November 6, 2018 06:01 CET
The new Seat Tarraco gives the brand an upmarket model that will compete at the high end of Europe’s fastest-growing compact SUV segment.
“The Tarraco will enable us to enter the 30,000 to 40,000 euro price range,” Seat President Luca de Meo said at the model’s unveiling in September in Tarragona, Spain. “So far, we have competed in the 10,000 to 20,000 euro range with the Ibiza and in the 20,000 to 30,000 euro range with Leon and Ateca.”
European sales of compact SUVs rose 22 percent in the first half, according to market analysts JATO Dynamics.
The Tarraco, Seat’s third SUV after the Ateca and Arona, will become the company’s flagship. “For the first time, we have a model that can take the role of the main vehicle of the family,” de Meo said.
The Tarraco’s launch will enable the Volkswagen Group subsidiary to retain more affluent customers and increase margins, Seat executives predict. The automaker says it has the youngest customers in Europe at about 43 years old on average, eight to 10 years younger than buyers at other brands. But as these customers have become more affluent, they have left the brand because Seat lacked a higher-level model in its lineup.
The Tarraco is a five- or seven-seat SUV that sits on VW Group’s MQB A long-wheelbase architecture, which also underpins the VW Tiguan Allspace compact SUV.
At 4735mm long, the Tarraco is 35mm longer than the Tiguan Allspace and just 65mm shorter than the 4800mm-long VW Touareg large SUV.
In the quest for more affluent buyers, the Tarraco will borrow most of the technologies offered by its VW brand siblings, such as lane-keeping assistance and forward-collision warning – including bicycle and pedestrian detection, both of which are standard in Europe.
Launch date: Q1 2019 (Europe)
Starting price: To be announced; likely 29,000 euros
Where built: Wolfsburg, Germany
Main rivals: Peugeot 5008, Renault Koleos, Nissan X-Trail
Engines: The Tarraco will debut with three engines. On the gasoline side, a 150-hp, four-cylinder, 1.5-liter unit mated to a six-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive or a 190-hp 2.0-liter combined with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and four-wheel drive. On the diesel side, a 2.0-liter unit is offered in 150- and 190-hp configurations. The 150-hp version is available with either front-wheel drive and a six-speed manual transmission or 4wd and a dual-clutch automatic. The 190-hp version comes with an automatic transmission and 4wd only.
Technology: Available as options are systems such as blind-spot detection, traffic-sign recognition, traffic-jam assistance, adaptive cruise control, light assistance and emergency assistance. The model also offers emergency calling, precrash assistance and rollover detection as standard equipment.
Infotainment: The Tarraco is equipped with a 10.25-inch digital instrument panel, while an 8-inch floating “human machine interface” screen is the gateway to Seat’s suite of connectivity options. When equipped with the 8-inch Navigation Plus package, the SUV will be the first Seat model to feature functions that can be controlled using hand gestures.
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You can reach Andrea Malan at email@example.com.