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By Jonathan Crouch
Added 11th December, 2020
SEAT’s Tarraco becomes more interesting in PHEV plug-in hybrid form. Jonathan Crouch takes a look.
As a full-size MPV with a king-size carrying potential, SEAT’s MK2 Alhambra might not be quite of the sporty, stylish persuasion you’d normally expect to associate with this Spanish marque but it has plenty of other virtues. There’s proper adult space for seven and seats that fold easily into the floor, plus it can compete on equal terms with the direct large MPV rivals from this period it undercuts, both on price and specification.
It’s lighter, faster and better-built than the previous MK1 model, plus its more modern engines cost less to run. All attributes that families shopping in this sector may find hard to ignore from a car offering this kind of value proposition. People carriers have come on a long way since the last time you tried one. And if you want proof of that, you’ll find it right here.
The Arona, says SEAT, is designed for ‘drivers looking for a sense of excitement, distinction and functionality. People who know that age is just a number, not an outlook on life.’ In other words, the people who’ve been busily buying Nissan Jukes and Renault Capturs in considerable numbers over the last five years. The Spanish maker wants in on this lucrative market and the improved version of this little Crossover looks to have everything necessary to entitle them to a useful slice of sales in this segment.
The potential for personalisation will be key to this car’s prospects, as will the efficiency made possible by its efficient engines and light, stiff MQB-A0 chassis. It took some time for the Iberian maker to bring us a Crossover of this kind but over 350,000 global sales since this model’s original 2017 launch have shown that quite a market exists for it. This crossover’s got plenty of life left in it yet.
Privately, SEAT were frustrated by the Volkswagen Group’s tardiness in developing many products for the compact Crossover segment. But Wolfsburg’s Spanish outpost must also be grateful to its German masters for the thoroughness with which they corrected this oversight. This provided a standard of technology and design that enabled SEAT to create in this Ateca one of the very finest cars of its kind.
It set a fresh standard for the way that contenders in the Qashqai-class could drive, at a stroke making most rivals seem dull and lifeless in their dynamics. More perhaps than any other model SEAT made in this period, this one actually delivered on its brand promises of a more interesting and involving drive. Plus it helped enormously that this car was also well priced, good looking and, for the most part, pretty well equipped. In short, there’s plenty to like here. It may have had a bit of a siesta before joining the class, but this SEAT proved to be more than worth the wait.
SEAT’s fourth generation Leon has sharpened up its act. Jonathan Crouch reports.
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