Seat Tarraco long-term test: report 5

Large SUV buyers have never had so much choice, so where does the Seat Tarraco fit in among its competitors?...

Seat Tarraco rear seats

The car Seat Tarraco 2.0 TDI 150 SE Technology Run by Jim Holder, editorial director

Why it’s here To show why it should stand out in the crowded large SUV market

Needs to Be practical, economical and ideal for everything from short urban hops to long-distance holiday travel

Mileage 2148 List price £31,055 Target Price £27,727 Price as tested £31,055 Test economy 37.2mpg Official economy 44.1mpg 

3 January 2020 – Can it seat seven in comfort?

We can probably agree that the main reason for buying a seven-seater is that you occasionally want to carry seven people. But when it comes to the sixth and seventh seats in the third row of the Seat Tarraco, it's important to be aware that not all people are equal.

Let’s start with anyone under 135cm tall – the kind that are required by law to be strapped into a child or booster seat. While they can be slotted into the back of the Tarraco, their seat has to be held in place by a seatbelt, because there is no Isofix system available. The Tarraco isn't alone in this, and it isn't illegal to use a seatbelt-based seat, but it does mean the occupants are likely to be exposed to a lower level of safety in the event of a crash.

Long-term Seat Tarraco boot

And then there are people more than 135cm tall. While they can be strapped in conventionally, even at their smallest they are unlikely to thank you for the privilege, given the gymnastics required to slide into the back and the contortion required to stay there. It’s true that those in the middle row can help, by sliding their seats as far forward as possible, but even then it's a real squeeze for even an average-sized adult in the back. 

All of which means the window of opportunity for using the rearmost seats is rather narrower than you might hope for. Young children in bulky seats have little room and aren’t ideally secured; older children might clamber aboard with enthusiasm but the charm will soon wear off, while polite adults will only hold their tongues for so long.

It’s a great shame, because the front and middle rows offer such comfortable, spacious accommodation. In particular, leg and head room in the middle are exceptional – more than good enough for tall adults. Even the addition of a panoramic roof doesn’t unduly impinge on the space available – unlike in many rivals. 

Seat Tarraco middle seats

That makes it a great car for carrying four or even five adults in the front two rows. But if your priorities are based around carrying small adults or growing children in the middle and rearmost rows, the rival Skoda Kodiaq and Peugeot 5008 offer a better balance that you should consider before you buy.

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