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In-depth reviews

SEAT Tarraco SUV – Engines, drive & performance

Tarraco feels quite sporty for an SUV but struggles to disguise its bulk

Carbuyer Rating

4.1 out of 5

Owners Rating

5.0 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Engines, drive & performance Rating

4.5 out of 5

The Tarraco proves to be an enjoyable SUV to drive, if your expectations don't run to sports car handling. For such a bulky SUV, the Tarraco turns into corners keenly with a sharp response from the steering when you turn the wheel, and it doesn't lean over as much in corners as you might expect.

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The Tarraco feels more engaging than the Kodiaq, in keeping with SEAT's image as the 'sporty and fun' division of the Volkswagen Group, thanks in part to sitting 20mm lower than the Kodiaq. It's slightly more fun to drive than rivals like the Kia Sorento but, while it can compete with the Land Rover Discovery Sport on road, it's not as adept off it. 

Unfortunately the four-wheel drive SEAT Tarraco 4Drive is no longer offered, but it wasn’t intended as an all-out offroad in any case, more apt for use merely on grassy car parks or rutted tracks – the remaining front-wheel drive models will suit most buyers just fine, so it isn’t really missed, but if you like the extra traction of a four-wheel drive model you’ll find examples on the second-hand market.

Every Tarraco model is available with a dual-clutch DSG automatic gearbox, but only FR, FR Sport, Xperience and Xperience Lux models come with one fitted as standard. Entry-level SE and SE Technology models get a six-speed manual gearbox unless you pay extra for the DSG. A 'drive profile' selector comes as standard, allowing the choice of Normal, Sport, Eco and Individual driving modes that affect the car's steering, throttle response and gear shifts (with an automatic fitted). Four-wheel drive versions also get off-road and snow driving modes.

SEAT Tarraco petrol engines

The engines offered for the Tarraco have been proven in other cars from within the Volkswagen Group – the turbocharged 148bhp 1.5-litre petrol, for instance, has already featured in the SEAT Ateca and SEAT Leon, as well as a host of other models from VW and Skoda. It's smooth, quiet and free of vibration, and is well up to the task of powering this big seven-seat SUV on most roads. It can manage 0-62mph in 9.9 seconds with a manual gearbox, dropping to 9.5 seconds if the DSG automatic is fitted.

However, it feels a little overwhelmed on steep hills when laden with passengers and luggage, and isn't always as eager as you might like when accelerating out of slow corners. The standard six-speed manual gearbox is fairly smooth, but feels slightly at odds with the big Tarraco, which is better suited to an automatic transmission for fuss-free driving.

SEAT Tarraco diesel engines

Drivers who cover the majority of their miles on the motorway will be best served by the 2.0-litre diesel engine. It produces 148bhp – the more powerful 197bhp model has been axed – and can be paired with either a six-speed manual or a DSG automatic. Its 0-62mph time of around 10 seconds isn’t far off the 1.5-litre petrol engine.

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Which Is Best?

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.5 EcoTSI SE First Edition 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £29,905

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.4 eHybrid FR 5dr DSG
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £41,395

Fastest

  • Name
    2.0 EcoTSI 245 Xcellence 5dr DSG 4Drive
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £40,990

Andy is Carbuyer's managing editor, with more than a decade of experience helping consumers find their perfect car. He has an MA in automotive journalism and has tested hundreds of vehicles.

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