Seven Seater: spacious new Seat Tarraco
Jack Evans get behind the wheel
Seat has had a successful time of it recently. It was the fastest-growing car manufacturer in the UK last year and has seen sales increase steadily too.
This has been bolstered by the introduction of two SUVs, the Ateca and the smaller Arona, both of which went down a treat with consumers.
The Spanish firm is hoping to extend its appeal with the Tarraco. Sitting above the Ateca and Arona in terms of size, it's aimed at people who want the sporty looks of a Seat but with practicality and seven seats.
The Tarraco is the largest SUV the firm offers. It's underpinned by Volkswagen Group's MQB-A platform, meaning it can deliver three seating rows, matching the number in the Seat Alhambra. But where the Alhambra is all about space, the Tarraco has been designed to be good to drive too.
What's under the bonnet?
Our test car came fitted with the most powerful diesel - a 2.0-litre turbocharged unit with 187bhp and 400Nm of torque.
It sends power to all four wheels via a seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox. It's good for a 130mph top speed and will do the 0-60mph sprint in 7.8 seconds.
Economy-wise, it's par for the course in this segment. The 2.0-litre engine puts out 147g/km CO2 and will return between 37.2 and 38.2mpg on the combined cycle.
There's just one other diesel option and that uses the same 2.0-litre lump, albeit with 148bhp. Then there's a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol and a 2.0-litre petrol too.
What's it like to drive?
Seat has always pitched itself towards the more driver-orientated end of the market, and while that may make sense with hot hatchbacks, it doesn't key in as well with seven-seaters.
Fortunately, the firm has dialled back things with the Tarraco. The steering is relatively light around town and the DSG gearbox in our test car shifted smoothly, though power delivery can be a touch sluggish. Our only issue came with the ride. The 20-inch alloys fitted to our test car looked excellent but added a level of harshness that you don't expect from a car of this type.
How does it look?
Tweaked features differentiate the Tarraco from the rest of Seat's range.
The headlamps are in a similar sleek design to the Ateca, but set further back up the bonnet.
And while the sharp crease line running along its flank may appear similar to that seen on the Arona, it's longer and bolder, giving the seven-seater a more dynamic appeal.
Overall, the Tarraco has a well-executed design. The full-width brake light at the rear is certainly eye-catching and the variety of chrome elements dotted along the car's exterior make for a premium-looking vehicle.
What's it like inside?
Because of its Volkswagen Group connections, the interior of the Tarraco is likely to feel familiar to anyone who has been in a current-generation Tiguan, Karoq or Golf. That's no bad thing whatsoever - it's very well-put together, with decent materials used throughout.
Chrome accents at the front of the cabin help brighten it up, while the widescreen infotainment screen gives it a high-tech feel.
But though tech is all well and good, how does the Tarraco do in an area where's it important in this segment - spaciousness?
For the most part, very well. The first and second rows are roomy, with big windows helping to give an airiness to the cabin.
And while the third row of seats may not be a favourite place to be for adults, they'll be more than enough room back there for children.
In terms of boot space, there's 230 litres to play with when that third row is in place, rising to 700 litres with it folded down.
With both third and second rows flat, there's a huge 1,775 litres on offer.
What's the spec like?
Seat has simplified its trim levels and essentially eliminated any optional extras. In fact, you're only able to add a space saver spare wheel, a tow bar or panoramic sunroof . That's it.
Otherwise, you have to pick from one of four trim lines: SE, SE Technology, Xcellence and Xcellence Lux.
Our test car was finished in the final and most luxurious trim level, which brings with it a multitude of features, though it's worth noting that even base-spec cars get an eight-inch central touchscreen and 10.2-inch digital cockpit fitted as standard.
Xcellence Lux cars get 20-inch alloy wheels, front sports seats and a top view camera, as well as heated front and outer rear seats.
In truth, the standard specification is so comprehensive that we'd struggle to see many drivers wanting more.
The Tarraco may be yet another entry into the SUV segment, but it's one well worth considering. It's laden with standard equipment and is spacious and practical. The ride may be harsh, but stick to smaller-wheeled versions and it's unlikely to be troublesome to most. The diesel engine fitted to our test car fitted the character of the vehicle and will suit long-distance drivers. However, the variety of other powertrains means there's undoubtedly going to be one for all buyers.
Facts at a glance
Model as tested: Seat Tarraco
Price as tested: £40,090
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel
Power (bhp): 187
Torque (Nm): 400
Max speed (mph): 130
Emissions (g/km): 147
Emissions (g/km): 161