It's the Spanish soft-roader: Seat's Leon Cross Sport

Published: 14 September 2015

► New Seat Leon crossover coupe
► Meet the three-door Cross Sport
► Like a Golf R on stilts?

Seat has unveiled its new Leon Cross Sport concept at the Frankfurt motor show. Think of it as a warm-up act for the Spaniards' first proper crossover coming next year (give or take an Altea Freetrack 4 or two). Read more about Seat's SUV plans here.

The president of Seat, Jurgen Stackman, showed the Leon Cross Sport at the VW preview evening the night before the Frankfurt show, where he described it as one of four new products joining the Seat range over the next few years. ‘We’re spending €3.3 billion on R&D - it’s the biggest product investment in our history.’

Half Cupra, half X-Perience

The Cross Sport looks like a Golf R on stilts; it has the same 296bhp 2.0-litre turbo driving all four (19in) wheels. ‘It’s a fusion of our Cupra and X-Perience models,’ the boss said.

And that neatly describes the positioning of this new model; it's a bit like a squashed Evoque three-door, or the less practical Leon stretched upwards. Tellingly, this car could make it to showrooms and Seat says it's monitoring reaction to see if there's space in its growing SUV line-up for a toughed-up Leon.

Adding soft-roader versions to its range should help Seat sustain its growth path. Stackman said sales were up globally 7% so far in 2015 - and 9% in its biggest market, Europe. The Leon is the key driver of that growth, hence the crossover concept carrying the Leon badge. It’s a way of communicating what is a white-sheet product to customers.

When can I buy a Seat SUV?

Expect to see the first production SUV - a Qashqai rival - in spring 2016 at the Geneva motor show, with UK sales slated for late 2016. It will then be joined by a smaller Juke-sized crossover before the end of the decade while the 20V20 concept points to a third crossover. The Spanish might be jumping on the bandwagon late, but they're certainly leaping aboard with gusto!

Find our full guide to the Frankfurt motor show right here.

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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