The SEAT Tarraco is the 2019 Auto Express Large SUV of the Year, with the Peugeot 5008 and Skoda Kodiaq commended
As SUV sales grow and MPV sales shrink, more and more buyers are turning to larger off-roaders such as the SEAT Tarraco if they need a car with space for seven. The Tarraco is a new winner here, having beaten the Skoda Kodiaq (last year’s winner) in its group test earlier this year.
The Tarraco offers the same as the Skoda, yet the Spanish brand has priced its rival competitively enough for it to take the win in this close-fought category.
First, it features a high-quality, upmarket interior that’s also versatile and practical. The cabin is neatly designed and easy to live with, featuring a long list of equipment including an excellent infotainment system that responds quickly and has solid smartphone connectivity.
There are seven seats, and while legroom is a little tight in the rearmost row, the remaining five are easily big enough for adults to get comfortable. The huge 700-litre boot (with the third row folded down into the floor) is very useful, and the loadbay is nice and flat, boosting versatility.
You’ll also find that the Tarraco is good to drive, thanks to the MQB platform, which brings a good mix of agility and comfort. The standard set-up is good, helping the SEAT to ride smoothly over rough roads and keeping body control in line while cornering, but you can also add adaptive dampers, which allow an even wider spread of ability.
The steering is light and accurate, and the manual gearchange is slick and satisfying. DSG automatic versions are great, too, thanks to the smooth shifts, and take the sting out of driving in heavily congested city traffic.
Finally, the engine range is versatile and you can opt for either the punchy and economical diesels or the more refined petrols depending on your needs. All offer solid performance – albeit nothing special – and decent economy to keep running costs respectable.
Our choice SEAT Tarraco 2.0 TDI 150 SE Technology (£30,820)
The high torque output of a 2.0-litre diesel makes a lot of sense in this large SUV, so we reckon the 148bhp 2.0 TDI is the best pick. Go for a manual – it’s slick and easy to use – to save some cash, while SE Technology trim is great value. It might not have all the toys of high-spec cars, but it has everything you need at the right price.
Peugeot’s seven-seat 5008 builds on the success of the 3008 with which it shares parts by improving its practicality through extra seats. It’s fitted with a range of efficient and punchy engines (the PureTech petrols are great), plus it has loads of space and a superb interior that gives it a character of its own.
The Kodiaq was pipped to the post this year, because the Tarraco was just a little bit better value. But the Skoda is still an excellent buy because it has all the same benefits: a smooth ride, excellent engines and a smart interior. Above all, though, it’s incredibly practical, and it’s also available with just five seats if you want the extra boot space.
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