Every so often in the car industry, there’s a manufacturer that is doing particularly well. Now it is the turn of SEAT. They tell us that sales are better than ever and they are now introducing their All-New Tarraco SUV.
Indeed it is already being delivered to customers. They will no doubt be told, amongst other things, that RVs (residual values) are impressive. Pricing starts at £28,335 and, including First Edition models, reaches more than £40K at the top-of-the-range. There are four versions, starting with SE, then Technology, then Excellence and topping out with Luxury.
Within SEAT’s so-called EASYMOVE marketing framework for the Tarraco, each version comes with no options, You know, therefore, I exactly how much you are going to pay before you enter the showroom — of course, you should use that as your starting point in any case.
The Tarraco is, in SEAT’s words, ‘totally different’ from their smaller SUVs. Well, obviously…it’s much bigger. Yes, it also has its own styling, with that front grille treatment, and triangular lights. 20-inch wheels are available for the first time.
More noteworthy is that it is a seven-seater. No choice, seven seats. Therefore it doesn’t take a Sherlock Holmes to deduce where the Tarraco is aimed. Should that family actually not always want seven seats, then the back two or back fivefold flat to allow plenty of luggage capacity. The boot has been well-designed and removing and stowing the tonneau cover is easier than in some other SUVs.
The best-selling version will be the petrol-powered 150PS car. At the press launch, none were available, so it was the 2.0 TDI 150 that features here.
This Tarraco Xcellence First edition version costs £36,470 for the manual, which recorded 34.7 mpg on an 85-mile route. Roads varied from motorway to urban to rural, so it was a good indication of how economical or otherwise this one might be. The official combined cycle mpg ranges from 44.1 to 47.1 mpg, depending on which legislation is followed.
The car was easy to drive, with good all-round visibility, and had a good turn of pace, being able to reach 62 mph in 9.8 seconds. Being diesel, there was plenty of mid-range overtaking power.
It handled nicely and even in narrow, twisting country lanes, there was no sense of unease should something suddenly appear from the other direction; similarly, without being silly about it, the brakes proved to halt the car with reassuring safety.
Motorways are a complete doddle: 70 mph at around 1800 rpm, and I can see the Tarraco being just the car for a family or group of friends to travel long distances on holidays in quiet comfort.
The manual gear change worked beautifully, simple and quick it’s a nicely-weighted clutch action.
A pleasant cabin features Alcantara seats in the Excellence (although there was some hard plastic that ever-so-slightly cheapened the effect) and over all sorts of road surfaces the ride remained supple and comfortable.
A short drive in a 190 PS diesel (£36,330) with a 7-speed DSG automatic gearbox revealed an SUV with real performance. Zero to 62 mph in 8.0 seconds is hardly slower than my old Porsche 911.
The Tarraco, designed in Spain and built in Germany, is SEAT’s first large SUV; will it succeed in furthering SEAT’s current success? Could be. And owners new to the marque will find that, with 122 retailers, there should be one not too far away.
Car reviewed: Seat Tarraco XCELLENCE First Edition 2.0 TDI NR 150PS, on the road price £36,470 0-62mph 9.8secs Top speed 126mph Engine 1966cc 4 cylinder diesel Euro 6.2 Fuel Economy Combined 57.6mpg CO2 emissions 129g/km Max Power 150PS@3500rpm Torque 340Nm@1750rpm Transmission 6-speed manual
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Tom Scanlan has written for a wide variety of magazines and newspapers, particularly the Reading Evening Post for ten years, having got into motoring journalism in 1973 via the somewhat unlikely back door of the British Forces Broadcasting Service. BFBS produced a weekly radio motoring show for the services overseas and Tom produced it, as well as interviewing experts and eventually reporting on cars.
He is into classic cars and has owned Porsche, Ferrari, pre-war Alvis and Rileys and currently owns his fifth old Alfa Romeo, a 1984 GTV 2.0.
In his spare time, Tom is a professional cricket coach.
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