SEAT Tarraco Review 2024

Written by Andy Brady

heycar ratingStylish alternative to Skoda Kodiaq
  • 2019
  • SUV
  • Petrol, Diesel

Quick overview


  • Stylish seven-seat SUV
  • Spacious and upmarket cabin
  • Cheaper than the equivalent Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace


  • It’s not exactly a full-size seven-seater
  • You can spend a lot of money on a high-spec model
  • The 2.0-litre petrol is thirsty

Overall verdict on the SEAT Tarraco

"As you'll read in this SEAT Tarraco review, the car is a practical seven-seat SUV wrapped up in a more stylish package than the Skoda Kodiaq. It’s got a premium and versatile cabin, is good to drive and should be cheap to run, provided you avoid the thirsty 2.0-litre petrol. While it represents good value for money, high-spec models are surprisingly expensive, even on the used market."

SEAT Tarraco Review 2024 Front View

Skoda launched its Kodiaq in 2016 and it quickly became the default choice for car buyers with a growing family. So, when sister brand SEAT sought to introduce its own take on the seven-seat SUV a few years later, it had quite a challenge on its hands. How could it offer something equally competitive without copying the formula like-for-like?

The result is the SEAT Tarraco. It builds on the Kodiaq with added technology, slightly sportier driving dynamics, and - arguably - more stylish looks.

It shares an engine line-up with the Kodiaq (and the slightly more expensive Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace), meaning buyers get a choice of 2.0-litre diesels and 1.5- or 2.0-litre petrols. You can also choose from manual or DSG automatic gearboxes, as well as two- or four-wheel drive.

Although it’s not politically correct to say so these days, we actually rate the diesels in the SEAT Tarraco. They cope better with the weight of an SUV of this size, with plenty of torque providing a relaxed driving experience. The lower-powered 150PS diesel engine will suit most buyers but the 190PS version makes for particularly effortless motorway driving. It comes with four-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox as standard, too, which is the caravanner’s dream combination.

If you only cover low miles (or do a lot of driving around town), you’d be better off with a petrol. Unfortunately, the 2.0-litre petrol is particularly thirsty, which makes it hard to recommend. The 1.5-litre petrol is more frugal, although you will have to be prepared to drop down a gear or two when you get to hills or look to overtake.

The SEAT Tarraco is a more nimble handler than the Skoda Kodiaq, although it still feels like a big old bus compared to the smaller SEAT Ateca. And, because engineers have tried to make the Tarraco better to drive, it’s suspension is rather firm. It’ll thump over potholes and you’ll have to slow down significantly for speed bumps. It’s better on 17- or 18-inch wheels, rather than the 19- or 20-inch alloys that furnish high-spec models.

A highlight of the SEAT Tarraco is its cabin. It might not be as interesting to look at as a Peugeot 5008’s, but it’s functional and feels pretty classy. It’s also quite a tech-fest - all models come with an eight-inch media display as well as a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster behind the steering wheel.

And, of course, it’s very practical. There’s loads of room up front, with a high seating position and supportive seats. Adults will be equally happy in the middle row, although the third row of seats really is for occasional use only. If you need to carry lots of passengers, you should be looking at the dull-but-uber-practical SEAT Alhambra people carrier instead.

All in all, the SEAT Tarraco takes an already winning formula (as seen in the Skoda Kodiaq) and makes it even more appealing. If you like a family SUV that handles well, offers stylish looks and features the latest technology, the SEAT Tarraco is a very strong choice indeed.

Looking for a used car for sale? We've got 100s of SEAT Approved Used Cars for Sale for you to choose from, including a wide range of SEAT Tarraco cars for sale.

Like most seven-seat SUVs, the SEAT Tarraco isn’t going to cut it if you really need to carry seven adults regularly. But it’s still a very practical choice, with a stylish cabin that feels well up to the job of dealing with day-to-day family life. It’s also good to drive, with a wide range of efficient petrol and diesel engines.

We think the 2.0-litre TDI is the pick of the bunch, although you’d be better with a petrol if you only cover low miles. In terms of models, go for a mid-level trim. The SE Technology has everything most buyers will need without breaking the bank.

If you’re considering a SEAT Tarraco, you should also consider the Skoda Kodiaq and Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace. Both of which share engines and a platform with the Tarraco, making choosing between them difficult. The Tiguan Allspace is a bit more upmarket than the SEAT, although you’ll pay for that, while the Kodiaq is slightly waftier to drive (which may or may not be a good thing, depending on your requirements).

Outside of the Volkswagen Group, you should also consider the stylish Peugeot 5008 with its futuristic interior. The Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento represent good value for money, while the Ford Kuga is another strong choice (although it’s not available with seven seats).

