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Seat chiefs refer to the new Tarraco as a range-topper in more than just size. It's being positioned as a more premium offering, with higher specs and more kit - a move enabled by, and building on, the success of the Ateca-led model offensive that came before it.

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If it's going to be a fitting flagship, of course, it has to deliver the goods performance-wise. Our outing in some near-production-ready prototypes suggests it has all the tools needed to do so.

The Tarraco will launch with two petrol engines - a 148bhp 1.5-litre and 187bhp 2.0-litre - and two 2.0-litre TDI diesels, producing 148bhp and 178bhp. Entry-level models will be front-wheel drive with a six-speed manual 'box; higher-spec cars get a seven-speed auto and an all-wheel-drive system that automatically sends 50% of the power to the rear axle when needed.

Seat's first attempt at building an SUV is a cracker and knocked the Nissan Qashqai off its perch in the process, so we discover what makes the Ateca our class leader

We sampled the 1.5-litre petrol and the top-spec diesel, both in Xcellence trim. Although much of the detail was hidden, such models feature a digital driver info display, an 8in infotainment screen and plenty of driver assistance systems.

Although the prototypes sported camouflage livery, that couldn't mask the sharp lines the Tarraco shares with its smaller siblings, enhanced by narrow, angled headlights. Neither did some wacky wrap hide the family resemblance the Tarraco shares with the Skoda Kodiaq and VW Tiguan Allspace, also built on the VW Group's MQB long-wheelbase platform.

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In terms of dimensions, then, the Tarraco will fill that large SUV-shaped hole in Seat's line-up.

On the strength of our early drive, there are promising signs that it can fill that hole in style by offering more than just space, practicality and comfort.

Read the full review here:


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