Understanding the Tarraco model line-up
The Tarraco will launch with two petrol engines – a 148bhp 1.5-litre and 187bhp 2.0-litre – and two 2.0-litre TDI diesels, producing 148bhp and 178bhp. Entry-level models will be front-wheel drive with a six-speed manual ’box; higher-spec cars get a seven-speed auto and an all-wheel-drive system that automatically sends 50% of the power to the rear axle when needed.
We sampled the 1.5-litre petrol and the top-spec diesel, both in Xcellence trim. Although much of the detail was hidden, such models feature a digital driver info display, an 8in infotainment screen and plenty of driver assistance systems.
Although the prototypes sported camouflage livery, that couldn’t mask the sharp lines the Tarraco shares with its smaller siblings, enhanced by narrow, angled headlights. Neither did some wacky wrap hide the family resemblance the Tarraco shares with the Skoda Kodiaq and VW Tiguan Allspace, also built on the VW Group’s MQB long-wheelbase platform.
That family resemblance is clear both when you sit inside the Tarraco – a sensation likely heightened by the cloth concealing much of the Seat-specific detail on the prototype’s dashboard – and when you drive it. It’s crisp and accurate to steer, and even the entry-level 1.5 TSI is capable of easy motorway cruising.
Front MacPherson struts and the multilink rear suspension (a set-up that is standard on all Tarraco models) have been tuned to ensure a smooth drive.
As with the Ateca and Arona, Seat has focused on trying to offer a more engaging drive than class rivals. Six drive modes are available, including Sport, Off-Road and Winter settings. The Tarraco offers pleasing levels of engagement on flowing roads, albeit with the inevitable caveat that it remains a large, high-riding SUV.
Taking the Tarraco off-road
Our test also included a drive on a challenging off-road course in a 2.0 TDI AWD model, which provided ample demonstration of the Tarraco’s 4x4 abilities. In Off-Road mode, which provides extra ground clearance and driver assists such as Hill Descent Control, the Tarraco tackles rough terrain, big rocks and sharp inclines with aplomb, should buyers actually wish to use their large SUV in such a way.
What Tarraco buyers will use it for is transporting lots of people and gear. When they do, they’ll find the Tarraco comfortable and spacious. It is 4735mm long, with a wheelbase of 2790mm, and 1658mm high. That makes it 38mm longer than a Kodiaq, but 18mm lower. Seat also claims 760 litres of luggage capacity in five-seat form – 40 litres more than a Kodiaq.