Comfort and design: SEAT Tarraco interior

"The SEAT Tarraco is one of the most rounded SUVs on sale, with decent interior quality, an excellent driving position, great infotainment and an interior that is roomy and flexible.

SEAT Tarraco Review 2024 Infotainment

You'll find that it's easy to get a comfortable driving position because of the wide range of adjustment available for the seat and steering wheel. 

One-up-from-base SEAT Tarraco SE Technology models have tinted rear windows, which are great if you have kids in the back, while climbing another step to FR adds keyless entry and go, so no more sifting through your pockets to find your keys. 

FR Sport cars feel reasonably luxurious with their leather seats that are heated in the front and the back, while Xcellence models have a genuinely posh feel with Alcantara upholstery and front sills that light up. To that, top-banana Xcellence Lux models add an electrically adjustable driver's seat with a memory function. 

The SEAT Tarraco’s interior feels significantly plusher than we’re used to from Volkswagen’s Spanish brand. You’ll find lots of soft-touch materials and neat finishes, meaning it’s almost as classy as the pricier Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace.

Initially, an 8.0-inch touchscreen media system was standard across the range, including navigation across all but basic SE models. Later on, the screen was upgraded to 8.2 inches on the SE and 9.2 inches on all other versions.

Reardless of which iteration your car has, it's a really simple device to use, with useful shortcut buttons and quick responses. It might look like it’s plonked on the dashboard like an afterthought, but it’s conveniently positioned close to the driver’s eye line, which means it isn’t too distracting, although we’d like it more if it had a Mazda-like rotary controller between the seats. That said, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are fitted as standard and both have excellent voice recognition systems that mean you barely have to take your hands off the wheel to do simple tasks. 

If you’re looking at the SEAT Tarraco, you’re probably most concerned with how spacious it is. There’s loads of room in the front, with big comfortable seats and lots of useful storage spaces. In the back, the middle row of seats can slide backwards and forwards as well as recline, meaning you can prioritise comfort or boot space.

The rear doors open 90 degrees giving you superb access to the back seats, which is a boon when you come to fitting a child seat. The Skoda's tall height and roominess make manoeuvring that seat into position easy, and the Isofix points are clear to see, allowing you to get the chair quickly slotted into place. 

There’s plenty of space back there, although the same can’t be said for the rearmost seats. These really are for occasional use by children only. And when they’re in use, they eat up boot space - leaving just 230 litres for luggage. The SEAT Tarraco has boot space of 700 litres with five seats in use.

The SEAT Tarraco has dimensions of 4735mm long, 1674mm wide and 1839mm tall. 

Handling and ride quality: What is the SEAT Tarraco like to drive

"Like the smaller SEAT Ateca, the Tarraco is a sporty choice, with direct handling and a firmer ride than competitors (including the very similar Skoda Kodiaq). We’d recommend looking for one with the 18-inch alloy wheels, unless you like feeling every bump in the road."

SEAT Tarraco Review 2024 Front View

As motorway car, the Tarraco is brilliant. It's a relaxed cruiser and even models with larger wheels ride comfortably. Adaptive cruise control is standard across the range, so the SEAT will accelerate and brake for you so long drives are less mind-numbingly boring.

As a relatively bulky SUV, you might expect the Tarraco to slip up in town, but it doesn't: it turns reasonable tightly and all models have rear parking sensors that allow you to reverse with confidence. FR Sport models and above have a reversing camera, while Xcellence Lux cars have a 360-degree camera, which makes negotiating width restrictors less of a heart-in-mouth exercise.

There are a few turbocharged petrol engines to choose from. The most popular were a 1.5- or 2.0-litre TSI, the former with a manual or automatic gearbox and two-wheel drive, while the latter comes with 4Drive all-wheel drive and DSG automatic transmission.

The 1.5-litre petrol will be sufficient for most buyers, although it does feel a little strained when fully-loaded. The 2.0-litre is noticeably punchier, although it’s not a frugal choice. Another version of the 2.0-litre had 245PS, but this was only offered for a short time and we never got to try it.

If you cover a lot of motorway miles, we’d recommend looking for the 2.0-litre diesel engine, which is available in a variety of flavours. The standard 150PS model is potent enough and can be combined with a manual or automatic gearbox and two- or four-wheel drive. For the ultimate in pulling power, look for a 2.0 TDI 190 engine (later uprated from 190PS to 200PS), which comes as standard with the DSG auto transmission and all-wheel drive, though strangely it doesn't feel that much quicker than the 150 model and isn't quite so smooth.

The Tarraco suffers from a little bit of wind noise from around the windscreen pillars and the mirrors, but it's no more than a distant flutter unless you go well beyond legal speeds. Tyre rumble is only really an issue on cars with larger wheels while engine noise is very well muted at a cruise. 

