click the above image to view 35 high-res images of the SEAT Altea Freetrack Concept

We're fans of the SEAT Altea, though the smallish five-door hatch back isn't sold in the U.S. It's got great packaging, a unique though not ugly design, and there's even an FR model sporting corporate parent Volkswagen's venerable 2.0T FSI engine and a DSG transmission. SEAT is planning to stretch the Altea's scope a bit further when it releases an SUV version of the on-road MPV in the near future. The SEAT Altea Freetrack Concept you see here is a thinly veiled preview of SEAT's first production SUV.

Frankly, the Altea Freetrack Concept looks great lifted on its beefier suspension and larger wheels. It's got all the normal cute ute styling cues we'd expect like fender flares, a fuax skid plate beneath the front bumper and a full-size spare mounted on the rear hatch, but it doesn't look anything like SUVs we're used to thanks to its extreme cab-forward stance and virtual absence of front and rear overhang. Plus, it's motivated by an even more powerful version of the 2.0T FSI in the high-performance FR model producing 240 horsepower. As we've repeated so many times, sadly the Spanish automaker doesn't sell its stuff in the U.S., so no Altea Freetracks for us.

Check out or high-res gallery to view more angles of the SEAT Altea Freetrack Concept and find the official press release after the jump.

[Source: SEAT, Autoblog Spanish - live shots by Alberto Ballestin]


PRESS RELEASE:

ALTEA FREETRACK PROTOTYPE

SEAT unveils its first 4x4 in Geneva
  • A concept-car that previews the street model
  • 4-wheel drive and 240 hp 2.0 TFSI engine
  • Shakira visits the SEAT stand tomorrow, exhibiting the León Pies Descalzos
  • This morning, SEAT President Erich Schmitt has unveiled the latest creation of the Spanish carmaker in Geneva – the Altea Freetrack Prototype – a sneak preview of SEAT's first SUV, which will soon be seen both on-road and off.

During the presentation, Mr. Schmitt stated that "this prototype comes in response to the increasing demand for 4x4 vehicles, and opens the possibilities for SEAT in this segment". More importantly however, this SEAT vehicle goes several steps further. As the company President said, "the Altea Freetrack Prototype is an excellent 4x4, a roomy family car with enormous load capacity and a true sportscar all rolled into one, both for its dynamic design and the powerful 240 hp 2.0 TFSI at its heart".

Adventurous spirit

The Altea Freetrack Prototype is anauthentic sporty 4x4, ready to safely tackle any off-road path chosen. With a ground clearance of 310 mm, its angles of approach and departure and its ramp breakover angle are those of a true off-roader: 26°, 29°and 23° respectively.

The prototype exhibited at the SEAT stand combines the outward looks of a typical 4x4, with the Spanish maker's trademark dynamic, sporty silhouette.

Immediately visible is the powerful design statement, with a body that is 60 mm wider than the Altea XL. The oversized bumpers feature aluminium embellishers, while at the rear the triangular exhaust pipes are set directly into the bumper itself. Similar to most 4x4s, the rear also sports the spare wheel, topped by the SEAT logo and an original "4x4" symbol that emphasises the models all-terrain capacity.

Seen from the side, the first thing you notice are the imposing 19 inch alloy wheels, atypical on an all-terrain vehicle. Finally, the exterior is graced with exclusive matt white paint, enhancing the Altea Freetrack Prototype's positive, open nature.

Eye-catching details on the inside

Once inside the SEAT prototype, you immediately notice the original 2+2 seating arrangement and bucket-style competition seats, as well as the broad panoramic ceiling. Its two-tone brown and white leather upholstery adds a touch of bright refinement which the floodlight ceiling greatly enhances.

The dashboard has been carefully designed and fitted, using leather and aluminium freely with a soft finish on the passenger side.

The remarkable central console features two screens at the top that deliver all navigation information, including all kinds of details required for off-road driving, and the climatiser at the bottom. The newly designed air nozzles are vertically positioned on the central console and arranged in circles at the sides.

Top-class engine

The same engine that powers the León Cupra, the 240 hp 2.0 TFSI, is responsible for making the Altea Freetrack Prototype a roaring sportscar, thanks to its top-notch performance levels. This 2.0 TFSI transmits all its energy to all four wheels via a Haldex-type arrangement with a hydro-mechanical connection and electronic control that guarantees permanent, steady and precise power distribution.

Shakira and the SEAT León Pies Descalzos

The popular Colombian singer Shakira, whose tour is being taken across Europe by SEAT, will be on hand today at 13:45 at the SEAT stand to sign the León "Pies Descalzos". This model, which is also on display at the Motor Show, will be personalised by Shakira herself, and will be given away at a draw. The prize-winner will have donated money to the charity sponsored by SEAT to help needy children in Colombia.

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