Seat Altea Freetrack Concept

Published: 08 March 2007

What’s this, yet another crossover?

Yes, what with the world going crossover crazy, Seat is the latest to jump on the bandwagon, unveiling the Altea Freetrack concept at Geneva – an important step as the brand currently has no four-wheel drive models in its line-up. Seat has also been lacking the edge that made it such a promising brand of late, and the Freetrack is a statement that it’s keen to get back on track.

What’s under the skin?

Despite the chunky bumpers and running board-style side trims, you’ll no doubt have guessed that the Freetrack is based on the Altea – itself a Leon-based people carrier. As befits a 4×4 wannabe, it gets to use the VW group’s Haldex all-wheel drive system, too. Under the bonnet sits a 240bhp 2.0-litre TFSi engine as found in the Leon Cupra and, with a mere 197bhp, in the latest Golf GTI. Seat promises excellent dynamics, though the concept’s jacked up stance suggest otherwise.

And what of its rivals?

The crossover market is expanding so quickly that it’s difficult to keep up. Certainly, the Freetrack shares much in common with Ford’s C-segment-based Iosis X concept. It will also have to compete with Peugeot and Citroen’s Mitsubishi Outlander-based 4007 and C-Crosser – vehicles with a handy extra row of seats. Most tellingly, Nissan’s Qashqai may prove to be the best bet for most people – a five-seater with extra ground clearance and optional four-wheel drive.

By Ben Barry

Contributing editor, sideways merchant, tyre disintegrator

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