Ian Lamming discovers the delights of SEAT’S new seven-seater SUV.
SELDOM are things what they seem and so it is with these cars.
Both in the car park, they are a similar blue. One costs £207K the other £36K. One would imagine the prestige sports coupe would blow the other out of the proverbial water.
The fact it doesn’t is testament to the abilities of SEAT’s latest and largest SUV the Tarraco. In many ways it is a match, in others even better. Most importantly, in its own way, it is just as great to drive.
So what is it? Tarraco is a large SUV, fitted with a useful seven seats, driven by a useful 2.0 engine whose power is channelled through a useful DSG automatic gearbox to all four wheels when required.
It shows a new-found confidence in the ‘Spanish’ brand backed by Euro3bn investment in the mark. Designed in Spain, built in Germany, the Tarraco is proof that at least some of that money has been well spent.
From the second you climb aboard this large SUV into its well-appointed cabin it feels just right. The seats are comfortable, the driving position perfect, the quality of fixtures high and tactile.
Start the powerful motor and slot home the supreme DSG automatic gearbox and you have barely turned a wheel before a feeling of well-being spreads throughout your body resulting in a smile on the lips.
It is smooth, quiet and controlled. Ride and handling are accomplished. Performance is excellent. The result is a car that is happy to chomp through the daily commute with a shrug and a ‘that’s-just-what-I-do’ approach to the task.
When it needs to pull away swiftly, the 190PS on tap is more than enough to put distance between you and your pursuers. When slow moving vehicles clog your A-road arteries, Tarraco is happy to drop down the box, tap into the powerband and fly safely by. But when gentle cruising is required, there’s little more than a peep from motor, tyres or wind to irritate the senses. It is easy-living incarnate.
Economy is only average hovering on or below the 40mpg mark, but then it is a large car and is carrying the extra gubbins of all wheel drive under its smart skin.
Volkswagen Audi Group’s interiors are among the easiest and most intuitive to use and the SEAT is no exception, boasting the now essential infotainment/navigation and Bluetooth systems. It is all so easy to access, hook up to and use, so no complaints there.
In fact there are few complaints anywhere with this new SUV, it is such an endearing and easy car to live with.
Who would have thought it could possibly compete with a vehicle created for the uber-rich – but amazingly it does.
SEAT Tarraco XCELLENCE
Engine: 2.0 TDI, 4Drive, DSG
0-62mph: 8 secs
Top speed: 131mph
Combined MPG: 38.2
Transmission: five-speed manual
CO2 g/km: 147