While SEAT may be one of the relative newcomers to the SUV market, the Spanish brand that’s part of the Volkswagen Group has wasted no time in catching up. There are now three SUV’s in the SEAT range, starting with the Arona, followed by the Ateca and the car that’s featured here, the range-topping Tarraco.
Take the latest generation SEAT Tarraco on the road and you’ll quickly see why it is competition for the related Volkswagen Tiguan. The styling is similar, the driving feel almost identical and there’s not a hare’s breath in the space measurement differences. What’s different is the badge in this now impressive 7-seat SUV that delivers all of what Volkswagen offers and at a more affordable price.
SEAT now offers the petrol, diesel, and plug-in hybrid versions of the Tarraco, but for those seeking a bigger 7-seat version, petrol and diesel engines are the only choice. Drill down further and you’ll see why I was also impressed to have taken the diesel engine option, for economy reasons.
This Tarraco uses a well-proven Volkswagen 2.0 TDI engine, and the German genetics of the car are further confirmed by the fact that its built at the same factory in Germany that produces the Tiguan. You can’t get a much closer relationship than that.
This turbo-diesel engine is highly rated with 150bhp and 360Nm torque output. That converts to good acceleration in the 7-seat SUV. It also delivers a 2.2 tonne towing rating which compares very well with the competition, while being slightly lower than the latest Tiguan 2.5 tonne rating. The Tiguan is slightly heavier in terms of kerb weight and that adds to the towing rating figures.
I drove the automatic gearbox DSG version during my test drive and was impressed with the smoothness and comfort. This is also another VW proven feature that excels in the Tarraco. The drive combination gives great economy, and my test programme returned an enviable economy figure of close to 1,000km on a full 58 litre fuel tank. In measurable terms the fuel consumption result was 6l/100km, only marginally more than the rated figure. That’s an economy performance that only modern diesel engines can deliver.
The good news is that the SEAT Tarraco diesel engines are certified under stringent new NOx emissions targets, Real Driving Emissions stage 2 (RDE2). SEAT claims that the 7-seat Tarraco offers one of the widest ranges of RDE2-certified line-ups on the market today. RDE2 legislation states that diesel cars must emit 80mg/km or less of NOx.
All of these modern diesel engines have a new twin dosing SCR system that includes dual AdBlue injection to reduce NOx emissions compared to previous generation diesel engines. The result is that this SEAT Tarraco diesel engine meets the strict requirement of Euro 6d-Final emissions standards. And the final proof is in the actual driving economy, which is very impressive and makes this 7-seat SUV affordable to own.
There’s also a practical feel to this SUV. The dash and layout are clear while the centre infotainment screen does not dominate your line of sight. The Volkswagen feel to all of the controls is obvious and could be a sense of comfort for those new to the SEAT brand. The overall effect is a little more plastic looking than Volkswagen’s offering, while the seating is firm and easily adjustable.
This is a 7-seat SUV and the third row is easy to engage. The overall boot area whether the seats are folded or fully upright, is less than that of the Tiguan Allspace, Volkswagen’s 7-seat version of the Tiguan. The difference is 200 litres with all of the two rearmost seats rows down and that’s significant.
The Tarraco comes with an impressive 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating. Front Assist, Lane Assist, Tiredness Recognition and Emergency Call are all standard throughout the range. This SUV also uses 100% LED technology throughout the exterior and interior as standard on all trim levels and that gives great night driving comfort.
The SEAT team believes that while aesthetics may be of huge importance, an SUV also has to be a practical and functional vehicle. That one of the reasons why SEAT has put emphasis on a low loading area at the rear of the Tarraco to give loading width and practicality to the SUV.
Entry prices for the diesel powered 7-seat SEAT Tarraco start from €46,085, which is marginally lower than the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace entry level with a similar specification. These are also well sought after in the secondhand market and now starting to show low depreciation levels as the SEAT brand has improved in perception.
My overall impression is of a very practical SUV for seven people (at least two small ones), which is affordable to buy and to own with its very economical and now super clean diesel engine. The SEAT Tarraco stands even with its competitors in the mid to larger SUV market. Four-wheel-drive versions are also available, and this diesel chariot will tow a horsebox with ease.
|SEAT Tarraco 2.0TDI 150 bhp DSG – specifications|
|Engine||2.0 TDI Diesel|
|0 – 100km/hr||10.1 seconds|
|Economy||18.2kWh/100km or 5.5l/100km|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||58 litres|
|Road Tax Annual||€270|
|Main Service||12 months or 30,000km|
|Euro NCAP Rating||5 Star (2019)|
|Turning Circle Kerb to Kerb||11.9m|
|Kerb Vehicle Weight||1756kg|
|Luggage Capacity||700/1775 litres|