Seat IBX concept (2011) at 2011 Geneva motor show

Published: 28 February 2011

On the eve of the 2011 Geneva motor show, Seat has unveiled this IBX crossover concept at the Volkswagen Group’s pre-show party. Designed under the watch of ex-Lamborghini designer Luc Donckerwolke, it’s the second concept car to preview Seat’s future design language, and a strong hint that company is preparing to launch a new, small SUV.

Seat IBX? Was it the Seat IBE that came before?

Yes, and in 2010 we saw two versions of the IBE electric sports coupe – one without an interior, and one with. Those cars should morph into the next Leon, and with any luck the IBX will become a Tiguan-based SUV. 'With the IBX, we are once again demonstrating just how intensively we are working on the renewal of the Seat brand, and how determined we are to develop for the future,' said Seat president James Muir at the unveiling of the IBX. 'Even though a decision has yet to be taken, we could certainly envisage the IBX as a future expansion of our product portfolio.'

The IBX is, of course, a crossover, a two-door mix of SUV and sports car, with almost identical dimensions to the Tiguan. Not too impressed? It might be the hints of Ford Kuga, but also (and unusually for a concept car) the lack of chrome, bling and other show car jewellery – the exterior of the IBX is clean, crisp and minimalist. It’s rather understated. 'The IBX was created from the gene pool of our next vehicle generation,' explained Seat chief designer Luc Donckerwolke. 'This design DNA will have a profound impact on every one of our models.'

What about the Seat IBX’s other concept car touches?

No manufacturer can reveal a concept car these days without it being clean and green, and the Seat IBX is no exception. There’s no actual petrol or diesel engine under the bonnet but Seat claims the IBX has been conceived as a hybrid, and can travel 45 miles on electric power before a direct injection TSI or TDI engine has to take over. The IBX is front-wheel drive to save fuel, but Seat says four-wheel drive could be an option.

We loved the Tribu 4x4 concept from 2007, and this concept shows how a small Seat SUV would now look in line with the Spanish brand’s latest DNA. The company itself admits that the IBX previews a 'possible expansion of the Seat product portfolio', and the Tiguan could provide the platform. You have to suspect that if VW doesn’t give this car the green light car for a market segment that’s rapidly expanding, then it’s given up on Seat.

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By Ben Pulman

CAR's editor-at-large, co-ordinator, tallboy

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