Just what the World needs – another SUV.
In the olden days, when I first started writing and jibbering about motorcars, life was simpler. We more or less just drove about in, um, cars. Now we have SUVs and crossovers – the latter was a brassiere back then – we have MPVs, people carriers and supercars. People carriers are vans with seats and windows and those have gone out of favour, mercifully. However, the public thirst for SUVs is seemingly boundless and the car lover in me wishes it would stop. For goodness sake, even brands that should know better are in on the act. Maserati, Bentley, Alfa Romeo and now even Rolls Royce, with possibly the most bum clenchingly hideous car in the world – the Cullinan. This excrescence was inevitable in a global market awash with too much money way too little taste. Already our footballist chums are twitching to sign on the dotted line, as are many Chinese. Most of these Rolls Royce Silver Turds, as they should be called, will hopefully end up in the sandier parts of the world. My summer holidays were spent with my rich and famous friends in St.Tropez, where I saw quite a number of Turds. QED.
Seat, which falls under the gigantic VW umbrella, has now complimented its own small and medium sized MPV fleet, with a big one. Seen here, it’s called the Tarraco. Apart from the brand’s little city car, the VW Up! sourced Mii, all Seats are named after places in Spain. However, I couldn’t recall awareness of a region or city in Spain by that name. Research reveals that Tarraco is the ancient Roman name for Tarragona, in the North East of the country. You read a car review in this organ and get a history and geography lesson thrown in. Great, no?
As driven here, the Tarraco has seven seats and all-wheel-drive. Lesser models make do with just five chairs and front-wheel-drive. My vibe, as stated, is a tad anti-SUV. The idea of driving such a thing with two wheel drive only, strikes me as pointless beyond comprehension. Talk about all sizzle and no sausage. Some years ago, Mitsubishi presented this as an option for their Outlander. It was so unpopular that it was promptly withdrawn from UK dealerships before too many customers noticed.
Here I drive the range topping Tarragona Excellence with a full compliment of seats and all wheels driven, when called so to do by conditions. A four cylinder 2.0 litre (whisper it) diesel engine with a useful 190PS hauls this model along through a snappy seven speed DSG gearbox. A six cog manual is an option, again in lesser models. There’s a less powerful diesel as an option and 1.5 and 2.0 litre petrol jobs in various states of tune are also available. However, the latter choices are less tractable and less economical. However, given all the contradictory nonsense being spewed about Dr Diesel’s fine invention, not to mention the derision it suddenly induces, most of you Tarraco punters will go for a petrol option, I’m sure. I’d avoid the 1.5 three cylinder, however. It’s a fine little donkey but doesn’t really have the balls to schlep this large hector up hill and down dale.
Big? Well think VW Tiguan or Škoda Kodiaq with a Seat face and a few extra creases to the waist line and a reflector filled tailgate and you should get the idea. Running gear and platform are shared.
A mixed bag inside, with money saving cheap scratchy plastics on the lower door panels. The more visible stuff is better and refreshingly familiar and VW-ish. Good and preemptive fare, with a big touch screen taking centre stage on the dash. Blue Teeth and connectivity all present and correct, as at this level you would expect.
Seven seats in this Seat, as I say, though the third row strictly for crumb snatchers or adults on short trips. Given the top spec billing here, I wasn’t wild about the cloth seats, nor the pattern thereof. I think, given that this could well be a mummy wagon, less absorbent covers would be better.
The Seat Tarraco is a practical thing and with this engine pulls, drives and handles with plenty of vim and vigour. But you won’t be buying a diesel and, given the climate, I understand that. Tell you what though. Manufacturers always make totally unrealistic claims about fuel economy but here, for then first time ever, I managed better than Seat’s claim of 37mpg. Mind you, I was having a slow week.
Seat Tarraco from £28,230 – As driven 38,225