SEAT Tarraco

Xcellence 2.0 TSI

DSG 4Drive

SEAT Tarraco, front
SEAT Tarraco, dynamic
SEAT Tarraco, rear
SEAT Tarraco, interior
SEAT Tarraco, dashboard
SEAT Tarraco, interior, rear

SEAT and the UK car buying public are currently enjoying a mutual love-in.

The Barcelona-based brand has been the fastest growing mainstream brand here for the past two years - selling a record-breaking 62,863 motors to us in 2018 - and has continued that success into the first quarter of this year.

SUVs, the current family vehicle of choice, have been the driving force behind that impressive performance - the Arona and Ateca accounting for 35 percent of all SEATs sold last year.

So it's fair to say that I am not sticking my neck out too far when I predict that the latest offering from the Spanish manufacturer - its third SUV and first large one - is a nailed-on hit.

The Tarraco hit UK showrooms early this year bringing with it some fresh design language and seven-seat versatility.

At the front a new, bolder grille gives added visual impact and a more modern look, which will be echoed on other SEAT models as they are updated going forward.

Elsewhere there's something of the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace, with which it shares much of its architecture, about it. The lines are clean and sharp with an understated stylishness that is enhanced on higher grades by an abundance of chrome detailing.

The Tarraco interior has a typically SEAT feel in that everything is well laid out with all the controls easy to find and use. The focus is firmly on functionality but there are enough soft touch surfaces and contrasting finishes, at least in our Xcellence trim car, to lift the perceived quality well above average.

It is also bristling with technology, with all versions getting an intuitive touchscreen multimedia interface with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, while the 10.2-inch customisable digital instrument cluster is similar to that found in Audis.

Of course, practicality is a key requirement of any seven-seat SUV - and the Tarraco scores well in this department.

The elevated cabin is spacious and comfortable, with good head and leg room in the rear and plenty of storage cubbies and charging points as well as easily accessible Isofix points for child seats in the outer rear and front passenger seats.

In truth the two rearmost seats are probably best kept for occasional use - and then only for the kids, so tight is the space back there - but that's the case with most rivals too, and at least clambouring in and out of them is made easier by the individually sliding 60/40 split second row.

There is a usable 230 litres of boot space with all seven seats in place, rising to an impressive 700 litres in normal five-seat mode and a huge 1,775 litres with second and third rows folded flat.

Behind the wheel the Tarraco feels surprisingly like a saloon or hatchback to drive. Body roll in bends is contained impressively for a car of its height and, with quick, responsive steering it feels pretty nimble for its size.

A slightly firmer suspension helps with body control but does mean that you will feel potholes and pock-marked roads slightly more than in some alternatives - although the ride doesn't really stray on to the wrong side of comfortable.

To describe it as engaging might be going a tad too far but it's certainly far from a chore to drive - especially with the 190ps, 2.0-litre petrol power pack beneath the bonnet that our car had.

Mated to a smooth seven-speed automatic transmission, this will propel the Tarraco from 0-62mph in eight seconds and on to a top speed of 131mph, while the 4Drive all-wheel-drive system ensures solid grip at all times.

There is a 1.5-litre petrol option too and a couple of 2.0-litre diesels completing the engine line-up - some available with a six-speed manual gearbox and front wheel drive.

FAST FACTS

SEAT Tarraco Xcellence 2.0 TSI DSG 4Drive

Price: £34,845

Mechanical: 190ps, 1,984cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving four wheels via 7-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 131mph

0-62mph: 8.0 seconds

Combined MPG: 38.7

Insurance Group: 29

C02 emissions: 166g/km

Bik rating: 37%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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