I’m writing this feature from the back seat of SEAT’s terrific seven-seat Tarraco FR in a car park overlooking the lightly lapping waves of a calm Dublin bay. Not only is this SUV exceptionally comfortable, it’s also proven large enough to be a more than adequate home office.
The Tarraco is a full-size SUV, so none of your ‘crossover’ messing here. In fact, it’s the largest of the SEAT range at 4,728mm long, 1,839mm wide, and 1,658mm tall. The driving position is high, the interior is spacious and it gobbles up potholes and speed bumps. My test car was the high-spec FR model, painted in Orix white. It had a 2.0 litre diesel engine, producing 150hp and came with an automatic DSG gearbox with steering wheel-mounted flappy paddle shifters, for when the mood takes you. The cockpit has a nice, sporty, flat-bottomed steering wheel, trimmed with orange stitching that can be found throughout the cabin.
The door pockets are lined with carpet to prevent rattling and the glove box has a cooling setting, so you can chill champagne in there, like James Bond in Goldeneye. On the outside the Tarraco has had a bit of a facelift with a new trim-specific grille with the FR logo, wider, black wheel arching mouldings, black roof rails, and window frames with side mirrors painted in Cosmo grey. And at the back there’s a new spoiler, coast-to-coast lighting, a rear diffusor, and rear logo. Now, I really dislike the font they have used for the model’s name, it reminds me of something you’d see on the front of a nightclub in Playa del Ingles. I’ve mentioned this before, but clearly it fell on deaf ears at SEAT HQ.
The Tarraco’s cabin has done away with old school USB ports in favour of the modern USB-C ports; two in the front and one in the back, with two 12v plugs. As you’d expect there’s dual climate control in the front, but as I’m sitting in the back of this car I see that there’s also controls back here to heat your bum at the push of a button. The leg room and head height is more than adequate in the back and the third row of seats, when pulled up, are perfect for two kids. When the third row of seats are flattened, the boot transforms into a cavern big enough to transport an adult male lion. This is reduced to a smaller hatchback-sized boot when the rear seats are up.
The Tarraco FR is armed with the latest generation infotainment system, which includes a new navigation system with a larger 9.2’’ screen. This is an area where car manufacturers are placing more and more emphasis as connectivity is increasingly important to customers lives. The large touch screen system is intuitive and easy to use. The full link system means that if you use Android or Apple your phone will be mirrored onto the screen, becoming an operating system. A voice control system is also in place for easy interaction. The onboard tech’s cherry on top is the online connectivity unit with an embedded SIM, which means that the driver will never lose connection to the digital world.
To keep everyone onboard safe the Tarraco has an arsenal of safety systems such as the pre-crash assist, predictive adaptive cruise control, emergency assist, and side and exit assist. It also helps around town with lane assist and front assist, that includes bicycle and pedestrian detection as part of the blind spot detection, traffic sign recognition, and traffic jam assist. The pre-crash assist is a system designed to prepare the vehicle and occupants for a potential collision. The onboard systems work together, front seatbelts are pretensioned, windows and sunroofs are closed, and warning lights are activated in order to mitigate the consequences of an accident and keep you and your family as safe as possible.
The predictive adaptive cruise control can position the large Tarraco using GPS data from the navigation system, allowing it to correct its speed depending on the road layout ahead; taking into account bends, roundabouts, junctions, speed limits, and built-up areas. And using input from the front mounted camera and traffic sign recognition, it can adjust vehicle speed when limits change.
The Tarraco is offered in both five- and seven-seat versions, with the base model, five-seat Tarraco SE starting at €38,890 and working its way up to €58,275 for the seven-seat Taracco 2.0TDI 200hp DSG 4Drive. I’m a big fan of SEAT’s FR models, so I’d certainly recommend you take a test drive of the Tarraco when shopping for your multipurpose family wagon.