This year, SEAT has once again succeeded in surprising visitors to its stand in Geneva with a concept car that showcases the look of a forthcoming road-going model: the Altea Freetrack Prototype. Far from being a mere styling exercise for the Technical Centre in Martorell, the SEAT concept car unveiled at the Swiss show gives a preview of the styling and technological innovations of the Altea Freetrack that will soon be making its debut both on our roads and off them.
Multi Driving Concept (MDC) has been consolidated
This prototype represents the culmination of SEAT's Multi Driving Concept (MDC) first launched four years ago with the Salsa concept car and later consolidated with the Salsa Emoción, both of which had their origins in the new generation of SEAT models. This concept promotes the traditional MPV (Multi Purpose Vehicle) from its predominantly family niche to the status of an all-terrain vehicle with sporty, aerodynamic lines as well as a level of interior versatility and spaciousness that satisfies all demands. This is a vehicle for non-conformists who are looking for that little bit more.
The use of the Multi Driving Concept marks out the Freetrack Prototype as a model offering the loading capacity and interior space of a family vehicle, the technology and preparation of an authentic 4x4, and the thrills and performance of a sports model.
Ready for anything
The Altea Freetrack Prototype's styling takes its cue from the Altea XL. However, a raft of modifications has been incorporated to adapt the new model's performance to the terrain it will be tackling.
The principal change is a chassis with 310 mm of ground clearance. The Altea Freetrack Prototype measures 1,766 mm in total, making its angles of approach and departure and its ramp breakover angle those of a true off-roader: 26 , 29 and 23 respectively.
The vehicle's width has also been increased by 60 mm, mainly to accommodate the imposing 255/50 mixed-size tyres mounted on 8J x 19 wheels.
The boldly styled oversized bull bars leave no doubt as to the robust nature of the Altea Freetrack Prototype. The same goes for the plastic side guards with aluminium inserts, which protect the body against knocks from rocks and other obstacles.
At the front end of the vehicle, there is an attention-grabbing exclusive bumper with hexagonal grille air intakes, a totally new feature in the SEAT range. The bumper itself is totally smooth with no moulding or edges, while the lower section incorporates two LED fog lights with aluminium casings. Bi-xenon headlights with AFS technology display the number 4 inside the chassis, highlighting the car's off-road character.
At the rear of the vehicle, the most eye-catching feature is the spare wheel which is fitted into the hatchback, and is covered with a plastic trim printed with a SEAT and an originally "4x4" logo. The Freetrack's boot is accessed by opening the spare aluminium wheel holder, which incorporates the model's name.
Another couple of attention-grabbing details at the back of the Altea Freetrack Prototype are two triangular-shaped tailpipes integrated into the bumper. The tail lights, meanwhile, are made with transparent glass, allowing the inside to be seen. Both the tailpipes and rear lights give the model a distinctly sporty feel.
Viewed side on, the impressive 19 inch wheels, which are by no means a typical feature on this type of vehicle, really stand out. The design of the five twin-spokes shows off the Altea Freetrack Prototype's brake discs, with callipers of eight and four pistons. Another design touch worth mentioning are the plastic guards located on the lower part of the doors - and the same protection can also be found on the wheel arches. These additions give the Altea Freetrack Prototype the undeniable air of a 4x4, while aluminium headlamps add a touch of elegance.
A further noteworthy element are the door mirrors, featuring integral indicator lamps as well as an absolute first for any SEAT model: their location on the doors and not on the A pillar.
The Altea Freetrack Prototype has been designed to enable customers to enjoy the great outdoors and reach areas which are out of reach for most vehicles. The model offers a stunning panoramic tinted roof, to make the most of the view, while it can also prevent too much sunlight from entering the vehicle and overheating the interior. The luggage rack, exclusive to this model, is also located on the roof. The Altea Freetrack Prototype also differs from other SEAT models in that it has no roof-mounted aerial; instead, it is integrated into the rear window.
The final feature requiring a mention - and one that cannot be missed - is the colour used for the concept car: an exclusive matt white finish which was developed exclusively for this prototype. This hue marks the Freetrack out as having a positive, open character with an affinity for nature. However, at the same time it still has an aura of sportiness that is inherent to this colour.
The excitement of a real adventure
It is quite evident that the SEAT Altea Freetrack Prototype is a fully-fledged all-terrain vehicle. However, the robustness of the vehicle's drivetrain and its exterior is in stark contrast to an interior that has been styled to ensure maximum enjoyment of all the vehicle's features. Enjoy the great outdoors and a sense of adventure without having to compromise on comfort in any way.
The two-tone brown and white leather upholstery produces a level of elegance and brightness inside the car which is further emphasised by the aforementioned panoramic roof. The robust feel of its exterior is mirrored in the interior by individual bucket seats which are designed to provide their occupants with an added sense of safety, thanks to their excellent hold. Furthermore, there is a storage area between the rear seats.
The 2+2 seating arrangement allows each of the passengers in the Freetrack Prototype to enjoy the pleasure of travelling in individual seats. Each seat is the personal micro-habitat of its occupant.
Special attention was devoted to the concept car's dashboard, both in terms of design and materials. The driver's section is covered in dark brown leather, while the instrument binnacle hood is white. The same hues are used on the exclusively designed steering wheel, which apart from brown and white leather, also features aluminium.
The passenger section of the dashboard has a soft, light finish, which is both pleasant to touch and pleasing on the eye, making for a top-quality interior.
The centre console really catches the eye. Two screens concentrate driving information in the upper section, including data for off-road driving, and air conditioning information in the lower section. The air diffusers are a new design, exclusive to Freetrack, and have an original vertical layout on the centre console, and a circular layout on the sides.
The instrument panel is also exclusive to this model, with two dials located on the right-hand side and a multi-function screen to the left.
Finally, the absence of a luggage tray for the boot adds to the feeling of space inside the vehicle. The boot also offers a clever solution to the problem of shifting luggage: a panel on a guiding wire holds bags in place.
The Altea Freetrack Prototype comes with the same power unit under its bonnet as the new León Cupra: the 240 hp 2.0 TFSI, which is perfectly equipped for whatever the journey ahead holds in store, be it over asphalt roads or dirt tracks. The 2.0 TFSI engine's power is directed to the four wheels via a Haldex-type arrangement with a hydro-mechanical connection and electronic control, to ensure that the tractive force is distributed permanently in a progressive and precise manner.
As such, the Altea Freetrack Prototype represents the definitive solution for anyone who wishes to explore the roughest and most challenging off-road terrain with the whole family, but is also looking for a high-performance vehicle that allows them to enjoy on-road motoring to the full.
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