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Seat Tarraco SUV: it's officially here for 2018

Published: 18 September 2018

► Seat Tarraco officially revealed
► Name picked by public vote
► Third SUV: this one's a seven-seater

Rejoice! It’s another MQB SUV from the VW Group. This time it’s Spanish SEAT’s turn to build its own Skoda Kodiaq/Tiguan Allspace, but this one’s coming with a luke-warm FR version that'll sport a 208bhp plug-in hybrid powertrain and suspension honed for keen drivers. 

CAR attended the international unveil event in Tarragona, Spain, to get the lowdown on this new flagship, which sits atop a crossover range that also includes the successful Ateca and Arona siblings.

It won’t be built in SEAT’s expansive Martorell factory in Spain, though. Actually the city of Wolfsburg will put these together; VW’s home town in Germany. 

If you’re wondering on the wisdom of this particular model, don’t forget there’s hot competition out here from outside the Group: Ford’s Edge, the Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento cousins, Land Rover’s Discovery Sport, the Peugeot 5008… even the Renault Koleos is among the protagonists.

Fine. Tell me about the Tarraco’s dimensions…

SEAT’s confirmed it’ll be 1839 litres wide (not including door mirrors), 4735mm long and 1658mm tall.

Boot space is 760 litres in five-seat mode - which is still not confirmed as coming to the UK - or up to 700 litres in seven-seat configuration; though presumably that's with the seats folded down. Up to 2000 litres can be liberated with all seats folded. 

What’s under the bonnet?

Precisely nothing we couldn’t have guessed ourselves, to be honest. A 1.5-litre petrol gets 148bhp and a six-speed manual gearbox, sending twist to the front axle, while a 2.0-litre gets 188bhp, haldex all-wheel drive and a seven-speed DSG.

SEAT Tarraco rear detail

Diesel options are both 2.0-litre four-pots, with the very same bhp as the two petrols. The lower gets a choice of either drivetrain, while the high-power one only comes with AWD and auto.

On paper 0-62mph times range from 8.0 to 9.8 seconds, while top speeds range from 123-130mph. 

Surely we’ll get a Cupra Tarraco?

Given Skoda’s already making noise about the 238bhp Kodiaq vRS, and the Tarraco’s a near-carbon-copy from an engineering perspective, this is probably a safer bet than a siesta after a particularly indulgent paella and white Rioja lunch.

Alas, we don’t have confirmation, and expect the comms to arrive separately to the rest of the range.

SEAT has hinted at ‘alternative’ powertrain options, though, and company boss Luca de Meo confirmed to CAR that a PHEV powertrain will feature in a future luke-warm FR model set to join the range later. 

What kit does it have?

We don’t know much at this point, but adaptive suspension, LED headlights, a virtual cockpit, gesture control and a raft of driver-assistance toys (adaptive cruise, lane-keeping etc) are confirmed.

You’ll have a choice of two trims: SE and Xcellence.

SEAT Tarraco interior

Why on earth is it called Tarraco?

It was a risky strategy: after a public poll last year elected to call a new Arctic marine vessel Boaty McBoatface, who knew what cheeky moniker punters could have come up with. To minimise risk, Seat gave a limited shortlist from which people could choose and the people spoke thus:

  • 1st Tarraco  The ancient name of Tarragona
  • 2nd Avila  A town north west of Madrid
  • 3rd Aranda  A ‘comarca’ (council-controlled area) near Zaragoza
  • 4th Alboran  A Spanish island in the middle of the Mediterranean

Just more than a third of the 146,000 people who voted picked Tarraco. Seat said: 'This Mediterranean city is a legacy of culture, youthfulness, history and architecture, values which Seat identifies with and conveys through its vehicles.'

Read more on the public naming process here

When’s the SEAT Tarraco on sale and how much is it?

Details are scant at time of writing, but expect order books to open before 2018 ends and deliveries in early 2019.

Pricing is likely to be competitive – especially in finance terms – given SEAT’s other SUV offerings. More when we get it…

Read our Seat car reviews here

By Gareth Evans

Contributor, historic racer and now running sister title Motor Cycle News's website