Sharp-suited Tribu concept points the way for a new Spanish SUV
6 September 2007

Say goodbye to look-alike Seats. This is the new Seat Tribu concept, which will be unveiled at the Frankfurt motor show on Tuesday (11 September).

The Tribu is the first model wholly styled by design director Luc Donckerwolke since his arrival from Lamborghini. Maybe we're just being fanciful, but we reckon there's a hint of Lambo in the Tribu's crisp, geometrical shapes and trapezoidal headlights, and that's a good thing.

The only elements of Seat's current styling it contains are the strong swage lines running along the flanks from the top of the front wing to the rear wheelarches.

The Tribu blends elements of coupe and SUV styling; it's clearly an SUV, but there's definitely something coupe-like in the car's profile and three doors. The windscreen also continues above the passenger compartment, creating a huge panoramic roof.

There are no obvious external rear lights, because they're hidden behind the rear windscreen and only visible when illuminated.

The wheels are enourmous 20-inch chrome items, with 255/50 tyres – this is a vehicle for tackling the King's Road, not off-road.

Inside, the Tribu has four bucket seats, each with built-in seatbelts. The dashboard, meanwhile, is packed with four information screens for the driver, as well as dials for the speedometer and rev counter.

The screens display different information according to which of three driving modes the Tribu is in – Urban, Sport or Freerun, for the city, motorway or tracks. These change the engine management and suspension settings.

Intriguingly, Seat says that the Tribu "heralds the advent of a new wave of Seat models, and is therefore highly significant."

The Spanish firm has just introduced the soft-roader four-wheel-drive Altea Freetrack, but has said that it is likely to create a new SUV. Such a car would likely be based on the same platform as the forthcoming new VW Tiguan off-roader, making it a rival for cars like the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V.

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