Tarraco is the Latin name of the Catalonian port city of Tarragona in Spain. Fast forward a year or two and it is now the name of a stylish new SEAT SUV to hit the market. A few weeks back I attended the UK media launch of the SEAT Tarraco at Amber Lakes in Wraysbury and got behind the wheel of this new model within the range.
Located in a quaint part of the English countryside, Amber Lakes is actually a former quarry that provided much of the materials for building Lancashire’s roads in the 1970’s. It has a distinct Scandinavian feel to it with its wood finished lodge and minimal furniture throughout. Very charming surroundings.
I arrived to the sight of multiple SEAT Tarraco models lined up. My first impressions from a distance were positive. It looked a solid machine. Indeed this is the brands first seven seater SUV so there is no shying away from the fact that it’s a big chap as well. After some early morning coffees I booked myself in to drive a few variants throughout the day however here I wanted to focus specifically on the XCELLENCE First Edition Plus 2.0 TSI.
Surveying round the exterior whilst taking some pictures, I really liked what I was seeing. At 4,735mm long, 1,839mm wide and 1,674mm tall it is a machine with a big, bold presence. The 20-inch “Supreme” machined alloy wheels enhance this. These looked strong and sleek glinting in the morning sunshine. The Tarraco features a new look front-end grille courtesy of SEAT director of design Alejandro Mesonero. A subtle hint of the future design direction of SEAT, and additionally giving a proud, confident appearance to the Tarraco.
Both the front and rear also features sharp LED lighting that is seen in all models. These not only enhance and improve the night-time driving experience, but blend seamlessly into the lovely contours and lines of the SUV. Happily I can say, on opening the door and jumping in, the interior is a very pleasant place to be. The Tarraco actually has seven seats as standard of which all are completely foldable. This is fantastic as with all the rear seats folded; you can increase the overall boot space from 700 litres to very large 1775 litres.
Within the Tarraco as the driver or as a passenger there is ample leg and headroom for the taller traveller. Furthermore it is a comfortable place to be thanks to the cosy upholstery. This particular model featured Baza grey cloth with brown Alacantra. Something I felt was tidy and understated. A feature I also love about this model is the panoramic sunroof. An excellent option to have during good weather. In addition, this is tinted so both you and the passengers are not cooked as you drive along with the roof shut.
The Tarraco cabin is also one jam packed full of technology and gadgets. The 10.25-inch SEAT digital screen in front of the steering wheel is crisp and sharp. Also, atop the centre console you will find a floating 8-inch central display. This incorporates Apple CarPlay and a whole host of features such as sat-nav, radio and wireless phone charging. I loved playing with the Beats audio sound system. It really delivers a premium sound experience.
At this point I had throughly explored the Tarraco cockpit so it was time to set off on the road. With a touch of the nifty push button start I was off. On the day itself we had three route options to choose from. I sort of made up own. The winding country roads out of Amber Lakes were the first test for SEAT’s latest creation. A test that it handled superbly thanks to Volkswagen Group technology and the MQB-A long wheelbase at the base of this SUV. It allowed me to simply drift along the road in total comfort. The coil springs and hydraulic shock absorbers superbly dealing with any holes in the road. Even with very large 20-inch wheels there was no discomfort.
Manoeuvring around bends was also no problem. It has responsive, direct steering thanks to a rack electric power system that delivers fantastic feedback. A short time later I approached and joined on to the motorway. A different environment again but no less enjoyable. The seven-speed DSG gearbox works tremendously well. It’s slick, smooth changes together with the punchy 2.0-litre engine propelled me along with great ease. Indeed it is a quick machine for just being shy of two tonnes in weight hitting 0-62mph in 8 seconds. The SEAT drive profile enables you to switch between modes of Normal, Eco and Sport for a more aggressive gear change.
Certainly when driving along the motorway I felt I had ample power to overtake quickly and safely. On the subject of safety, the SEAT Tarraco has a host of features that are standard across the range. From Front Assist with Bicycle Detection, to Park and Lane Assist. It even has Emergency Call that will automatically notify emergency services if there is a serious accident. Very smart indeed.
With my driving sessions and day drawing to close, I felt very impressed by the new Tarraco. It is a welcome addition to the SEAT family; one that I believe will tick many boxes for SUV fans out there. Its robust, brawny appearance offers a lot of presence on the road without it feeling cumbersome. The XCELLENCE First Edition I drove is priced at £38,605 with an on the road price from £28,320. One well worth considering should you be looking to change or buy yourself an SUV.
A guest post by Peter from The Gentleman Select