The Tarraco rounds out Seat’s range of lifestyle models, sitting above the Ateca in size, space and price. It’s an obvious move for the company and an easy one thanks to it sharing most of its underpinnings with the Skoda Kodiaq. Don’t dismiss the Tarraco as just a rebadged Skoda, however.
There are plenty of differences in the details, not least the styling of this Seat, which the firm proudly states is the first to show off the new family look that will be seen on future models.
As for the Tarraco’s engine line-up, you have a choice of 1.5 and 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engines. Offering 150 or 190bhp respectively, when you head out on the road it’s obvious why the smaller engine will make up the bulk of sales.
Where the 2.0-litre promises more performance, it comes with four-wheel drive and a DSG twin-clutch, semi-automatic gearbox as standard that both blunt its advantage. We also found the 2.0-litre needs to be worked harder than is aurally comfortable to make decent progress.
Instead, you should take the 1.5 with its front-wheel drive and six-speed manual gearbox to enjoy a car that’s much lighter on its toes. It feels peppier and 0-to-60mph in 9.7 seconds doesn’t feel that far off the 2.0-litre’s 8.0-second dash.
The steering on the smaller engine car also offers a modicum of extra feel. There’s a pair of turbo-diesels comprising 150 and 190bhp versions of the usual VW Group 2.0-litre unit.
The 150bhp can be had with a six-speed manual gearbox and front-wheel drive that delivers 47.9mpg and 129g/km emissions, or you can go for twin-clutch automatic and all-wheel drive.
The 4×4 transmission is standard for the 190bhp model if you can afford its 38.2mpg and 147g/km. Performance of the diesels is all but identical to the petrol units of the same power output.
However, we found the turbo-diesels to be a little noisy when cruising on the motorway, so this would steer us in the direction of the 1.5 petrol, even if its 38.6mpg and 165g/km emissions are only average for the class.
Inside, the Tarraco is as classy in fit and finish as the Kodiaq, which is high praise, yet it’s also restrained enough not to scare off the more reserved buyers of this type of car.
All Tarracos sold in the UK will be seven-seaters, though the third row pair are best reserved for children and occasional use by adults as legroom is a little limited but no worse than in a Land Rover Discovery Sport.
Move forward in the cabin and the middle row has ample room for three, while the front pair are comfortable, roomy and familiar to anyone who’s sat in any car from the Volkswagen group.
This means easy-to-fathom controls for the heating and infotainment, while the snazzy main dials of the Tarraco help set it apart from its VW Group stablemates.
If you opt for the Tarraco with four-wheel drive, you get an extra rotary controller for the system that offers off-road and snow modes. Every Tarraco comes with the Seat Drive Profile that offers Normal, Sport, Eco and Individual settings through the infotainment screen, though we found Normal ticked all of the boxes.
The reason you won’t need to fiddle with those driving modes is because the Tarraco turns into corners with an enthusiasm most SUVs miss. It holds a line through bends keenly and there’s a small but noticeable touch of added fun to the way the Seat drives compared to the Skoda Kodiaq.
Forget about any off-roading notions in the Tarraco though. Like most cars in this sector, the all-wheel drive option is aimed more at offering added confidence in winter conditions.
To keep these customers happy and heading to Seat showrooms to maintain its strong sales, the Tarraco comes with an equipment list pitched above many of its rivals’ kit.
The range kicks off with the SE from £28,320 that has 17-inch alloy wheels, metallic paint, automatic lights and wipers, cruise control and an 8-inch infotainment screen.
An SE Technology model costs £1,010 more and adds 18-inch wheels, rear privacy glass and sat nav.
Rounding out the line-up is the Xcellence Lux from £32,135 with heated front and rear seats, leather upholstery, electric adjustment for the front chairs and a bird’s-eye view parking camera.
There are also 20-inch alloy wheels which you might think would spoil the Tarraco’s ride quality on bumpy roads.
However, this is an unfounded concern as the Seat canters down rough stuff without ever putting a foot wrong. Even bigger potholes or ridges are palmed off in a calm manner that makes this an excellent family car choice.
Although the Seat’s costs work out at much the same as its major competitors, you should factor in the sunshine the Tarraco brings in the way it drives and looks which makes it easily one of the most appealing cars in its class.
Price range: £28,320- £40,075
Engine range: Turbo-petrol – 1.5, 2.0-litre; Turbo-diesel – 2.0, 2.0-litre 190bhp
Power: 0 to 60mph in 8.0 seconds, 130mph top speed (2.0TD 190)
Average fuel economy: 47.9mpg (2.0TD 150)
CO2 emissions range: 129-200g/km
Rivals: Kia Sorento, Skoda Kodiaq