Cinco Mas Dos
SEAT is on a roll in Singapore. Since their local dealership, Vertex Euro Motors had taken on the role of distributing their cars, the Spanish brand seems to have grown their range, fielding something for every (down-to-earth) market segment. From their Toledo, a sedan which offers enough frills without breaking the bank, to the Ateca SUV, which delivers impressive performance, while also providing good fuel economy.
The newest car in their lineup, is the Tarraco. A 5+2 seater SUV, and their largest, is built within the very same Wolfsburg factory as the related Volkswagen Tiguan (Singapore only has the 5-seater variant) and Skoda Kodiaq.
Size-wise, the Tarraco is identical to the Kodiak, the Spanish brand has however styled their car, with a lean on sportness. The Tarraco is peppered with SEAT’s new design language, featuring aggressive trapezoidal headlamps with LED daytime running lights, which adds to a little zig in the front; while rear LED tail lamps, connected by a singular red strip, hints a little bit of Audi Q8.
Unlike the Ateca, which is built for five, the Tarraco is built to carry more of just about everything, including an additional +2 passengers. Its 2,787mm wheelbase, is 149mm longer than the Ateca, and you do get a little more rear overhang compared to its 5-seater sibling.
While the Tarraco does look the part of a premium-built automobile, it is really intended to resonate with the man in the street. We do not get specially curated wooden surfaces, or fancy brush metal adorning the interior. The dash is unapologetically crafted from plastic of different flavours and textures… and tastefully done I must say.
Fit and finish easily matches those found on German brands (afterall it is built in Wolfsburg). An 8” infotainment display sits proud on the dash, while a 10.25” customisable digital instrument cluster, allows the SatNav to be displayed to the driver, similar to Audi’s virtual cockpit.
The infotainment system’s user interface is a breeze to navigate, and the SEAT Full Link, which supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, allows connectivity for mobile devices.
The electrical driver’s seat includes three memory settings, and both front seats also benefit from forward-adjustable headrests, which aids in finding that ideal seating position.
Thanks to the Tarraco’s long wheelbase, middle row passengers benefit from heaps of legroom (which they will have to give up some of when the last row is deployed), while the last row, which is intended for +2 seating, means that it is best left for short journeys, since leg space is limited, and thigh support non-existent.
For those who think weekends are to be filled with activity, and actually live it, the Tarraco offers 700 litres with the boot folded, 70 litres more than the Skoda Kodiaq. The cargo cover also stows easily and neatly into a dedicated holder. The large electric boot lid also benefits from handsfree opening.
A Volkswagen sourced 1.4 litre TSI engine powers the Tarraco. Tuned for 150hp and 250Nm, the VW unit is mated to a six-speed DSG transmission, powering the front wheels. Maximum torque is available from just 1,500rpm, ensuring an easy drive-away from the lights. Acceleration is smooth, with the SEAT’s 1.4 litre engine working seamlessly through the gears. Consumption-wise, SEAT claims a combined 13.5km/l, with my slightly heavier right foot, I achieved 11.2km/l.
Its century sprint benchmark at 9.4 seconds is quite impressive, given that you are after all lugging around a lot of car. With its maximum torque which holds out till 3,500rpm, means that you will be largely working that engine within its sweet spot, allowing you to fully capitalise on the engine’s hauling ability.
Three drive modes are available, Eco, Comfort and Sport. There is also in individual mode, allowing you to toggle drive-related settings, apart from the suspension, which is non-adaptive.
To my surprise, Eco Mode is impressive, with the Tarraco having enough grunt for you to cruise around in this drive mode, while sipping on fuel. Volkswagen group innovations like coasting, which disconnects the transmission from the engine, allows you to “freewheel” down an uncluttered highway, helping you stretch your dollar and mileage.
Thanks to a well-sorted suspension and some good insulation, the Tarraco delivers impressive ride quality. Its set of 19” machined wheels are fitted with 235/50 R19 tyres, which are designed for comfort, and produces little road noise. There is however a just little wind noise coming from the wing mirrors, but it does not irritate.
Around the bends, the Tarraco does impress with its ability to hold its line well, however due to its height, you wouldn’t want to put the SEAT through a quick succession of multiple directional changes, since physics would not be its best friend. Steering feel is not as sharp as most sedans, but from a “bread-and-butter” 5+2 seater SUV standpoint, it is pretty good.
Additional convenience and safety features like its Adaptive Cruise Control, which adjusts the car’s speed in accordance to the vehicle in-front; Front Assist, acts as an additional set of eyes in the event if an obstruction is detected, and even applies the brakes if needed; while Blind Spot Detection and Rear Traffic Alert, keeps you and your occupants safe, from coming into contact with vehicles at the rear.
Parking is also made easier, thanks to a top-down camera (which is one of the better systems in the market, offering excellent clarity; largely contrasting to the one found in the Peugeot 5008), and for those who are lazy in parking their vehicles, Park Assist does the job for you.
The Tarraco feels a little more premium a car within the intended market segment it sits in.
Big on comfort (unless you are in the last row), and is engaging enough to entertain the family man who needs to haul, but still loves a good drive.