Our national love affair with crossovers and SUV’s shows no sign of ebbing, with almost every manufacturer offering to elevate your drive across every sales segment. Part of the Volkswagen Group, SEAT have access to the platforms, engines and latest technology, adding their Spanish flavour with great aplomb.
I picked up their latest high-rise, the easy on the eye Tarraco, in seven-seat format, dressed in Atlantic Blue metallic, standing on 20” alloys, its 235-section boots covering enough tarmac to warrant ground rent.
Fitted with the seven-seat option and coming in Excellence trim, my test car was also four-wheel drive, driven through a 7-speed DSG transmission and had most of the options listed in the accessory catalogue chucked all over it – hence the saucy price of just south of 60k. While I doubt if many would specify their Tarraco to this level, it was great to sample the wide range of talents available, rather than just see them on a list.
After a quick check and familiarisation, I headed south to Cork city, my city to city return journey including a rural diversion onto secondary and country roads, before re-joining the mundane functionality of our motorway network. Suffice it to say the Tarraco was delightful company, the enthusiasm of the 190bhp turbo-diesel restrained by the cruise control, while my passenger and I relished in the quietness of the drive and the spectacle of Ireland glistening in brilliant sunshine.
It is impossible to fault the Tarraco on build quality, fit & finish and in the instance of my test car, its 2.0 litre TDi engine with DSG transmission, is so very easy to live with. Meeting Euro 6 emission regulations, it can select the most suitable gear for the conditions then current from the seven available, efficient and smooth
|Format:||7-Seat Sports Utility Vehicle, (SUV)|
|Trim Level:||Xcellence, 4 Wheel-drive|
|Tax Band:||Band C|
|Annual Road Tax:||€390|
|Boot Space:||230 litres in 7-seat format; 700 litres with rear seat row folded; 1,775 litres with two rows flat|
|Range starting Price - €34,700 (1.5 TSi, 5-seat)|
|Test model starting price €39,885|
|Test model with extras: €59,014|
Some of the Competition
Skoda Kodiak, Peugeot 5008, VW Tiguan Allspace, Nissan XTrail, Renault Koleos, KIA Sorrento
In keeping with its design function to provide space for five/seven, (€1,000 more for the 7-seater), the Tarraco’s squarish lines are clean, its headlight signature identifying it as a SEAT in any carpark. While it can’t hide its function of being a raised, people-hauler, standing tall and squarish, it does a good job of managing to still look quite svelte.
My test car come in Xcellence trim, in addition to its expansive offerings, it wore quite an ensemble from the SEAT catalogue. While this raised the street price of this Tarraco, the average new owner would invariable spec below the level as I had at my disposal, albeit great to get a glimpse at the SEAT toy chest.
I loved the console that provided the maps directly into the spot where the drivers Speedo and Tachometer normally reside. Overall furnishings, fit and finish are very high quality and it would be picky to be picky – I’d live with it easily.
As a trans-country mover of people this new Tarraco is very accomplished. Good seating, a raised driving position giving good road command, added to the level of trim on my Excellence test car, made for kilometres to be voraciously disposed of, my day return trip to Cork dispensed with ease.
I am a fan of the double-clutch DSG transmission, the computer’s ability to select the best gear from the seven available, for the driving demand bettering most human judgement.
Coming with 4-wheel drive, I didn’t get the opportunity to take it deep into the giggle weeds, a two-kilometre green lane jaunt failing to raise any eyebrows. Like most 4x4’s it will spend the majority of its existence on the black stuff, where it behaves with confidence-inspiring, assured footing.
The 2.0litre TDi performed flawlessly during my 600-kilometre drive, being very easy to live with, possessing power and torque on demand. There is a 150bhp diesel option and a petrol 1.5 TSi, also with 150bhp, my test car’s 190bhp spoiling me deliciously.
This new Tarraco will satisfy most drivers, with the obvious caveat that it stands tall and carries enough metal to house seven people. Driven with suitable restraint the Tarraco can cover kilometres with more enthusiasm than might be expected. It has the space and grace to please those with a seven-seat demand, and will not intimidate anyone transferring from a conventional hatchback or saloon, allowing for the transition to happen with minimal fuss. A test drive certainty.
Test model extras:
Tony Toner is a member of the Association of Professional Motoring Press and a voting juror on Irish Car & Irish Van of the Year.