SEAT goes big with

Tarraco SUV

SEAT Tarraco, 2019, front, action
SEAT Tarraco, 2019, front, static
SEAT Tarraco, 2019, nose, action
SEAT Tarraco, 2019, side
SEAT Tarraco, 2019, side, action
SEAT Tarraco, 2019, side, action, road
SEAT Tarraco, 2019, side
SEAT Tarraco, 2019, rear
SEAT Tarraco, 2019, rear, static
SEAT Tarraco, 2019, rear, action, road
SEAT Tarraco, 2019, interior
SEAT Tarraco, 2019, display screen
SEAT Tarraco, 2019, rear seats
SEAT Tarraco, 2019, boot, seven seats
SEAT Tarraco, 2019, boot, five seats
SEAT Tarraco, 2019, boot, maximum

SPANISH auto brand SEAT is going large on the SUV front with the introduction of the seven seat Tarraco.

At 15ft 6ins in length it is more than a foot longer than SEAT's original SUV the Ateca and more the size of a Kia Sorento or even an Audi Q7.

While the rear seats are really only for occasional use and then mainly for youngsters, the Tarraco has a good amount of boot space ranging from a supermini sized 230 litres with all seats in use to a van-like 1,775 litres with the second and third rows folded flat.

In everyday set up as a five seater, the Tarraco has 700 litres of cargo space - and that's significantly more than the Kia and other alternatives.

The Tarraco - it's named after the Spanish city of Tarragona - is also keenly priced and the 16 model line up costs from £28,355.

That's for a 1.5-litre 150ps turbo petrol version in entry level SE trim and the initial line up tops out at £38,055 for a high specification Xcellence Lux model powered by a 2.0-litre diesel with 190ps on tap.

In between are 2.0-litre 150ps diesels with either manual or seven speed DSG automatic transmissions and 190ps 2.0-litre petrols which are DSG and four-wheel-drive only.

The 4x4 versions use SEAT's electronic 4Drive system which engages the extra traction via the drive mode selector.

The set up is available on all 2.0-litre engines with the DSG box and is priced from £33,000 for a 150ps diesel.

We have just tried the Tarraco with both the 150ps diesel manual powertrain and the 2.0-litre DSG petrol and each has its own characteristics.

The Tarraco weighs some 1.8 tonnes and with the diesel engine can complete 0 to 60 in 9.8 seconds, topping out at 125mph.

The petrol is livelier at 8.0 seconds and 131mph but in reality there is little to separate the two with the diesel having more mid-range pull thanks to its greater torque.

The real difference is fuel economy with the diesel rated at 47.9mpg at best and the petrol 31 to the gallon. Emissions are 129 and 166g/km respectively.

On our drives the 2.0-litre petrol performed impressively, exceeding the official figure by returning an average of 33 to the gallon. The diesel came in at 42.2mpg over similar routes.

Noise suppression is good and the Tarraco feels well put together, handling well with little body roll.

All versions are well equipped coming with lane departure warning, emergency braking and SEAT's digital cockpit which includes a 10.25-inch multi=mode instrument panel and an eight-inch central display screen.

Navigation is standard on all but the entry level model and every Tarraco is fully smartphone compatible with Apple CarPLay and Android Auto fitted as part of the infotainment package.

The cabin is roomy and comfortable and there's plenty of room for passengers in five seat mode.

From a design perspective SEAT says the Tarraco gives a clue to its future styling and it comes with a more prominent front grille flanked by LED headlights.

LED lights are also used throughout the interior of the car and at the rear allowing for dynamic indicators to be fitted.

Higher grade models also come with automatic parking, adaptive cruise control and an electric tailgate as standard while all models have a multi-mode drive selector allowing the car's dynamics to switch from Eco, to Normal, Sport and an individual setting.

A plug-in hybrid is slated for production by 2020 and SEAT says it plans to increase the Tarraco range later this year with a sporty FR trim.

SUVs have become a rich vein for SEAT and last year made up a third of its 62,000-plus sales in the UK.

That was with just two models -the Arona and the Ateca - in its portfolio. With the Tarraco completing its SUV line up that proportion is likely to rise as the popularity of such high riding models continues to grow.

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