SEAT’s flagship SUV

21 September 2018

SEAT is to introduce a new flagship SUV to rival established favourites such as the Korean Hyundai Santa Fe in addition to the Tiguan and Kodiaq from within its own Spanish stable.

To be called Tarraco, apparently after the Spanish town of Tarragona, it will be the latest in a long line of variations on the Volkswagen Group theme that currently includes a host of offerings from Seat, Skoda, Audi and VW itself.

They all share common parts, including engines, and in some cases are almost identical apart from their badges.

This latest newcomer will use an established platform that will give it a length of 4,735mm, which makes it longer than a Skoda Kodiaq or Volkswagen Tiguan, but not as big as a Volkswagen Touareg.

It will, however, manage to cram in seven seats, just like the Santa Fe and will be offered initially with a choice of petrol and diesel engines.

These will include a turbocharged 1.5-litre petrol unit generating 148bhp, mated to a six-speed manual gearbox with power going to the front wheels only.

There will also be a more powerful 185bhp version linked to a seven-speed automatic transmission with four wheel drive.

Additionally, there will be a pair of diesels, again with the 148bhp version offering front wheel drive and a manual transmission but also, because of the greater diesel torque, a choice of four wheel drive and automatic transmission.

The more powerful 185bhp version will be available with 4WD and an auto box only.

Within about a year there will also be the increasingly-common option of a hybrid version and also a high-performance model that will use the FR moniker that Seat reserves for its sportiest vehicles.

Speculation suggests that the hybrid will have a combined power rating of just above 200bhp, with pulling power in the region of 400Nm and a projected electric-only range of about 30 miles.

This means that the vehicle will meet forthcoming urban zero-emissions targets, making it acceptable under future draconian regulations banning the most polluting vehicles from towns and cities.

At this stage there is no indication of prices for the Tarraco, which goes on sale here in December, although Hyundai Santa Fe prices rise to more than £40,000.

The arrival of yet another upmarket SUV comes at a time of great uncertainty for rival UK car makers, including Nissan and Land Rover, who are concerned about life after Brexit.

Seat boasts that it is the only company that designs, develops, manufactures and markets cars in Spain, whilst building others in Portugal, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

Like Nissan, it exports 80 per cent of its vehicles, with production increasing by more than 20 per cent so far this year to 384,000.

Seat boss Luca de Meo, says: ``Seat is experiencing its biggest product offensive in recent times. The Tarraco is our first large SUV and forms part of a €3.3 billion investment between 2015 and 2019.” 

Last year the company made a net profit of 280 million euros on a turnover of 9.5 billion euros after finding 470,000 buyers worldwide for its vehicles.