Baby SUV concept builds on Tribu — and Spanish firm’s boss says it could be built
1 March 2011

Seat has previewed its likely rival for the Volkswagen Tiguan at Geneva with this small SUV concept, called IBX.

The new show car revisits territory that Seat covered with an earlier concept, called Tribu, at the Frankfurt show in 2007. That car was the first Seat created entirely under the direction of chief designer Luc Donckerwolke — but production plans were scuppered by a mixture of the VW Group’s production strategies and the onset of the global recession.

The IBX is also Donckerwolke’s work — and Seat president James Muir believes it has potential. “We could envisage the IBX as a future expansion of our production portfolio,” he said.

The new concept takes design cues first shown on the compact IBE hatchback and transfers them to a small three-door SUV (Seat sources admit that any production model would almost certainly have to be a five-door). It’s 4.26 metres long, 1.8 metres wide and 1.62 metres high — so shorter, narrower and slightly lower than a Tiguan.

Design features include a sharp crease along the flanks (but less surfacing than Seat’s Ibiza or Leon), LED lights and a stretched roofline that ends at a spoiler. Seat claims it blends small SUV dimensions with the styling traits of a sports coupé.

The concept is not understood to feature an interior; Seat has not issued any images of the cabin. Nor has it detailed the car’s running gear, beyond saying that it has been “conceived for an advanced hybrid powertrain application” and claiming that the car could travel around 30 miles on electric power alone.

However, the firm has also stated that the IBX could use TDI and TSI engines from the current line-up, and that it may feature front or four-wheel drive — indications that it has been designed to sit on the same platform as the VW Tiguan and Audi Q3.

Seat’s Martorell factory is currently running a long way under its capacity. It will shortly manufacture the Q3 — so a sister vehicle, badged as a Seat, would be a welcome, cost-effective addition.

John McIlroy

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