SEAT's Range Rover Evoque rival set to get green light

SEAT is likely to give a Range Rover Evoque-rivaling SUV model the green light. The 20V20 Concept revealed earlier this month at the Geneva Motor Show showcased SEAT’s future design language, but it also hinted at how a mid-sized SUV to take on the Range Rover Evoque could look.

While the 20V20 is officially just a concept, a production SUV along similar lines is on the cards. SEAT’s President, Jurgen Stackmann, has talked of three product “pillars” for SEAT, one of which is an SUV ‘family’ and to do that it would need to have several models.

Along with the Leon-based Nissan Qashqai rivaling crossover confirmed for 2016 and a smaller Nissan Juke rival set to be given the nod from the SEAT board of directors imminently (the two cars are dubbed Prince William and Prince Harry internally at SEAT), a larger model taking clear design cues from the 20V20 concept would neatly round off the SUV family.

The Volkswagen Group is now paying SEAT the attention it needs for it to develop in sales and in stature. As VW’s sporty brand, SEAT is being aligned with Audi within Volkswagen’s brand portfolio. It’s a move designed to clearly move the Spanish brand away from its Czech cousin Skoda to prevent model overlap.

It means that while Skoda will be getting a seven-seat SUV, it seems the current feeling within the VW Group is for SEAT to concentrate on more emotional models. A large, five-seat SUV using key design cues as seen on the dramatically-styled 20V20 Concept would give clear separation from Skoda’s more sensible, rationally-driven seven-seat model.

Auto Express has been told that reaction from the 20V20’s recent unveiling at the Geneva motor show revealed that some observers would be ‘disappointed’ if it took until 2020 for a large SEAT SUV to arrive. A 2020 launch would have it joining the range in time to replace the current seven-seat Alhambra MPV. SEAT’s focus on developing an SUV family would match the market’s trend to move away from traditional MPVs to SUVs that offer similar levels of practicality but in more fashionable packages.

SEAT 20V20 Concept - rear

At the Swiss show, Stackmann said: “SEAT will be applying the winning Leon product formula to the entire range. We’ve taken all product decisions to consolidate the successful path started with Leon  and we have finalised our product plan for the coming years. SEAT will shift focus from the small car to the compact car category. The centre of gravity shifts upwards entering big, fast growing and more profitable segments.” 

While the concept was a four-seater, it’s likely a production car would have five seats and use a variety of petrol, diesel and possibly hybrid powertrains. Whether it would use another Spanish place name is as yet unconfirmed.

Check out our round-up of the best SUVs on sale now

Source link