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Decoding the design clues in Seat’s 20V20 crossover concept

Published: 02 March 2015

► First look at the new 2016 Seat SUV
► 20V20 is concept-car look at 4x4
► 'We wanted a thin look' - design chief

Its name might recall the 20V Leon, but the Seat 20V20 is a future concept SUV from the Spanish brand – and a sneak peak at its future design language. Unveiled at the Geneva motor show, the 20V20 is clearly not a flight of fancy, as even its interior looks close to production-ready.

Instead, think of it a production-viable concept with a few bits of motor show tinsel. Seat's readying a crossover of this size to launch in 2016, you see...

Click here for more on Seat's SUV expansion plans.

Seat design chief Alesandro Mesonero on the 20V20

Seat design boss Alesandro Mesonero talked CAR around the 20V20 at the Geneva show. ‘The aim was to make an SUV with a thin body, but to be very high on its wheels,’ explained Mesonero. ‘We wanted it to be very dynamic, with the body poised over the rear wheels. It’s like a sports man, ready to pounce, there’s a lot of tension. It has a lot of character and a strong personality – it’s for a buyer who prioritises design, but also wants a car that is capable of everything.’

The 20V20 is clearly an evolution of the design seen already on the latest Leon, which is no coincidence: Seat sold more Leons than Ibizas for the first time in its history last year, and wants the success of its C-segment hatch to drive the brand onto greater things. Hence the razor-sharp lines that flow from the front and the rear of the 20V20 are a development of cues seen on the Leon, but with a crucial difference. ‘The area below the lines is more rounded,’ explains Mesonero. ‘It bulges like muscle, this is a big difference to the Leon.’

The V-shape of the bonnet flows into a distinctive X-shape at the front end, a cue that we can expect to see repeated in upcoming Seat models. And don’t be surprised if those all-LED headlights make production – remember, the Leon Cupra 280 already features the technology as standard.

Inside the 20V20 crossover

The 20V20’s interior looks almost production-ready, and features Poltrona Frau leather with orange stitching (leftover surplus from the Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6?), plus lots of aluminium and high-gloss plastic, and a glasshouse that lends a sense of space and airiness. But it’s the large instrument panel that dominates the dash, with three large TFT screens, the largest of which measures 12.3 inches.

‘We tried to create an open space inside, with minimum obstacles and a large wraparound dashboard,’ explains Mesonero. ‘It looks thin and delicate, but at the same time strong and robust.’

Mesonero draws our attention to what he calls ‘Seat Core’ – officially referred to as the Seat Personal Drive Device in the press material – what appears to be a rotary dial on the centre console. This is the ignition key, but it also stores a driver’s preferences, from seating position to temperature and driving modes. If you share driving duties, it’s simply a case of programming individual keys to dial up your preferences. A neat touch.

Under the skin of Seat's new SUV

Based on Volkswagen’s MQB platform found under everything from the Golf to the TT, the 20V20 would use Seat’s familiar range of four-cylinder powertrains and a Haldex all-wheel-drive powertrain. Seat is also talking up a plug-in hybrid variant, presumably based on Audi A3 E-tron technology. The show car rides on 20-inch alloys, a 2791mm wheelbase, and a track that is 1648mm wide at the front, 1638mm wide at the rear.

Click here for more from the Geneva motor show.

By Ben Barry

Contributing editor, sideways merchant, tyre disintegrator

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