A fair description of the Seat Tarraco would be “the same, but different”.
After all, it’s pretty much the same vehicle underneath as the Škoda Kodiaq or the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace. But actually, it is a bit different, with a certain Spanish flair that’s missing from the so-practical Škoda or the upwardly mobile VW.
However, while flair is all well and good, when you’re picking the best used tow car, this can also translate as ‘pain in the neck’. Most people who are choosing a tow car want something that will happily cope with a caravan and make their lives easier when it isn’t hitched up. So can the Tarraco handle the humdrum side of life, and make you feel good while doing so?
What’s a Seat Tarraco like inside?
Well, for a start, the Tarraco has seats, and plenty of them. Seven, in fact, so you can take lots of people away with you, or you can fold down the rearmost pair and carry five people and all of their luggage.
There’s loads of space for the two people in the front, and finding a suitable driving position is easy, because everything adjusts every which way. The three seats in the middle row all adjust independently, and can be moved back and forth as necessary. The backrests can be reclined, too.
Farther back, there are two smaller seats that are really only suitable for children.
When these are folded down, there are 700 litres of space available, which should be enough, but if not, there are 1775 litres with the second and third rows folded.
Practicality is enhanced by the fact that you can remove the parcel shelf and store it under the boot floor, too.
All of the models in the range feel classy and are well kitted out, something we like to see when we’re looking for the best tow car. Even entry-level SE versions of the Tarraco come with automatic lights and wipers, tri-zone climate control and an electrically folding door mirror, while on Xcellence models, you also get an electrically operated tailgate and a reversing camera, which is pretty much all you should need.
How does a Seat Tarraco drive?
Tow car buyers will be very well served by the 187bhp 2.0-litre diesel, which also produces 295lb ft of torque.
The DSG gearbox shifts ratios smoothly and without fuss, but on hill routes, you’ll find yourself switching from Drive to Sport, so that it isn’t quite so keen to choose a higher ratio in the interests of economy.
It is a shame that the Tarraco’s engine can sound a bit gruff when you’re running at higher revs, though.
The steering is accurate enough, and the suspension firm, which helps with stability when you’re towing.
Indeed, the car is completely unfazed when you’ve hitched up a caravan, either along twisty roads or on the motorway.
However, the downside of the firm set-up is that the ride can be quite harsh when the Seat is being driven solo.
Traction can also be a bit tricky at times in front-drive examples, particularly on hill starts, although the electric parking brake does take out some of the strain.
What will it tow?
- Kerbweight: 1845kg
- Towing limit: 2300kg
- Towball limit: 80kg
- 85% match: 1568kg
- Seat Tarraco 2.0 TDI 190 Xcellence 4Drive
- Insurance group: 30
- Annual VED £165*
- Average economy: 37.2mpg
- Interim/full service: £115/£163
*Remember to add an extra £355 if your vehicle cost more than £40,000 when new
Servicing prices by Servicing Stop, 0844 324 5262, servicingstop.co.uk
Almost 2100 early vehicles were recalled for a software update, because their engines weren’t producing as much torque as
they should have at low revs.
A small number were later recalled because the walls of their fuel tanks were too thin. Cracked seat frames forced another recall, as did faulty fuses and certain engine covers.
A full list of vehicle recalls can be found at www.check-vehicle-recalls.service.gov.uk.
What to pay
- High: Price: £42,000; Model: 2022 2.0 TDI FR Sport; Miles: 2700
- Sweet spot: Price: £26,000; Model: 2019 2.0 TDI Xcellence; Miles: 15,000
- Low: Price: £17,000; Model: 2019 2.0 TDI Xcellence Lux; Miles: 93,000
The Seat Tarraco is strong and stable while towing and has enough space for everyone to be comfortable. It’s just a pity that the ride is quite so firm, however, and that the fun factor normally associated with Seat as a brand is curiously absent here – in the end it’s the same, but not so different.
After a driving air to help improve your experience on the road? Then check out our best caravan sat nav guide, where we share our top picks on the market.
Alternatives to a used Seat Tarraco
Kia Sorento (2015-2020)
There’s only one engine (a 2.2-litre diesel), so it’s just as well it’s strong and smooth. It’s worth seeking out an example fitted with the optional auto gearbox if you tow on a regular basis.
All models have plenty of kit – even entry-level cars have air-con and reversing sensors – but KX-2 trim is best value, because it also adds a reversing camera.
See our review of the 4th generation 2020 Kia Sorento.
The 5008 is more spacious than it looks, housing up to seven people. And the boot is massive, too.
The 2.0-litre diesels offer a great blend of punch and economy, but be aware the 5008 is front-wheel drive, with no four-wheel-drive option available. It’s also light, with a kerbweight of 1565kg. And make sure you can live with the slightly unusual driving position.
Find out more about a used Peugeot 5008.
The Kodiaq is the Tarraco’s sensible sibling, offering the flexibility of seven seats and plenty of space (except in the rear two). It also has a reasonable amount of standard kit, including dual-zone climate control, heated front seats and blindspot detection.
The Škoda will tow with confidence (although it can be buffeted by crosswinds), and is a comfortable and relaxing solo drive.
Find out more about a used Škoda Kodiaq.
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