For 2021, Seat has added two new specification FR models to its Tarraco range (mmm tacos) and they’ve updated styling elements outside and in. These models replace the Xcellence variants.
The FR 4Drive you see here would normally get 19-inch alloys – this has the optional 20s – while the other distinguishing external feature is a painted bumper. Two actually, front and rear. And a different grille design finished in grey paint instead of chrome. Inside there are new sports seats and an updated steering wheel.
The Xcellence previously sold for $60k while the new FR front drive model starts at $58,900. It’s powered by a 1.4L 110kW/250Nm engine, while the FR 4Drive costs $64,900 and comes with a 2.0-litre turbopetrol (140kW/320Nm, the latter from 1500rpm). This is mated to a seven-speed twin-clutch tranny, the former (and the base 1.4 Style model at $47,900) to a six-speeder.
But it’s the big dog we’ve got on a short leash this time. At pick up, it melded in with the surrounding Atecas. There are clearly common style cues. This is bigger to accommodate the added seats. And on that, those in the rear get seat heating as standard. We mean the middle row as all Tarracos are seven-seaters. The hot seats also slide for extra legroom or luggage space, and they move forward when you release the seat back to facilitate entrance into the third-row.
Otherwise, this is similar to the Xcellence model we drove last year with AWD, although that one had the $1750 DCC option (adaptive damping). If you go for the 20-inch alloys you might want to consider DCC for a smoother ride. I bet you a pound to a penny the 19s ease the fidget.
On the other hand, the dynamics are Seat self-assured, especially in this all-paw model, riding on 255/40R20 Pirelli Scorpions. Helping with roadholding is a trim body weight of 1766kg, good for a seven seater, and cornering chops benefit from a 55/45 weight split.
The icing on the cornering cake is use of the VW Group’s XDS technology. This adds agility just when it’s needed. At the point where understeer is about to widen your cornering angle, the XDS initiates brake nipping on the inside wheel, tightening the line. It works well, and makes this one of the handier handlers in the seven-seater sector. So too does its modest weight, evident on the go.
For something with a moderate amount of power and torque this goes fine, meeting its eight-second sprint claim, and overtakes are hasty enough, taking mid-fives in third gear if you’re in a real hurry. Rather than paddle it along, a quick pull on the shift lever rattles the transmission’s dags, increasing haste appropriately. Or you can select the Sport drive mode.
The other rather charming aspect of distance travel in the Tarraco is just how hushed it is. There’s little in the way of motor noise and neither do the tyres have much to say; mid 72s was the average reading over our reference horror seal, with a worst of 73.8db, comfortably inside of intrusive levels which kick off at about 75dB.
Rounding out things, this has all the spec you’d ever really want, and the rest left as cost options. An upgrade to 20-inch alloys adds $2000 while leather upholstery is another $1600, the panoramic sunroof is worth $2000 and Beats audio ups the ante by $950.
Included in the safety locker are active cruise with stop and go, lane keeping, autonomous braking, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert, auto high beam control for the LED headlights, and seven airbags. All this helped Tarraco to a five-star EuroNCAP crash rating.
Other expected items include comfort entry and pushbutton start, a powered fifth door with easy kick action to open and close, a configurable instrument display, cloth and alcantara trim, and remotes for full split folding.
Simple things that just make life easier in a 4.74m vehicle include front and rear parking sonar, a 360 degree camera, and self parking for the truly terrified. There’s also full smartphone integration in the eight-inch touch infotainment screen. As to the sixth and seventh seats? Well they’re there, but don’t expect bruisers to use them; tots only.
|Model||Seat Tarraco FR 4Drive|
|Engine||1984cc, IL4, T/DI, 140kW/320Nm|
|Drivetrain||7-speed twin-clutch, on-demand AWD|