What are you driving?
Nearly the most expensive version of the SEAT Tarraco money can buy right now. The Tarraco is SEAT's take on the Skoda Kodiaq and Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace, and this is our first chance to try out SEAT's largest SUV in its new FR trim level. It sits above the existing SE and Xcellence specifications and it's the sporty looking one, outside and in. More of that below.
Under the bonnet of our test car is the 150hp 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine, mated to the seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox. Like most models in the range, it sends its power to the front wheels only. We're driving the seven-seat model, though SEAT offers the same line-up with five or seven seats. The premium to upgrade to more seats varies from model-to-model as it sometimes means a change in the VRT bands, but it's generally between €1,000 and €2,500 extra - and arguably worth the outlay (which in reality will only be a few Euro extra a month on PCP finance).
Name its best bits
The SEAT Tarraco is, to our eyes, the best-looking of the three Volkswagen Group SUVs (though the facelifted non-Allspace Tiguan has grabbed our attention, too). The FR model gets a set of stylish 20-inch alloy wheels, grey mirror housings and grille surround, black side glass frames and a roof spoiler, further enhancing its appearance.
Inside, there's a set of lovely sports seats and SEAT has managed to resist branding them with the FR name. That is found on the steering wheel, though.
Standard on the Xcellence and FR models is a 9.2-inch touchscreen system with navigation and digital instruments, which works well and looks smart.
All versions get smartphone mirroring, though the FR does without the 'Connectivity box' fitted to the Xcellence, which means no wireless device charger as standard.
Just as important as all the toys is the amount of space on offer. And the Tarraco feels generously proportioned in the front two rows, with average space in the rearmost seats. The rear doors are noticeably long, making it a cinch to get into the back, while there really is massive space for passengers of all shapes and sizes in that row.
In terms of the driving experience, the new 2.0-litre engine is quiet at a cruise and fairly economical, too, managing 7.0 litres/100km in our time with the car. The dual-clutch automatic gearbox works well with it, offering options for those that want a little more than the standard, economy-focused response. On the same subject, the Tarraco's chassis copes well with the larger wheels, even over poor surfaces, despite any adaptive damping, making it one of the better SUVs of its size in terms of driving dynamics.
Anything that bugs you?
The range of engine options is a little limited. There's a solitary 4x4 in the line-up, badged '4Drive', but you need to spend over €10,000 more than this car's already quite high price to get into it. Sure, it comes with the 200hp version of the 2.0 TDI engine, too, but why not offer all-wheel drive with the cheaper diesel engine?
Other than the two diesels, the only other engine option is a 150hp 1.5-litre TSI petrol unit. A plug-in hybrid option is on the way, though.
And why have you given it this rating?
Like its sibling SUVs from VW and Skoda, the SEAT Tarraco is an excellent family car, with loads of space and versatility inside. It's why so many are migrating from traditional MPVs to this shape of vehicle. Well, that and the higher perceived status an SUV seems to come with. The Tarraco is an accomplished machine in any guise, and it looks even better in FR spec, if you're willing to spend the money.