SEAT goes large with

new SUV

SEAT Tarraco
SEAT Tarraco head on
SEAT Tarraco profile
SEAT Tarraco rear threequarter
SEAT Tarraco rear
SEAT Tarraco grille detail
SEAT Tarraco cockpit

SEAT is set to big it up in the SUV market as it launches a new flagship model which gives clues to a new design direction for the Spanish maker.

Called the Tarraco - it's loosely named after the Spanish city of Tarragona - it is the company's third and largest SUV and completes the family line-up alongside the smaller Arona and Ateca models.

It's yet another variation on the VW Group's range of sports utility vehicles which now sit across the Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda and SEAT brands, but it has its own, distinct Mediterranean style which points the way to the styling of future SEAT models.

At the front there's a more prominent grille, giving greater presence and character, and while the LED headlights retain the company's triangular signature they are set further into the body, giving a more focused appearance.

Says Alejandro Mesonero, the company's design director: "I believe the new Tarraco gives a strong impression when you see it for the first time because of its excellent proportions and elegant, yet sporty design. It delivers a feeling of proudness thanks to its assertive front end, a front end that gives you a hint to what future SEAT's will look like."

Due to go on sale in Europe early next year, the Tarraco is built on VW's long wheelbase platform and will be available in five or seven seat configurations with two trim options - SE and Xcellence.

Two petrol variants will be available: a four-cylinder 1.5 litre, 148bhp unit linked to a six-speed manual transmission powering the front wheels, and a two litre, 187bhp engine mated to a seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox and all-wheel-drive.

There will also be two diesel options, both two litre turbodiesels, with power outputs of 148 and 187bhp. The 148bhp variant can be connected to either a front-wheel drive, six-speed manual or the DSG auto with four wheel drive while the higher powered version will only be available with all-wheel-drive mated to the DSG gearbox.

Other "alternative" powertrains will be available later, says SEAT, hinting at the probability of hybrid or electric power.

Features will include dynamic chassis control (DCC) whwich allows the driver to tune suspension settings modifying the ride depending on the road surface and driving style.

It will also come with a host of driving assistance systems either as standard or options including what SEAT calls a "digital cockpit" featuring an eight inch screen with gesture control - the first time the system has been used in a SEAT model.

Details of UK specifications and prices will be revealed closer to the Tarraco's showroom launch next year.

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