SO, you’ve decided that you need a seven-seater to meet your needs and you like the look of the award-winning Seat Alhambra people carrier. You’ve done your homework and it’s time to pay your Seat dealership a visit.

But wait a minute. There’s a new kid on the block that might just make the choice that much more difficult. Meet the Seat Tarraco, the Spanish firm’s new flagship model and first large SUV, joining the brand’s SUV family alongside Arona and Ateca.

Seat are rightly proud of its SUV line-up. Some 80% of its SUV customers did not own a Seat before buying one, and the seven-seat Tarraco is designed to tempt more who have a need for extra space and want a decent drive experience to boot.

The striking front end and new lighting signature are certain to catch the eye, but it’s the abundance of technology, agile handling for such a big vehicle and key design features that will seal the deal.

Designed and developed in Martorell, Spain, but built in Wolfsburg, Germany, it is available initially in SE, SE Technology, Xcellence and Xcellence Lux trim levels, with FR and FR Sport specification coming at a later date.

There are five powertrains to choose from. The two petrol units are a 1.5 TSI 150PS in manual and 2.0 TSI 190PS in DSG with 4Drive. The diesel options are a 2.0 TDI 150PS available in manual and DSG with 4Drive, and a 2.0 TDI 190PS in DSG with 4Drive only. These will be joined by a hybrid version next year.

Common to all the current engines are direct-injection, turbocharging and start-stop technology.

Having browsed and driven various options I reckon the SE Tech matched with the excellent 1.5 TSI petrol engine is the pick of the bunch, but those with a need for more power, the assurance of four-wheel drive or the DSG gearbox will no doubt look higher up the ladder.

I am not discounting the diesels either. Indeed, the 2.0 TDI 150PS might well offer the most satisfying combination of fuel economy and performance.

Whichever power unit you opt for, you will find a reasonable boot capacity of 230 litres with the second and third row seats upright, 700 litres with the third row folded and 2nd row upright and 1,775 litres with the second and third rows folded.

It’s refreshing to see that Seat have not skimped on features in the entry-level trim. Even SE models get the superb 10.25-inch SEAT digital cockpit and eight-inch floating central display.

There’s also a choice of seven metallic and solid exterior paint colours with no extra charge if you opt for a metallic colour.

The plethora of standard safety features including front assist, lane assist and emergency call. Park assist, electric tailgate and a top view camera system are also on the menu.

Named after the Mediterranean city of Tarragona, the Tarraco blends the key attributes of what Seat hold dear – design and functionality, sportiness and comfort, technology and emotion in a form that suits a wider variety of lifestyles.

By giving it a stiff suspension to enamour it with a sporty feel, the Tarrraco will feel the bumps more on the optional 20-inch wheels. You might find the 18-inch versions are easier to live with.

Bigger dimensions inspired the design team to find a greater balance between aesthetics and proportions. Even though the Tarraco is 4,735mm long, 1,839mm wide and 1,674mm tall, the overall design combines agility, robustness and practicality to good effect.

Inside, designers have worked hard to create an interior that cocoons occupants, providing a driver-focused, ergonomically designed seating position when behind the steering wheel and a relaxed, comfortable environment for passengers.

Even at the very rear of the vehicle there is sufficient space for the third row passengers, although an adult might struggle with the legroom and access.

Key to the driving dynamic is Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform. At the front, the Tarraco integrates an independent MacPherson strut suspension system with coil springs and hydraulic shock absorbers, while at the rear a multilink approach has been used, also incorporating coil springs and hydraulic shock absorbers.

Drivers can select which setting they prefer – Normal, Eco, Sport and Individual and 4Drive versions include off-road and snow modes.

The driver is able to feel the road thanks to the perfectly weighted steering which uses a rack electric power system to provide assistance, but without numbing the experience, instead maximising feedback and driver enjoyment.

The result is a nimbleness that you would not expect from a large SUV.


Seat Tarraco SE Tech

Price: £29,345 (range from £28,335)

Engine: Four-cylinder 1.5-litre TSI Evo petrol, producing 150hp

Transmission: Six-speed manual (DSG available on 2.0-litre diesel and petrol models)

Performance: 0 to 62mph in 9.7 seconds; top speed 125mph

Economy: 35.3 to 37.2mpg combined

CO2 emissions: 152g/km


Performance: ****

Economy: ***

Ride/Handling: ****

Space/Practicality: ****

Equipment: ****

Security/Safety: *****

Value For Money: ***