The new SUV, which will be seen for the first time at next month’s Geneva motor show, has been spotted testing numerous times in the run up to its official unveiling and is part of a three-model family planned by the Spanish car maker.
Seat filed a trademark application for the Ateca name in November of last year, and despite opposition being filed from niche German car maker Artega - on the grounds that the two names sounded too similar - Seat looks to be pushing ahead with the name.
Other names registered by Seat in recent months include Teqta, Conqera, Teroqa, Formentera.
The Ateca and Formentera names follow Seat’s tradition of naming its cars after locations in its Spanish homeland. Ateca is a town in the north of the country while Fomentera is an island off the eastern coast of Spain.
The first Seat SUV is envisioned as a rival for the Nissan Qashqai and was described by former Seat boss Jürgen Stackmann as having agile and precise handling. Speaking to Autocar last year, Stackmann said: “We have done a lot of research into why people buy these kinds of vehicles and what our competitors already offer, and these characteristics should help us stand out.”
Visually, Seat’s Ateca SUV will not be styled to present its off-road credentials, with Seat preferring a reserved design more akin to the current Leon family instead. The styling of the SUV has been previewed before, firstly with the IBX concept in 2011 and latterly with the 20v20 concept at last year’s Geneva show.
Power for the Seat SUV could come from the existing Leon family of engines while a hot Cupra version is also being considered. Research is under way to see how far Seat’s sporty sub-brand can be pushed.
The new Seat SUV should quickly become a volume model for the brand when it goes on sale, capitalising on the rising demand for crossovers and SUVs in Europe. A smaller Nissan Juke rival is also planned, as well as a larger seven-seat SUV.