The SEAT Tarraco SE Technology 2.0 TDI 150PS manual is a good-looking, spacious and relatively efficient seven-seater, which also offers good value for money.
SEAT has been trying to carve out a niche in the Volkswagen Group to make it clear what it stands for compared to other products from Volkswagen and Skoda. It feels like SEAT has been held back in a few areas, including design, but the Tarraco – along with the recent Arona – seems to show that the brand is now able to develop good-looking cars that can compete with the other rivals within the group. So should you choose the Tarraco over the Volkswagen Tiguan or Skoda Kodiaq?
The SEAT Tarraco looks good, and seems to be a definite step forward compared to the design of some SEATs from previous years (although the design links to the Volkswagen Tiguan are clear to see). The interior isn’t the most interesting in terms of creative design but again is an improvement over some fairly basic-looking past SEAT dashboards.
The whole point of the Tarraco is to offer space for seven, in an interesting SUV package rather than a boring MPV body style, and it doesn’t disappoint. There’s lots of legroom for second-row passengers, and a big boot if the third row of seats is folded down, or room for an extra two passengers, ideally children, if the third row is in use – when there is still some luggage space. There are a few neat design touches such as the ability to store the luggage cover under the boot floor, along with tray tables on the back of the front seats. It’s also easy to fit a child seat in the car.
In terms of the powertrain, our test car had a 150PS 4-cylinder, two-litre diesel engine with a 6-speed manual gearbox and front-wheel drive.
The SEAT Tarraco is based on a shared Volkswagen Group platform, so there are many similarities with other models. However compared to recent Volkswagen Tiguan and Skoda Kodiaq reviews, our Tarraco test car had a 6-speed manual gearbox. Although automatic transmissions may be the way forward, our recent experiences of Volkswagen DSG ‘boxes have found that they’ve usually been slow to respond from standstill, so the manual box in the Tarraco thankfully eliminated this issue.
The two-litre turbodiesel engine offers a good balance of performance and economy, and is mostly responsive, although there is some turbo lag and the engine can sound a bit rough when pushed.
There are Eco, Normal, Sport and Individual drive modes to choose from – although there’s not a huge difference between the different options.
A variety of routes were covered during our week with the Tarraco, including twisty B-Roads, when the driving experience was better than you might expect from a seven-seater diesel SUV. There isn’t much body roll through corners, but this is achieved by reasonably firm damping, so the penalty is a fairly firm ride over poor road surfaces.
Aside from some wind noise, the Tarraco is generally refined on the motorway, but if you’re in sixth gear and you need to make progress, then a lot of gear changing is required to achieve some acceleration.
Even though our Tarraco test car was front-wheel rather than four-wheel drive, it was fitted with Pirelli Scorpion Verde tyres, which are designed to cope with off-roading. In comparison, Volkswagen SUV products that we’ve had on test have had on-road focused tyres.
The Volkswagen Group infomedia system features in the Tarraco. This means a large, shiny touchscreen, with four buttons on each side of the screen – although it’s not completely obvious what each symbol is for. If you’re entering a destination into the satnav you’ll need to hover your hand over the screen for the buttons to appear to be able to enter an address, and to enter a postcode you’ll need find the separate field for postcodes.
If you’re reversing you get an overhead outline of the car on the screen, which isn’t as good as a camera.
However the main issue – and pretty much the only real issue with the Tarraco – is the hassle involved in switching off the lane departure warning system. If you want to avoid the car moving the steering wheel every time you go near a white line – which ruins the driving experience – you need to do a LOT of button pressing on the touchscreen to get to the sub-menu hidden deep in the system. And you have to do that every time you start the car.
The official WLTP combined fuel economy for the SEAT Tarraco SE Technology 2.0 TDI 150PS manual is 44.1-47.9 mpg, with CO2 emissions of 129 g/km. In the real-world we managed 41.5mpg at 70mph on the motorway,
But this dropped to 27.7mpg around town. After a week of mixed driving we achieved an average of 37.8mpg, which falls short of the official figure.The Tarraco was predicting a useful driving range of 430 miles.
The SEAT Tarraco SE Technology 2.0 TDI 150PS manual costs £30,820 and in a world-first from a German manufacturer (albeit the SEAT sub-brand is Spanish), there were no options on our test car!
The Tarraco is available with two petrol powertrains (150PS 1.5 TSI Evo and 150PS 2.0 TSI NR DSG-auto 4Drive 190PS) and three diesel powertrains (150PS 2.0 TDI, 150PS 2.0 TDI NR DSG-auto 4Drive and 190PS 2.0 TDI NR DSG-auto 4Drive). Trim levels are SE, SE Technology, SE First Edition, XCELLENCE, XCELLENCE First Edition and XCELLENCE First Edition Plus.
The SEAT Tarraco SE Technology 2.0 TDI 150PS manual offers space for seven occupants, good looks, a functional interior, reasonable efficiency, a mostly refined driving experience, and good value. And the manual gearbox eliminates the delay of the DSG transmission. Overall it’s a very capable all-rounder. So do you choose the Tarraco or the Volkswagen Tiguan or the Skoda Kodiaq? Although this is a seven-seater SUV with a relatively modest 150PS diesel engine, the SEAT does appear to offer a sportier edge – which is what we would expect the SEAT brand to stand for, but this hasn’t always been the case with previous test cars. So if you need a seven-seater that’s decent to drive and will be reasonably efficient on long journeys then the 150PS diesel Tarraco could be your solution.
But what about pricing? The SEAT Tarraco SE Technology 2.0 TDI 150PS manual costs £30,820 compared to £27,900 for the Skoda Kodiaq SE 2.0 TDI 150PS and £33,540 for the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace SEL 2.0 TDI 150PS. So the Tarraco costs more than the Skoda Kodiaq, but less than the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace.
The SEAT Tarraco SE Technology 2.0 TDI 150PS manual gains a Green Car Guide rating of 8 out of 10.