It has combined practicality and sprightliness in a way I never imagined would be possible to create what is the flagship of the brand: Tarraco.
This is a flexible vehicle which is winning a lot of awards at the moment. No-one can decide if it is a big or a mid-sized SUV, for it takes prizes in both categories.
For me, it is best described as a family car but it can carry a mountain of luggage and be equally at home as a leisure vehicle. In this form (the FR Sport) it was both comfortable and sporty.
It managed just over 40mpg on various test routes and zipped along to 60mph in under eight seconds. It is well-sprung and nicely balanced and has plenty of stylish touches.
The illuminated door trim, for example. Not the top of my list of desirable extras, but it does give the car a premium feel.
Being the FR Sport, it has 20in wheels and front sport seats in leather. It has a fabulous camera system which makes parking a doddle and a winter pack comprising heated front and rear seats and heated washer nozzles.
These are on top of the standard FR kit of black roof rails, electric seats with memory function, aluminium trim, adaptive cruise control and keyless entry. It also has park assist and electric tailgate.
This is the flagship of the entire SEAT range and it is the biggest of three SUVs – the others are Arona and Ateca. If you thought SEATs were a little anonymous, then look again for the latest designs have more of a striking look about them.
They mix “state-of-the-art technology, dynamic and agile handling, practicality and functionality with an elegant, progressive design”. This model launched with four trim levels: SE, SE Technology, XCELLENCE and XCELLENCE LUX and the FR and FR Sport were added later.
Engines span 1.5 to 2.0 litres and there is a plug-in hybrid version.
Boot capacities range from 230-litres (with second and third row upright), 700 litres (with third row folded and second row upright) and 1,775-litres (with second and third rows folded).
Why Tarraco? It is named after the Mediterranean city of Tarragona. The name was chosen by popular vote, with 140,000 enthusiasts entering a competition.
SEAT has recently added new technology to its mid-size and large SUVs, the Ateca and Tarraco.
Ateca XPERIENCE Lux now comes with SEAT’s Pre-Crash Assist safety system as standard. Using data from the forward-facing camera, Pre-Crash Assist prepares the occupants of the car for an oncoming collision by tightening seatbelts and closing windows, in addition to applying the brakes to reduce speed.
Inside the Ateca, both the SE and SE Technology trims get the sports leather steering wheel with gear-shift paddles, making it standard across all trim levels.
On the larger Tarraco, SE trims benefit from the addition of SEAT Connect as standard on SE models - now standard across the entire range - and Adaptive Cruise Control now on SE and SE Technology models.
The 2022 model year Ateca price starts at £24,560 on the roadfor Ateca SE 1.0 TSI 110PS, rising to £36,290 for the Ateca XPERIENCE Lux 2.0 TDI DSG-auto 4Drive 150PS.
Pricing for the Tarraco range has been updated too, with prices now starting at £30,080 on the road for Tarraco SE 1.5 TSI Evo 150PS.
The Tarraco continues to impress as a class-leading model, and recently won ‘Best Large SUV’ for a third year in a row at the 2021 Auto Express New Car Awards.
The Ateca has likewise scooped a multitude of awards, including recent wins as Used SUV of the Year at the 2021 Car Dealer Used Car of the Year Awards, and overall winner of the 2021 What Car? Used Car of the Year Awards.
SEAT Tarraco FR Sport 2.0 TDI 4Drive 200PS DSG
Price: £42,250. As tested it was £43,930 because it added Panoramic sunroof at £980 and a tow bar and hook at £710. Tarraco starts at £30,080
Engine: 2.0‑litre diesel engine with 200PS
Transmission: It has a seven-speed automatic gearbox
Performance: Top speed 130mph and 0 to 60mph in 7.8 seconds
Economy: 40.4mpg to 42.8mpg
Insurance: Group 28E
Warranty: Three years, 60,000 miles