"The introduction of the Tarraco forms part of our €3.3 billion [£2.93 billion] investment between 2015 and 2019 in the company’s future and the range of vehicles we offer," said Seat boss Luca de Meo. "It completes our family of SUVs, to suit every customer’s need”.
Seat believes that the Tarraco can help it attract new customers and will considerably boost the firm's profits due to the greater margins possible with a larger SUV. De Meo said the Tarraco would help Seat fight in the market for "the main family car in the household."
Seat Tarraco prototype: first drive of family SUV
The Tarraco is built on the Volkswagen Group’s MQB-A long-wheelbase platform, which is also used for the VW Tiguan and Skoda Kodiaq. Sven Schawe, Seat’s chassis development boss, told Autocar that much of the development focus of the car was tuning the VW Group technology – in particular the Tarraco’s Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) systems – to offer a more involving driving experience.
“We used the same philosophy as the Ateca: using the latest technology on a proven VW Group platform and trying to offer one step more to the customer,” said Schawe. “We tried to give the Tarraco the Seat character in terms of driving dynamics, reducing the weight you feel when driving it. It fits into the family DNA.”
The Tarraco will be launched with four direct injection turbocharged engines: two petrol and two diesel. The entry-level petrol is a four-cylinder 1.5-litre TSI unit with a six-speed manual gearbox and front- wheel drive. The high-spec 187bhp 2.0-litre petrol comes with a seven-speed automatic and four-wheel drive. Both diesels are 2.0-litre TDIs.
They produce 148bhp (with a choice of front- or four-wheel drive) and 178bhp (with four-wheel drive).
Seat has confirmed that a plug-in hybrid version will be launched within the next two years. That model will offer a total powertrain performance of 207bhp and 295lb ft of torque, with an electric-only range of 31 miles and a CO2 output of less than 50g/km.
The DCC system provides a variety of drive modes, including one that automatically adjusts to conditions, while the Tarraco runs on MacPherson front struts and multi-link rear suspension.
A range of driver assistance systems will be available, including lane assist, traffic jam assist, road sign recognition and blind spot detection. It also features pre-crash assist and rollover detection systems.
While the Tarraco completes Seat’s SUV line-up, design boss Alejandro Mesonero said it “gives you a hint” of the firm’s future design direction. The Tarraco features a redesigned front grille, and a revamped version of Seat’s triangular LED headlights and narrow rear LED lights, standard on Xcellence and Style trims. Mesonero added the Tarraco was designed to "give a strong first impression."