SEAT Tarraco: new FR trim and plug-in hybrid powertrain announced

  • New plug-in hybrid powertrain and sporty FR trim level
  • Brand's first hybrid vehicle uses familiar components
  • Still available with seven seats

SEAT has bolstered its Tarraco SUV range with two new additions. The first is a sporty trim level, named FR and mirroring the similar option across the rest of its range, but more exciting is the addition of a plug-in hybrid powertrain (PHEV).

The combination of petrol engine and electric motor is the first hybrid system fitted to a SEAT – the brand has focused purely on conventional petrol and diesel up until this point. The system is a familiar one, pairing a 150hp 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor for a total system output of 245hp and 400Nm of torque. We've seen this configuration before in the Volkswagen Passat GTE, though it's more powerful in the SEAT - presumably to compensate for the Tarraco’s extra bulk. It's also the same powertrain set to feature in the upcoming Cupra Formentor, the first bespoke car from SEAT's performance sub-brand Cupra.

2019 SEAT Tarraco PHEV front

This makes it the most powerful Tarraco in the range by quite some margin, providing impressive performance for a seven-seat SUV. 0-62mph will take just 7.4 seconds, and top speed is 135mph.

But of course, the Tarraco PHEV isn’t just about performance – there will be significant gains in efficiency, too. The fuel economy of plug-in hybrids is very dependent on the distances they’re driven, but the Tarraco’s promised all-electric range of ‘more than’ 31 miles should in theory allow many users to complete their daily driving without ever having to fire up the petrol engine, provided they’re able to charge up the battery at home overnight or at a charging station.

On longer trips, the PHEV acts more like a traditional hybrid, with the electric motor supporting the petrol engine – however, prolonged high-speed runs will see fuel economy tumble.

2019 SEAT Tarraco PHEV interior front seats

Speaking of fuel economy, it’s not yet been officially revealed – however, CO2 emmisions are said to be less than 50g/km, making for very favourable tax rates especially for company car users.

The Tarraco PHEV is set to rival the likes of the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and Kia Niro PHEV, but scores extra points for families by being one of the only plug-in hybrid SUVs available with seven seats.

In fact, the two most direct competitors come in the form of the premium (and pricey) Volvo XC90 T8 and Range Rover Sport P400e - though there are a few traditional hybrids available with seven seats, such as the Lexus RX L or Toyota Prius+.

2019 SEAT Tarraco PHEV rear detail

Alongside the hybrid powertrain SEAT unveiled the sporty FR trim – a new level with numerous aesthetic enhancements. It gains wider wheel arches accommodating new 19-inch - or optional 20-inch - alloy wheels.

Unique badging, including a ‘handwritten’ Tarraco badge, completes the exterior makeover, while the interior gains front bucket seats, a sports steering wheel and aluminium pedals.

Both Tarraco FR models and the new PHEV drivetrain will begin production in 2020.