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In the busy world of motoring, SEAT is a relatively newcomer founded in 1950 by a state owned industrial holding company and it grew to be the largest supplier of cars in Spain.

Then came a major change in 1986 when the government of the day sold out to the VAG Group. Since then,  the SEAT brand has earned the reputation of being colourful and trendy throughout Europe and currently with their various models they cover more than eighty percent of the market. The Spanish company will not be resting as towards the end of this year we are likely to see an all new Leon, the current best seller in the SEAT family.

Looking to the future, and by 2021 SEAT will introduce no less than six new models featuring electric power.

Like so many other car manufacturers, they have seen the importance of the SUV and they have now a trio of such vehicles with the arrival of the Tarraco. Named after the city of Tarragona, this newcomer takes on the role as the company’s flagship model.

This well appointed new SUV, not only scores with the ability to transport seven people but still provides ample storage space for the items which we regularly carry around.

The buyer these days quite rightly expects a lot and this SUV delivers with style, technology and an excellent choice of both petrol and diesel engines. Style is what many desire and it is an important feature of the new Tarraco, the front end styling provides an indicator of what future models will look like. Stylist Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos certainly has blended design and sportiness which gives the new SUV a solid on the road presence.

Designed and developed in Martorell in Spain, production is in Wolfsburg in Germany, the very heart of the mighty VAG Group.

Two diesel and two petrol power units deliver the performance for the Tarraco and transmission choice is excellent, pick from a six speed manual or the impressive seven speed DSG which remains one of my favourites.

Oh how we like our comforts! Well there is no disappointment in this area with four trim levels in the Northern Ireland market with two in the Republic of Ireland and no surprise to learn that there are options available.

Most motorists have come to expect a high level of onboard technology and with the Tarraco it comes in abundance, a 10.25 inch digital cockpit plus an eight inch centre incorporating Apple CarPLay and Android Auto. Safety is very important and there are a number of features, such as Front Assist, Lane Assist and Emergency Call and for those difficult conditions on or off road, 4DRIVE the total traction system adds further to all who travel safely in this vehicle.

When I took the wheel of the Tarraco for the first time, it was the spaciousness which greeted me then I sampled the high levels of comfort and the excellent driving position. I had the opportunity to try both the diesel engines and one petrol and the power choice ranges from 150-190PS.I must add with the availability of 4WD then the Tarraco is a vehicle for all seasons and conditions.

The two litre 150PS diesel really did it for me, very smooth and I have no doubt that economy will be wallet pleasing. The two litre petrol which I tried certainly did not disappoint, Golf owners will be familiar with this engine.

Looking to the future, and by the year 2020 Tarroca will have a plug-in hybrid in the line-up, thus providing even more choice for the buyer.

A point worth noting the newcomer is the first vehicle from SEAT to feature 20 inch wheels and these add a muscular stance.

As I parted company with the Tarraco, one thought stuck in my mind as to how long the passion for an SUV type vehicle will remain. Certainly when you look at current sales figures there is no sign of the motoring public ending their love affair with such.

As for the question that has often been asked: what is the meaning of the word SEAT – Sociedad Espanola de Automoviles de Turismo.

Ian Lynas

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