Seat Tribu concept (2007): first official pictures | CAR Magazine

Seat Tribu concept (2007): first official pictures

Published: 06 September 2007 Updated: 26 January 2015

That colour is Seat, but that’s not the swooping Seat design I know

That’s exactly what Seat wants you to think. This is the first car designed by Luc Donckerwolke and, like the Salsa concept shown in 2000, it previews Seat’s future design direction. And in case you’re already having doubts, just remember that Mr Donckerwolke is the dab hand behind such automotive delights such as the Lamborghini Murcielago and Gallardo. This is the Tribu concept car, and CAR Online has obtained these pictures from a SEAT insider ahead of the car’s official debut next week. The design is much more angular than that on current Seats. However, it is still recognisably a Spanish product.

So tell me about the Tribu

Up front there are trapezoid-shaped headlights and air intakes. The windscreen and panoramic roof are one giant piece of glass letting lots of light into the cabin. And just visible in these pictures are the four individual bucket seats. What our pictures don’t show are the four screens, three of which display information relating to the selected driving mode: urban, sport or ‘freerun’ (that’s off-roading to you and me). The car’s electronics adapt accordingly and adjust the engine, suspension and gearbox to suit city, motorway, or dirt-track driving. The rear light clusters are hidden below the darkened glass boot lid, and are only visible when the lights are illuminated.

So will Seat build it?

No word yet, as the car hasn’t been officially unveiled. However, now that VW has its medium-sized Tiguan 4×4 it would make sense for Seat to use a readily-available platform. It would provide a much needed boost to the brand and provide it with a credible SUV. The existing Altea Freetrack is only a faux 4×4, and while any production Tribu wouldn’t exactly be a mud-plugger, it would allow Seat to take on the Ford Kuga et al. While some may consider 4x4s unnecessary, Seat needs a car to rejuvenate the brand, and if it won’t make the gorgeous Tango roadster then perhaps the Tribu is the car to get the Seat brand going again.

By Ben Pulman

Ex-CAR editor-at-large