petrol front, you should get between 29mpg and 32mpg, which isn’t really what you’d consider frugal. The problem with the petrol is the larger unit gets the four-wheel drive system and bigger alloys, with affects the ride, refinement and economy.

If you’re willing to wait, the introduction of a plug-in hybrid will make the Tarraco a much cheaper model to run – especially if you do predominantly shorter journeys and are able to charge at home or work. This version will also be the cheapest in company car tax, thanks to its low emissions.

Things to look out for

There really is a lot of variety with the range, so make sure you pick carefully. If you’re looking for more comfort and luxury, then the Xcellence would be the best option, but while the larger wheels do make it look more imposing, it does affect economy, ride comfort and refinement.

In terms or reliability, the Tarraco is still new to be able to tell how dependable it is. That said, as it utilises parts that are well-proven from the VW Group, there should be little to worry about.

  

Rivals

There’s been something of a boon in affordable seven-seat SUVs over recent years with cars like the Nissan X-Trail, Renault Koleos, Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorento and Skoda Kodiaq all vying for top spot.

The good news is that with so much competition that’s been around for a while now, the Tarraco looks really fresh and modern in comparison.  

  

Depreciation

The starting price for the Tarraco is higher than some of its main rivals, including its sibling the Skoda Kodiaq, but the good news is that it should hold onto more of its value. That’s especially good news if you’re looking to buy on PCP finance. 

Which Tarraco to Pick

Cheapest to Buy When New

1.5 TSI EVO SE 5dr

Most MPG

2.0 TDI SE 5dr

Fastest Model (0-60)

2.0 TSI Xcellence 5dr DSG 4Drive

Trims Explained

From launch there were four trims available SE, SE Technology, Xcellence and Xcellence Lux, with FR and FR Sport added later. Equipment highlights and pricing are as follows.

'SE'

Needless to say, the SE trim is the entry-level spec, and it comes with everything you’d expect in its price point. This includes climate control, automatic wipers and alloy wheels. There’s also an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple Car Play and Android Auto, plus parking sensors and LED headlamps front and rear.

Priced from £28,970

'SE Technology'

The SE Technology spec is probably the best one to go for in terms of overall value, as you get the addition of a satellite-navigation system as well as larger, more stylish alloys.

Priced from £30,000

'FR'

If you’re looking for a sportier look, then the FR is well worth considering, as this includes black detailing on the outside as well as sportier 19-inch alloy wheels. It also adds keyless start and entry, along with an electric boot.

Priced from £32,275

'FR Sport'

FR Sport continues the sportier look with 20-inch alloys plus the addition of a rear-view camera, heated seats and leather upholstery.

Priced from £34,025

'Xcellence'

Xcellence builds on the SE Technology with its 19-inch alloy wheels, Alcantara sports seats and park assist.

Priced from £31,060

'Xcellence Lux'

This top-spec version basically comes with all the bells and whistles, including heated leather seats, not only in the front, but in the back too and top view camera to help with parking. Large 20-inch alloy wheels are also fitted.

Priced from £32,820

Summary

  1. Seven-seat versatility
  2. Excellent handling
  3. Strong build quality
  4. Hard ride
  5. Top-spec models are expensive
  6. Limited leg room in third row of seats
  7. Good levels of equipment
  8. Impressive safety kit
  9. Strong 2.0-litre diesel engine
  10. Holds its value better than rivals

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