You Can Now Have the SEAT Tarraco in PHEV Form and It Isn’t Half Bad
There’s a lot more to the SEAT Tarraco FR than meets the eyeby Kirby Garlitos, on
The SEAT Tarraco is one of the most pleasantly surprising SUVs in the market. It’s offered in a variety of trim options, and it’s more powerful than you’d expect. There’s something upscale about how it looks, too, particularly in the front end where traces of Audi’s design language are evident in the physical profile of the Tarraco. There’s also more good news about SEAT’s big boy SUV as the Spanish automaker is all set to introduce the model’s new FR trim at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show, complete with exclusive touches to the exterior, improvements in the interior, and, most importantly, the introduction of a plug-in hybrid powertrain, ushering SEAT into the world of PHEVs. The days of people looking at SEAT as an afterthought automaker are over. If anything, the new Tarraco FR represents one of the first of many hybrid and all-electric models to proudly wear the “S” badge. That counts for a lot when it comes to SEAT.
The Seat Tarraco PHEV has Finally Arrived
I don’t usually pay a lot of attention to SEAT, largely because I don’t think I’ve ever seen one here in the U.S. But I’m digging the Tarraco SUV, even more so now that you can get it in the new FR trim with a plug-in hybrid powertrain in tow. As it turns out, you can also score the FR trim and the PHEV drivetrain independent of one another. That’s a good thing, too.
Of course, this is more than just the new trim and new drivetrain. I’ve had my eye on the Tarraco SUV ever since SEAT introduced it at the 2018 Paris Motor Show. I like the way it looks and the way it’s presented. I know it’s related to the Skoda Kodiaq and the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspice, but, really, the Tarraco has the best design of the three, especially with that Fura Grey paint finish.
There’s also a bit of Audi in the SUV, mixed with some fresh styling details.
Even better, the new FR trim builds on that fresh design with a host of new standard and optional features. The front grille, for example, is unique to the FR trim. SEAT also fitted this new version of the Tarraco with wider wheel arches, a larger spoiler, a new full-width rear light bar, and a new set of 19-inch alloy wheels. Not happy with the wheels? There’s an option to go big with a set of 20s if that suits your style better.
The SEAT Tarraco FR’s interior is no less intriguing. There’s an FR-branded sports steering wheel in case you forget what spec you’re driving. The set of aluminum pedals are also new, as is the 9.2-inch infotainment system that’s sitting ever-so-casually at the base of the dashboard. The electrically adjustable sports seats are dressed in fake leather, but that’s easily solvable if you’re willing to spend for real leather in the aftermarket world. You’ll also have to come to grips with the plastic bits scattered throughout the cabin, but for what it’s worth — literally and figuratively — the SEAT Tarraco FR is worth the price of admission.
The big highlight, though, is the SUV’s drivetrain. This is the first time that SEAT will use a plug-in hybrid powertrain on the Tarraco, and if for nothing else, it’s a welcome addition to the fold.
The PHEV system is made up of a 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 148 horsepower and an electric motor that contributes 114 ponies.
Together, the setup accounts for 242 horsepower and an impressive 295 pound-feet of torque. Not only does this setup make the Tarraco FR PHEV the most powerful version of SEAT’s flagship SUV, but it’s powerful enough to sprint from 0 to 62 mph in just 7.4 seconds. It’s not breaking any world records, but it’s not a bad performance time, either.
Then there’s the 13-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Sure, it’s a small battery compared to what other hybrid SUVs in the market have, but it’s still good enough to allow the Tarraco FR to run for a little over 31 miles while the four-cylinder engine sits pretty underneath the hood, presumably — if it had any — with its legs up.
|Engine||1.4-liter four-cylinder + electric motor|
|Electric horsepower||114 HP|
|Combined Horsepower||242 HP|
|Combined torque||295 LB-FT|
|0 to 62 mph||7.4 seconds|
|Battery pack||13-kWh lithium-ion|
|Electric range||31 miles|
The SEAT Tarraco is one of those SUVs that you don’t notice until you actually notice it. But once you do, it’s hard not to be impressed with the overall product. It has a modern design that speaks to the massive improvements SEAT has made in that department. It has a solid interior with somewhat of a premium feel to it. Now it has a plug-in hybrid powertrain, too. I didn’t think there would come a day when I’d be totally in tune with something made by SEAT, but that day has come.
The SEAT Tarraco FR is a solid SUV, especially for those who have the opportunity to buy one when it goes on sale in Europe early next year.
As for me, I’m more than happy to see the SUV make a name for itself at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show next month. SEAT certainly earned a share of the spotlight with this one.
Read our full review on the2019 Seat Tarraco.