SUV concepts that marked the last 30 years

In the last thirty years, SEAT has shaped the development on the road to SUV production with various concept cars. The details are in our news.

The story of the SEAT's SUV models goes back a long way. SEAT has laid the groundwork for the development of various concept cars and SUVs for over 30 years. All of these concepts shaped the DNA of SEAT Ateca, Arona and Tarraco. Here is SEAT's road to SUV production…

SEAT SUV Marbella Playa

In 1991, Nirvana released the hit “Smells like teen spirit,, the same year, presenting the Marbella Playa Concept at the SEAT Frankfurt Motor Show. The concept was a bold design example of a turntable, an ideal tool for people to enjoy their time off in nature. Compared to Marbella, the vehicle was higher than the floor and had a different front grille, a 40 hp engine and a 4 × 4 style.

Salsa SUV Emoción

In 2000, when Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe won five medals at the Sydney Olympic Games, SEAT was preparing a concept car to celebrate the 25th anniversary of its Technical Center. The height of the model from the ground was even higher. The height of 310 mm in off-road mode was an important indicator of the road to future SUV architecture. For the first time, it had traction lines that would later be further developed into the IBX and transformed into SEAT Arona.

Introduced at the Paris Motor Show, the 250 hp engine has enabled it to meet all terrain requirements. In fact, the versatility of today's crossover vehicles already exists in Salsa Emoción, which has three driving modes (Off Road, Sport and Street) in a system called Driving Multi Driving Concept ”.


In the year when Steve Jobs introduced the first iPhone (2007) (2007), SEAT exhibited the Tribu, which for the first time at the Geneva Motor Show was equipped with a package of all SUV features: off-road style, wide floor height and compact silhouette. Following the footsteps of Salsa Emoción, the Tribu had three driving modes (Urban, Sport and Freerun) and began to combine urban features with the agility of the 4 × 4 models. Ateca now has more square-like fender arches, and the interlocking triangular graphics of the taillights inspired SEAT Tarraco.


In early 2011, there was a little-known photography app called Instagram, which today has more than 1 billion users. In the same year, SEAT introduced IBX in Geneva. The IBX was a car that brought continuity to the sporty off-road vehicle architecture in the Tribu, and it did so with more carved lines. The high front, compact passenger compartment, taut surfaces and assertive headlights are some of the features that are visible today in Ateca and Arona. What's more, the IBX was equipped with the latest technology, including an electric hybrid motor and fully LED lighting.


While cinemas around the world made their first appearance in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens SE, SEAT was presenting the latest sporting off-road vehicle concept car before launching its first series, Ateca. First exhibited in Geneva, the 20v20 had a sporty coupe design with a different sporting off-road vehicle character, but the most important feature was connectivity, which is indispensable for today's cars. At its center was the Personal Drive, a coin-shaped touch device that included a mobile navigation system and a remote control to activate the car's climate control.

Altea Freetrack and Leon Cross Sport

These two models are the other two concepts that pave the way for the development of sporty off-road vehicles. The Altea Freetrack, which debuted for the first time at the 2007 Geneva Motor Show, was the culmination of the Multi Drive concept. On the other hand, Leon Cross Sport, introduced in Frankfurt in 2015, combined the performance of a compact sports car with the versatility of a four-wheel drive car.

In 2016, SEAT launched ATECA, the first representative in the SUV class. SEAT Ateca is one of the most demanding models in its class with its dynamic driving pleasure, safety and comfort features and innovative assistance systems. SEAT then made an ambitious entry into the compact crossover segment, SEAT Arona, which is one of the most growing segments in Europe. Arona combines compact dimensions that provide the advantage for urban use and SUV features that make it possible for the driver to go anywhere in the city. Tarraco was the last SUV the brand launched. Tarraco blends the key features of every vehicle in the SEAT range, including design and functionality, sportiness and comfort, technology and quality.

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