Spanish car maker's first purpose-built EV will be revealed imminently, and followed by a plug-in hybrid Leon
Julian Rendell
22 March 2018

Seat is due to join its VW Group stablemates with its first purpose-built electric car, and it will be revealed in the next few weeks.

The official unveiling is pencilled in for some time later in February, Autocar understands, before it is put on display to the public at the Geneva motor show in March. 

The as-yet-unnamed EV will be twinned with the 2019 Volkswagen ID hatch, thanks to shared VW Group MEB underpinnings that will also be used by Skoda's first purpose-built electric SUV, which will itself take inspiration from its Vision E concept.

“Seat is taking a step forward in boosting electric mobility,” the brand said, "and our first electric vehicle will feature a range of 500km."

This range, which equates is to 311 miles, is the same figure quoted by Skoda and VW for their upcoming EVs.

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The 2020 model is predicted to be Seat's first pure EV because an electric version of the Mii, which was expected as a twin to the upcoming Skoda e-Citigo and updated Volkswagen e-Up, is now understood to be less of a priority. Seat R&D boss Matthias Rabe said that model is "less concrete".

The car is described as being taller than the VW ID but lower than Skoda's electric SUV, suggesting it'll ride like a crossover.

Seat's first EV will come at the tail end of an aggressive range expansion that will soon see the introduction of the Tarraco SUV, a relation of the Skoda Kodiaq and Volkswagen Tiguan. The current Toledo small hatchback is likely to be axed shortly after this.

But Seat will quickly add another all-new model to the range when a pure-electric SUV is launched as a cousin to Skoda's EV SUV.

The electrified range will coincide with a new design direction for Seat. It will begin with the fourth-generation Leon next year, according to design boss Alejandro Mesonero. He told Autocar last year that the Leon's design would be “a bigger step” than the company has taken since the relaunch of the brand with the current Leon in 2012. “Sometimes you need to take a bigger step so as not to be obsolete. We’re ready very soon for the next, bolder step in design,” he said.

The new Leon will also debut the firm's first plug-in hybrid powertrain, Rabe revealed. No details of the powertrain have been released, but it's expected to share an updated version of the powertrain used in the next-gen VW Golf GTE

The next Leon will also get what Rabe described as "fantastic technology and fantastic user interface" as part of what insiders suggest will be class-leading infotainment, set to be rolled out across the rest of the range after its introduction.

Seat is also keen to stress that it “will remain committed to internal combustion engines” when expanding its plug-in range. It will also offer internal combustion engines fuelled by clean-burning compressed natural gas.

Going from strength to strength

Seat chairman Luca de Meo revealed the new model offensive at a press conference to announce Seat’s 2017 financial results, headlined by a second year of profitability. Turnover rose 11% to nearly £8.7 billion, while after-tax profit increased 23% to £244 million.

“We can be happy with the 2017 results,” stressed de Meo, “but we shouldn’t be satisfied. Now it's time to look to the future with the ambition to grow.”

Total deliveries of new cars in 2017 were 468,000 vehicles, the highest since 2001 – the payback for £2.8bn of investment in the past four years.

Cashflow – the accountant’s favourite measure of a company’s business strength – also grew substantially by 24% to £825m in 2017.

“This is almost three times as much as in 2013 and demonstrates the company’s financial sustainability,” Seat said.

Additional reporting by Mark Tisshaw

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Join the debate


26 June 2017
So what are the other two new segment model then? Where is the insight here?

27 June 2017
About 15 years old now but still a great looking concept. Oh, and don't they build the Toledo anymore?

23 March 2018
Beastie_Boy wrote:

Oh, and don't they build the Toledo anymore?

No. Skoda build it, not Seat, as it's just a re-badged Rapid.With the next Rapid likely to be closer in concept to the Seat Leon, there probably isn't an opportunity to derive a Toledo from it that would be different enough from Leon.

27 June 2017
6 new versions of the Leon but with different lengths and widths

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

27 June 2017
The Toledo seems to still be on the SEAT website.

However it is a slow seller, even compared to the Skoda Rapid on which it is based and built alongside. It was never really marketed, just seemed to appear and will probably just disappear.

I tried to track down a DSG model as a cheap runabout (lot of car for the money!), they're as rare as hens teeth.

I reckon they'll still need something to sell to Spanish fleets - hire cars, taxi drivers etc. and just as the Exeo and Toledo they might look to sister brands for an applicable model.

27 June 2017
So the design work for the large SUV is already complete. Wonder just how long it took to graft SEATs corporate grille onto the Skoda Kodiaq?

18 July 2017

Autocar wrote:


Rabe said Seat no longer planned to simply put its badge on another VW Group ‘shared’ product, as is the case with today’s Mii and Alhambra.  

... that your " game changing " brand new Ateca also shares plenty of its body parts with a Skoda, the Karoq.

I wonder if Seats " new " design language will be as different as Audis " new " design language that they just debuted in the A8.



18 July 2017

So the Alhambra replacement will be a large crossover? They do realise that the whole point of such vehicles is interior space?

18 July 2017
I can't see that concept aging well, it may even look outdated by the time it arrives.

On the subjects of evs and hybrids, after driving the hydrid rav4, and the golf gte I'm now a bit of a fan.

The prius I never got, it's mpg wasn't that special and you lost out on power and interior quality (the Hyundai iconiq suffers the same compared with the i40).

But when a hydrid set up is used to add power to lesser engines, and filling in for the lack of a turbo or to fill lag with a bigger turbo, they really work as a good deisel alternative.

They give responsiveness of a petrol the torque and mpg of a diesel. I'm not in to EVs/hybrids for their "greener" credentials, but if they can offer a good package of power and economy, why would I not like it.

I'm glad some oems are now focusing on power and efficacy over trying to sell to hipsters.

The more oems that move into this space, the quicker the tech will evolve, and the prices will lower. It's can only be a good thing.

22 March 2018

  Cars still look like cars just now, but, as time marches on they will be White goods ( no racism)a little four wheeled Car that’s sits on your drive or in your Garage gently humming away till it’s needed, we do that anyway I hear you say, well, with Ev’s In the future because they are just cheap(?) Transport it won’t matter what they look like because it’s inside that will matter more, Tv, Radio , internet, chatting to others in the Car, doing work on your way to work, sleeping even, imagine doing a 300mile Car journey where you can have snooze, sleep just like on an overnight Train journey!, so, while Ev’s Still look interesting, buy one soon!!

Peter Cavellini.


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