► 2016 Seat SUV spied testing
► Early preview of the Leon-on-stilts
► Planned debut for 2016 Geneva show
Seat’s plotting an onslaught of SUVs, with at least two, maybe even three, high-riding models on the way in the near future. Here’s an early sign of the fruits of its labours, out testing in Europe with a heavily laden trailer in tow.
Which upcoming Seat SUV model is this one?
Seat chairman Jürgen Stackmann confirmed to CAR’s Tim Pollard last Autumn that two SUVs are in the pipeline, beginning with a Tiguan-sized (and next-gen Tiguan-based) mid-sized crossover. That’s the car we’re looking at here, continuing its test programme ahead of its planned Geneva motor show debut in spring 2016. Still nameless for the time being, it’ll likely be joined by a smaller, Nissan Juke-sized sibling the following year.
Components will be borrowed from the MQB architecture employed by its Golf-based Leon stablemate, and will be offered with both two- and four-wheel drive. A hybrid variant is planned; and rumours of a Cupra version haven’t been denied.
What’s underneath that camo?
Seat tends to be more thorough than most with its camouflage – just look at the heavily bandaged Leon we spied night testing recently – but nonetheless there are a few tell-tale glimpses on show here.
Typically angular light graphics – a Seat hallmark – are visible at the rear, and diamond-shaped grille mesh makes an appearance at the front, which appears to echo the ‘X-shape’ motif of the recent 20V20 concept car, tipped to heavily influence the production car’s style. Though ground clearance appears modest, roof rails will help visually boost the production car’s height.
Click here for a walk around the Seat 20V20 concept with Seat design boss Alesandro Mesonero
Why’s it towing a trailer?
Many prototypes are spotted lugging heavy-duty trailers, not only to replicate towing caravans, horse boxes and the like but also to vary axle loads and generally give the transmission a hard time. At durability testing grounds, vehicles are often required to attempt full-bore starts while towing a trailer to torture their driveshafts and gearboxes. Ford has proudly told us that in the case of Transit van durability testing they had to build their own trailers, as off-the-shelf ones invariably wore out long before the vans did.
Nissan’s Qashqai has shown just how successful the largish, road-oriented SUV template can be. What chance of a choppier looking Spanish cover version stealing some of its sales? Watch this space.
Click here for more on Seat’s future soft-roader plans.