New range-topping 2018 SEAT Tarraco SUV revealed in Paris

Wraps come off the new SEAT Tarraco SUV at the Paris Motor Show

This is the SEAT Tarraco, a new flagship SUV for the Spanish brand that’s designed to rival the likes of the Volkswagen Tiguan, Hyundai Santa Fe, Ford Edge and Skoda Kodiaq.

Unveiled at the  Paris Motor Show, the Tarraco (named after the city of Tarragona) is based on the longest version of the VW Group’s MQB platform, called A2. It’s 4,735mm long – so around four centimetres longer than a Kodiaq or Tiguan – and will be offered in both five and seven-seat editions, however UK buyers will only have the option of the latter.

• New SEAT Tarraco protoype review

The new car’s styling is an evolution of SEAT’s existing look, but design boss Alejandro Mesonero claims it’ll influence future models. “It delivers a feeling of proudness,” he says, “thanks to its assertive front end that gives you a hint at what future SEATs will look like.”

The grille appears more robust, while the Tarraco’s flanks incorporate a crease line that runs from above the front wheels all the way to the back, where it blends into the top of the tail-light cluster and a further line that runs across the hatch. The car gets full-LED lighting at the front and back, including ‘animated’ tail-lamps.

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Inside, the Tarraco features a fresh dashboard design for SEAT, with the launch images showing wood material and a different style of infotainment screen. Instead of being integrated into the facia, it sits like a ‘floating’ tablet just in front of it. The central eight-inch set-up will be accompanied by the VW Group’s 10.25-inch digital instrument panel and, as an option, gesture control. Amazon Alexa will be incorporated, too.

The Tarraco will be launched with a pair of four-cylinder petrol turbos: a 1.5 producing 148bhp and linked to a six-speed manual gearbox driving the front wheels, and a 187bhp 2.0 offering four-wheel drive and a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch auto transmission.

There will be two 2.0-litre diesels, too. The 148bhp version can have either front-wheel drive and a manual box, or the DSG with four-wheel drive, while the 187bhp variant comes as a four-wheel-drive DSG only.

SEAT has confirmed that plug-in hybrid technology will be fitted to the Tarraco during its lifetime, and this could happen as early as 2020. The PHEV version will boast 206bhp and 400Nm, with at least 50km of pure-electric range and CO2 emissions of less than 50g/km.

In addition, there will also be an FR performance version, with SEAT tech chief Matthias Rabe promising it will be the sportiest model in the class.

The Tarraco completes SEAT’s SUV family – although rumours persist that the brand may in time get its own version of the coupe-SUV under development as a bespoke model for the Cupra division.

Sales at SEAT have been bolstered by the expansion of the line-up; the brand shifted 383,900 vehicles worldwide in the year to August, an increase of more than 20 per cent over the same period in 2017.

The Tarraco will be built at VW’s Wolfsburg factory, alongside the Tiguan, and SEAT will start taking orders in December. There’s no word yet on pricing or definitive UK specs – beyond confirmation that it will be available in SE and Xcellence trims – but we’d expect the car to start at around £27,000.

What do you think of the new SEAT Tarraco? Let us know your thoughts below…

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