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2016 Seat SUV - on-sale date, engines and prices

First details of a new Seat crossover that's due to launch in 2016

Words ByMark Tisshaw

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Seat will launch its first-ever SUV in 2016 as it seeks to capitalise on the increasing sales of such cars.

What is it?

The new Seat SUV will be a rival to the Nissan Qashqai and Mazda CX-5, and will be similar in size to them.

It will be based on the Seat Leon, so expect it to have a similar footprint to that car, albeit with all the usual SUV benefits including a raised driving position, a more spacious interior and a larger boot.

Seat boss Jurgen Stackmann says the car will stand out ffrom its opposition for its focus on driving agility, space and stand-out design.

"The first test mules are on the road now and we are already optimistic for what is to come," said Stackmann. "We are looking for agility and precision from the dynamics, utility inside and great design that expresses our values. We have done a lot of research in to why people buy these kinds of vehicles and what our competitors already offer, and these characteristics should help us stand out.

"The design is perhaps the most interesting part. It is not about giving the vehicle a rough and tumble look - most will never go off-road. People buy these cars for their function, because the high seat gives them better visibility and a feeling of safety and because they express personality perhaps better than any other mainstream section of the car market."

What engines will it come with?

The engine range will be shared with the Leon.

This means that a four-cylinder 1.4 TSI engine in various ouputs will be the staple petrol version, with the bulk of diesel sales coming from a 1.6 TDI.

The 1.2 TSI petrol engine could be offered as an entry-level unit to rival 1.2 petrol versions of the Nissan Qashqai.

Seat bosses have also not ruled out the possibility of Cupra performance versions of the SUV, which would be powered by the 261bhp version of the 2.0 TSI petrol engine.

The final engine line-up will be confirmed closer to the car’s launch in 2016.

How much equipment does it come with?

Like the engine range, this will be confirmed closer to the on-sale date. However, we’d expect the trim and equipment levels to mirror the Leon.

How much will it cost?

The pricing strategy of the new Seat SUV should see it going up against the Qashqai, with the range starting at around Β£18,000 and going up to around Β£30,000, should Cupra models be added to the line-up.

How good are its rivals?

The Seat SUV will be competing in a segment which contains several strong contenders.

The four star-rated Nissan Qashqai was our 2014 Car of the Year. The excellent Mazda CX-5 is a five-star car, and the ageing, four-star Skoda Yeti is also worth considering.