Seat Tarraco 2.0 TSI 245 FR 5dr DSG 4Drive
- Price£ 39,255
Seat reckons the Tarraco is the sportiest SUV in its segment, which is overselling things a touch, but it’s hardly a hippo either. Seat has clearly worked hard to disguise the Tarraco’s bulk, with direct steering and taut suspension that keeps things steady without degenerating into a juddering mess of a ride.
More expensive versions do. The 4WD system can send 50 per cent of the power to the rear axle when called upon. Of course that has advantages in the wet, but also if you venture into the wild. It’s unlikely that most Tarraco owners will be faced with an overland adventure through the Gobi, but the 4WD and traction systems were good enough to pull us up a gravelly, 40-degree hill from a standstill. So they’ll probably get you across a field.
The Tarraco is a good cruiser on the motorway, which is what you’ll surely appreciate it most for. There’s no fancy adaptive suspension or anything like that, and the drive modes dial offers options for Normal, Sport and Individual, with changes restricted to throttle and steering, as well as gearchanges if you’ve gone for an auto box. Four-wheel-drive models offer additional modes for off-road and snow, though realistically you’re not going to be greenlaning through the winter.
If this were a blindfolded test – and for insurance reasons it is not – you’d struggle to notice any difference over a Kodiaq. Though compared with other seven-seaters like the Kia Sorento or Nissan X-Trail, you may detect a little less lean, and sharper reactions here and there. But you’d never believe you were operating anything other than an SUV capable of transporting seven humans, so long as the two in the very back are either small or masochistic.
Driving the Tarraco is a simple affair and the car feels more nimble and compact than its true size – it would be a dependable and practical family car. Some downsides – the 1.5-litre petrol has to be revved to get the car going, and the DSG auto is occasionally slow-witted, but you’ll get into the habit of hitting the accelerator slightly in advance of when you’ll need it to get the car going.
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