Leon Owners Club were invited by SEAT UK to the international lunch of the new SEAT Tarraco SUV, held in the Tarraco Arena in Tarragona on Tuesday 18th September.
The Tarraco has been home to some historical events in the past and held many a bull fight but tonight it was home to SEAT Employees and journalists from all around the world! Food & Drinks were put on and I must say the steak was delicious!
What’s in a name?
SEAT invited the public around the world to help name the new SUV, 146,000 people entered the #SEATseekingName competition, LeonOC admin Andrew suggested the name Abrera which is the district where the CUPRA Racing (previously SEAT Sport) factory is, after numerous knockout rounds and voting Tarraco was chosen. Tarraco is Latin for Tarragona which hosted the launch.
SEAT has recently launched 2 brand new SUV’s in the form of the Ateca and its smaller brother the Arona, now it was all eyes on SEAT’s new flagship, The Tarraco. It’s not the first 7 seater in the line up, the Alhambra claims that crown, but it’s the first SUV 7-seater in the line up and times are exciting at SEAT, with new models promised every 6 months until 2020.
The new Tarraco is based on the MQB-A2 platform and comes in 5 & 7 seat configurations, although the 5 seat option won’t be available in the UK, this was confirmed by SEAT UK director Richard Harrison. Talking of things that won’t be available in the UK, SEAT also had a Leon TGI (CNG powered) on show and also a SEAT Tarraco pedal car!
Interestingly the Tarraco is to be built in Wolfsburg, Germany rather than Martorell, Spain.
Engine line ups consist of a 150ps TSI & TDI option both available in manual, the 150PS TDI is also available in DSG and 190PS TSI & TDI available in DSG. A PHEV plug-in hybrid is expected as early as 2020 with 210ps and 400nm torque.
There will be 2 trim levels at launch, Style & Xcellence, the FR will follow very shortly after and Luca De Meo says it looks very sporty, it will also be interesting to see if the new sister company CUPRA will launch a CUPRA Tarraco? who knows? Luca De Meo wasn’t letting anything slip.
Luca De Meo said in a personal interview with SEAT UK and LeonOC that he sees SEAT as becoming the leading car company when it comes to technology in the next few years, and it’s obvious when you look at the Tarraco, as introduced in the Leon 5F we have the full LED lighting system inside and out, 10″ media screen, Shazam, Amazon Alexa, Android Auto, Apple Carplay and Samsung Mirrorlink to name a few bits.
Then there are the safety systems such as Lane Assist and Front Assist including bicycle and pedestrian detection are standard in Europe, while systems such as Blind Spot Detection, Traffic Sign Recognition, Traffic Jam Assist, ACC (Adaptive Cruise Control), Light Assist and Emergency Assist are available as options.
The SEAT Tarraco will be available with eight different colours: Dark Camouflage, Oryx White, Reflex Silver, Atlantic Blue, Indium Grey, Titanium Beige, Deep Black and Urano Grey.
“The new SEAT Tarraco is proof that we are able to play bigger!” – Dr. Matthias Rabe
So, what’s it like?
The Tarraco doesn’t follow the same design as Arona & Ateca, it gives us a glimpse of things to come, the soon to be announced MK4 Leon (more on this below) will certainly follow the design aspects of the Tarraco. The front design gives a hint to SEAT’s new design language, with a more prominent grille, giving greater presence and character, and while the sharp Full LED headlights retain the company’s triangular signature they are set further into the body, giving a more focused appearance
Alejandro Mesonero design director claimed the Tarraco would influence the future of SEAT design.
Outside on display we had 20″ wheels, sharp lines, lots of LED and rugged looking plastics around the arches, giving the impression this Tarraco will be at home on the UK roads or fields, can’t wait to test it out off road in the future.
Inside is an evolution of the current Leon, Ateca, Arona and Ibiza. The new 10.25″ multimedia screen looks good, some manufacturers make their screens look like tablets slotted into the dashboard, but the SEAT version looks like its embedded properly, one big thing to note is the new interior mirror which has had a major redesign, gone are chunky plastics, replaced by glass to the edges.
The interior controls are of the same standard that we have come to expect of SEAT and VW Group of recent years with the addition of a black wood effect panel that stretches the width of the dashboard, I fully expect the CUPRA to have either carbon fibre or gloss block (that’s if a CUPRA does appear)
SEAT UK director Richard Harrison confirmed to us that the 5-seater version won’t be coming to the UK, so it was pointless looking at this model, so we dived straight into the 7-seater. My partner for the night was Seatcupra.net moderator Simon who happens to be 6ft 3, Yes, we tried to get him in the back seat and then me in front of him, neither of us had leg room. It’s safe to say the back seats are good for children or people who are under 6ft, but the average buyer of this car will probably be transporting kids so that shouldn’t be an issue. Entry to the rear seats is quite easy despite looking like it’s going to be awkward to get into and the seats are easy to move. The rear seats can also be folded flat to give you a bigger boot if you need it.
The Tarraco does have a premium feel about it. Quite often people still mention cheap plastics when they talk about SEAT, feeling the leather and plastics in the Tarraco and then comparing them to my 2015 Porsche Cayman S (Which would of cost upwards of 65k new) I can honestly say the SEAT feel is well on par with the Porsche.
MK4 Leon? Cupra?
LeonOC were lucky enough to get some private time with Luca De Meo thanks to SEAT UK, Luca confirmed to us that the new (MK4) Leon will appear in 2019, it is fully expected to follow the Tarraco design (This has been confirmed by another source).
I also asked the question whether CUPRA would get access to other brands engines such as Audi, I was thinking along the lines of the 2.5T and 3.0 V6 TDI (Tarraco Cupra TDI with 312ps for example), Luca advised us that CUPRA sees the future as being hybrid and fully electric, 600bhp electric CUPRA would be nice.
How are SEAT doing?
SEAT shifted 383,900 vehicles worldwide in the year to August, an increase of more than 20 per cent over the same period in 2017.
6 monthly new releases, electric cars, electric CUPRA’s … it’s certainly exciting times for SEAT/CUPRA
A massive thank you to the SEAT UK team for inviting us out there for the day!