The SEAT Tarraco got a five-star rating for safety when it was crash tested by Euro NCAP in 2019.

Standard safety kit includes the usual collection of airbags as well as eCall, which will phone the emergency services if the car is in an accident, and automatic emergency brakes that can detect cars and people. You also get lane assist that gently steers the car in lane and hill-hold assist that stops the car from rolling when you're setting off on a hill. 

MPG and fuel costs: How much does a SEAT Tarraco cost to run?

"Economy-minded buyers should look for a diesel, unless you only cover short journeys around town. The 2.0 TDI 150 is the most efficient, officially returning up to 48.7mpg in WLTP fuel economy tests (depending on things like the trim level and wheel size)."

SEAT Tarraco Review 2024 Back Car Seats

This drops to 42.2mpg with the automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive, while the more powerful 2.0 TDI 190 with DSG transmission and all-wheel drive returns up to 39.2mpg.

The petrol models are less frugal, particularly if you buy one with the 2.0 TSI engine. This only comes with four-wheel-drive and the DSG gearbox, and officially it’s good for up to 31.7mpg. Ouch. The 1.5-litre petrol is better, returning up to 38.7mpg with the manual gearbox or 39.2mpg as an auto. 

Realistically, though, you can probably knock 10mpg off both the 2.0 and 1.5-litre models' figures in the real world.

SEAT didn't come in for particular criticism in our sister website Honest John's Satisfaction Index, but Volkswagen, which SEAT shares many of its parts with, came in fourth place in our list of the top ten least reliable manufacturers. SEAT's cars come as standard with a three-year/60,000-mile warranty, which isn't a patch on the seven-year cover you get with a Kia Sorento. 

The cheapest SEAT Tarraco to insure is the 150PS 1.5-litre petrol model in SE trim, which sits in insurance group 19. Group 31 insurance means the 2.0 TSI 245 Xcellence model with a DSG gearbox and 4Drive four-wheel drive costs the most to insure. 

Taxing the SEAT Tarraco won't cost the earth, because it's taxed at the same £190 flat rate as all other petrol and diesel cars, but it pays to avoid top-end models that cost more than £40,000. These are subject to the UK's premium car tax, meaning you'll have to pay an extra £390 on top for the first five years of ownership, which transfers to the new owner if you sell the car on.

How much should you be paying for a used SEAT Tarraco?

"The SEAT Tarraco has been on sale since 2019, meaning there are some considerable savings to be made on the used market."

SEAT Tarraco Review 2024 Side Rear View

If you don't mind an early car with a fairly chunky mileage of around 50,000 miles, you can pick up a Tarraco for around the £18,000 mark. This will most likely have one of the 150PS engines - petrol or diesel - and an appealing trim level.

If you fancy something a bit younger, a 2022 or 2023 car with around 20,000 miles will cost you more like £30,000.

The SEAT Tarraco range kicks off with the SE grade. This comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, a touchscreen media system (with DAB radio and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto), the 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, rear parking sensors and three-zone climate control.

SE Technology models build on this with 18-inch alloy wheels, tinted rear windows and navigation with 3D mapping. Later versions also got a bigger touchscreen.

The stylish Tarraco FR adds 19-inch alloy wheels, black exterior highlights (including the grille and roof rails), a rear spoiler and a twin exhaust system. Sports seats trimmed in Alcantara and cloth are standard, along with electric seat adjustment for the driver’s seat. The FR also comes with adaptive cruise control, keyless entry and go and an electric tailgate. The park assist feature is also standard with self-parking functionality and front parking sensors.

The FR Sport builds on the FR trim with 20-inch alloy wheels, leather seats, a rear- and top-view camera and the Winter pack (with heated front and rear seats as well as heated washer nozzles).

The posh Tarraco Xcellence (later renamed Xperience) comes with 19-inch alloy wheels, chrome exterior trim (including roof rails and window trim), along with front sports seats in cloth with Alcantara. Technology includes the adaptive cruise control, keyless start, electric tailgate, park assist and a rear-view camera.

Topping the range is the Tarraco Xcellence Lux (later renamed Xperience Lux). This comes with 20-inch alloy wheels, leather sports seats (with electric adjustment for the driver), a top-view camera and Winter pack.

Ask the heycar experts: common questions

The SEAT Tarraco comes with seven seats - although they're perhaps best suited to carrying older children than six-foot tall adults.
The SEAT Tarraco is a stylish seven-seat SUV that's a great alternative to, say, a VW Tiguan Allspace.
Both the SEAT Tarraco and the Skoda Kodiaq use the MBQ architecture, which is also the platform used for the SEAT Ateca and the Volkswagen Golf.

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