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Spy shot: Seat broadens its brief by heading off road

Seat is broadening its remit by heading off-road with its own version of the Tiguan, sister company VW’s 4x4 which goes on sale spring 2008.

This officially sanctioned ‘spy shot’ reveals the dimensions of the jointly developed VW/Seat soft-roader, which will be aimed squarely at the burgeoning small SUV market and cars such as the Land Rover Freelander 2 and Toyota RAV4.

Seat will soon have two separate 4x4s. The Altea Freetrack was unveiled at June’s Barcelona Motor Show and goes on sale this autumn as an off-roader ‘lite’ version of the Altea; the planned Tiguan project will offer a standalone and beefed-up 4x4 option.

The compact SUV sector is still growing remarkably fast across Europe. Seat’s sales and marketing vice-president Berthold Krueger claimed this segment is worth 200,000 units in Europe today – climbing to a forecast 500,000 within the next two years.

“VW is developing the Tiguan and we are considering a similar version, but sportier,” said Krueger.

Expect gadgets aplenty including a self-parking function and satellite-navigation that works even off the beaten track. A one-touch button will be used to set the car’s electronic traction and hill descent systems for off-road duties.

Seat SUV

Design
Expect a curvier style than VW’s boxy Tiguan

4x4 hardware
Soft-roader is front-drive most of the time, 4x4 when conditions are slippery

Engines
Expect three petrols (148, 168 and 197bhp) and a pair of diesels (138 and 168bhp)

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