7-UP (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
SEAT's Tarraco aims to shake up the mid-sized 7-seat SUV market. Jonathan Crouch drives it.
Ten Second Reviewword count: 52
Need a family SUV with seven seats? Bored by what's on offer? SEAT hopes you'll like its offering, the Tarraco. You get Volkswagen Group engineering, sharp styling, plenty of interior space and, the Iberian maker hopes, a dash of Spanish flair. Which this car will need to stand out in its segment.
Backgroundword count: 171
Just how important is it for a mid-range 'D'-segment 7-seat family SUV to be 'sporty'. Not very, according to the key protagonists in this segment. SEAT disagrees and is positioning this car, the Tarraco, as a slightly more responsive choice for folk who want to feel that they're driving more than just a crossover-cultured bus after they've dropped the kids off at school. Of course, the Spanish maker needed something to set this contender a little apart from the mechanically almost identical Volkswagen Group models that share its MQB-A platform, the Skoda Kodiaq and the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace. It wasn't so very long ago that SEAT didn't have a single SUV in its line-up. Now, this Tarraco sits at the head of the company's crossover triumvirate that already includes the little Ibiza-based Arona and the slightly larger Leon-structured Ateca. It's the biggest car the brand has yet made and will only be offered in our market with 7 seats. But will it live up to its maker's expectations? Let's find out.
Driving Experienceword count: 242
Just two front-driven drivetrains remain in the range, both developing 150PS. Either a 1.5-litre petrol EcoTSI unit mated to a 7-speed DSG auto gearbox. Or a 2.0 TDI diesel, with the choice of manual or DSG auto transmission. SEAT says it's put a lot of work into driving feedback so that this car will feel 'sportier' than its rivals. The same people who made its smaller Ateca stablemate so alert and nimble claim to have repeated their magic here, with sharp steering and supple multi-link rear suspension. To that end, the Spanish maker has decided that this Tarraco should be set up fractionally firmer and ride 20mm lower than its Skoda Kodiaq and Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace production stablemates. As a result, sure enough, it feels slightly more agile through the bends than a large, high set family car like this normally would. And occasionally gets a little more upset over poorer surfaces than an SUV of this kind might usually do. It's all a bit predictable really and neither issue is likely to be a game changer towards wanting or discarding this contender from your wish list. There's no particular fun to be had in throwing this car about but if you ever do, you'll find that it resists body roll effectively and should keep the sick bags at the bay at the back until you reach the kind of highway environment where this SEAT can show off its refined cruising demeanour.
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Category: Crossover or SUV 4x4s
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