First things first. The Tarraco is quite a good looking large SUV. But, it’s also quite a familiar looking large SUV. This is understandable as it shares a very large percentage of its DNA with siblings from the VW Group. The Tarraco is manufactured in Germany alongside the Skoda Kodiaq and the VW Tiguan Allspace. If you’ve seen either of those cars, you’ll recognise a lot of shared features. The old adage goes “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” and there’s nothing wrong with the styling of any of these cars, but I can’t help but feel they could have been a bit more adventurous with the choices here.
That complaint out of the way, the Tarraco has a good, solid design. It looks like an SUV, it is an SUV. With a length of over 4.7 metres and a height of almost 1.7 metres, you’re not getting a small hatchback in disguise here. The look suits the car.
Upgrading to the “Xcellence” trim line will bag you some subtle differences in styling, most notably the chrome detailing on the front grille, skirts, and roof rack, which sets off the lines of the Tarraco nicely. These are solid black on the “SE” trim.
The first thing you’ll notice when sitting into the new Tarraco is the space. This is, after all, a big car, but compared to some of the competition you feel like you have room inside. Headroom and legroom for passengers is excellent. In Ireland we have a choice of a 5 or a 7 seater model, a choice our UK friends don’t have (all UK Tarracos are 7 seater).
If you opt for the 7 seater model, you’ll probably want to stick the littlest ones right at the back. You won’t be making any friends if you put full grown adults back there, but it is roomy enough for children.
All in all, the interior feels a little more luxurious than some of the competition. There are little touches that are tactile and more comfortable. The door bins, for example are lined with a soft fabric rather than a scratchy plastic, the dashboard is soft-touch, the seat fabric is good too.
All models come with a crisp, clear and responsive 8 inch touch screen infotainment system that includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity. Surprisingly, the digital dashboard is also fitted as standard.
As you’d probably expect from a car of this size, boot space is great. Choosing the 7 seater will obviously eat into the space somewhat, but when you’re not doing the school run you can fold the rear seats to an almost horizontal position giving you acres of space. There isn’t much of a load lip to speak of so sliding bulkier objects in isn’t an issue. The opening is wide and square so no awkward corners to navigate.
If you’re looking for out and out performance in a car, most likely you won’t be considering a large SUV. That being said, the Tarraco isn’t a slow, lumbering land giant. The 2.0 litre diesel can reach a top speed of 210 km/h and the highest spec petrol engine will push the Tarraco slightly faster (211 km/h). From a standing start you’ll reach 100 km/h in 8 seconds in both the higher end engines.
The Tarraco is built upon the same foundations as the other big SUVs from the Volkswagen Group. Their MQB programme standardises the technology and manufacturing processes across their range, so it should be fairly safe to make some assumptions about the reliability of these models.
Your choice of engine will impact the running costs of course. There is quite a bit of variance between setups, with the 5 seater diesel having the lowest CO2 emissions and the 2 litre petrol TSI engine creating the highest. The combined WLTP range for the 5 seater diesel Tarraco is 148 – 167 g/km, the 2.0 litre TSI engine rises to a maximum of 214 g/km.
Fuel consumption likewise varies by engine choice and car weight. The thirstiest is of course the highest spec petrol engine, consuming up to 9.5 l/100km (close to 30 mpg). The most frugal is the 150 bhp diesel which could achieve consumption rates of 5.7 l/100km (close to 50 mpg).
For a big SUV, the Tarraco is surprisingly nimble and responsive. It handles well on Irish roads, never offering much in the way of resistance, it does what you ask of it and you don’t feel like you’re lugging around a giant weight.
EuroNCAP scored the Tarraco an impressive 97% for the safety of adult occupants in their crash tests. Overall, they awarded their full five stars for safety. Even the entry level Tarraco comes with a host of safety features. Included as standard are a tiredness recognition system that warns when it senses the driver is fatigued, lane keeping assistance, autonomous emergency braking, and isofix points in the rear and front passenger seats.
The entry level “SE” model Tarraco starts from €34,700, while the more premium “Xcellence” trim starts with a price tag of €39,885