Seat takes a stab at off-roading with the Ateca X-Perience Concept

Seat hasn’t exactly been a big earner for the Volkswagen Group. In fact, it’s really been more like the massive black hole at the center of our galaxy. Basically, money goes in, but it doesn’t come back out. And, with the SUV and crossover market doing so well, it was no surprise that Seat ventured into previously uncharted territory by producing its first ever SUV, the Seat Ateca. Based on VW’s MQB platform and borrowing some design cues from cars like the 20V20 and Leon Cross Sport Concepts, the Ateca is a pretty nice little people hauler. But, part of owning an SUV or crossover is having the ability to go off-road, and that’s something that the Ateca just doesn’t do all that well. As such, Seat has put together a concept called the Ateca X-Perience that is designed to show off the Ateca’s off-road potential.

Seat’s Vice President of Research and Development, Dr. Matthias Rabe, said, “The X-Perience is an exercise to show the Ateca family’s possibilities and potential in the future. We know that with the Ateca, we can go much further and it will be on display at the Paris Motor Show. With the Ateca X-Perience, we can go beyond that which we already have in the series. It’s for the customer that wants to go further, taking it to the extreme, for weekend adventures, and of course, off-road.”

With that said, Seat hasn’t expressed any solid intention of turning this concept into a production model, but it has put a heavy emphasis on its customers wants, so don’t be surprised if the Ateca ends up with a more rugged trim level in the future. This concept is set to show up in Paris, so let’s take a good look at it before it makes its official debut.

Continue reading to learn more about the Seat Ateca X-Perience.

Exterior

2016 Seat Ateca X-Perience High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Seat Ateca X-Perience High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Seat Ateca X-Perience High Resolution Exterior
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Given the fact that this concept isn’t all that extreme, it’s quite possible we could see it become a real trim level in the future. If nothing else, Seat could offer up the various off-road enhancements as an optional package. Up front, the car gets a new front skid plate that is integrated with a silver ring that surrounds the large, lower air dam. It’s hard to tell how far under the body this new skid play goes, but with any hope, it at least covers the front crossmember.

Given the fact that this concept isn’t all that extreme, it’s quite possible we could see it become a real trim level in the future.

Moving over to the sides, there are a couple of changes to talk about. First, the wheel arches get a new protective overlay that will help protect the finish in this highly sensitive area. Down along the side skirts, there’s a new piece of silver body cladding that is more stylish than anything but may provide some minor protection from off-road gremlins. Up top, a new pair of chrome roof rails have been added that can be used to help carry thinks like kayaks or camping equipment, among other things. It rides on a pair of customer 18-inch wheels that are wrapped in high-profile tires. If nothing else, the tires are pretty meaty and surely offer decent off-road traction.

They don’t seem to be visible in the pictures here, but the X-Perience apparently has mud flaps in the rear. There’s also a new spoiler in the rear, and down below, the rear fascia is graced by a large, silver skid plate similar to that of the rear. In all honesty, I want to say the exterior of this concept is a little lazy, as Seat could have done more to give the Ateca a better off-road prowess, but it actually looks good the way it is, especially with those beefy tires. Some side rails and off-road lights would have been a nice addition. Seat didn’t mention anything about a suspension lift, but it does look like the body sits just a little bit higher than on the road-going Alteca.

Interior

2016 Seat Ateca X-Perience High Resolution Interior
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2016 Seat Ateca X-Perience High Resolution Interior
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2016 Seat Ateca X-Perience High Resolution Interior
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It’s not without upgrade, but the concept-specific features aren’t mind blowing by any means.

The inside of this concept is even more boring than the outside. It’s not without upgrade, but the concept-specific features aren’t mind blowing by any means. The interior upholstery has been done up in “coffee and green” with the steering wheel, seats, and gear shifter getting orange contrast stitching. The seats are wrapped in a suede leather while the steering wheel and aluminum kick plates are embroidered with the X-Perience logo. Seat also threw in a pair of rubber floor mats to “combat mud and dirt.”

Outside of these few things, the concept has all of the standard features found in the standard Ateca. This means that it has Easy Connect, Seat Full Link with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system, and a built-in wireless charger for cell phones with wireless charging capabilities. The other noticeable difference in the interior is the silver bezel found around the instrument cluster, center stack, and the shifter console. Like I said, it isn’t much.

Drivetrain

2016 Seat Ateca X-Perience High Resolution Exterior
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Since diesel is a big thing over in Europe, it should come as no surprise that Seat threw in a diesel powertrain for good measure.

Since this is a functional concept, it does have an engine. And, since diesel is a big thing over in Europe, it should come as no surprise that Seat threw in a diesel powertrain for good measure. Specifically, that powertrain is a 2.0-liter TDI that delivers 187 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. If nothing else, at least the concept is torquey enough to handle some off-road duties, right? That TDI is backed by a seven-speed DSG transmission with paddle shifters and a 4Drive traction system. The 4Drive system uses a Haldex clutch system which allows efficient and on-demand torque distribution between the front and rear axles. Seat claims that the system works well enough to ensure that each wheel “seamlessly receives the necessary power to keep going.”

At this point, any other performance specs are a complete mystery, but the X-Perience concept isn’t really about 60-mph sprints or top speed anyway. I would say it’s all about off-roading, but any man who is really into off-roading knows than an AWD system is nowhere near as good as having a selectable four-wheel system. So, Seat kind of failed there a bit, but at least it’s not just rear-wheel drive.

Conclusion

2016 Seat Ateca X-Perience High Resolution Exterior
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Here’s where I would normally go on about how lazy this concept is because there isn’t much to it, and it really is in some respect. But, the work seat did put into it does build on the current road-going model, so for that, I can’t hate. I’d rather see more body lift, a little more power, step rails, and an extra wheel and tire, but seat just barely stepped into the SUV game, so you’ve got to give it credit for trying. Not to mention the fact that it’s not exactly a big earner for VW. That said, this concept was probably put together on the thinnest of budgets. In the end, it’s not a bad looking concept that could, in all reality, become a full-fledged trim level of its own one day. The problem is, Seat customers are urban people with very few focused on off-roading, so it’s quite possible that this model could fade away and be forgotten about sooner than later. But, we’ll see what happens. Stay tuned for updates.

  • Leave it
    • * AWD instead of 4WD
    • * Somewhat lazy
    • * Little interior enhancement

Press Release

SEAT is set to present the Ateca X-Perience, together with a unique stand concept, bringing innovation to this year’s Paris Motor Show. The Ateca X-Perience is a demonstration that SEAT can surpass any limit, with a different take on the conventional SUV. Normally, Ateca customers are urban, but this car has much more capacity to drive off-road than one might expect. With the Ateca X-Perience, emphasis is put on its most adventurous character, in order to create a type of all-terrain vehicle that is simply off-limits to other current SUVs.

As soon as the driver pushes the start button, the Ateca X-Perience is ready for adventure, adapting itself to every driver situation, road condition and personal preference at any moment thanks to the Driving Experience drive selector located on the centre console. SEAT Drive Profile offers Normal, Sport, Eco and Individual modes, however, it’s also possible to go a step further, thanks to the 4Drive traction control settings, provided by the efficient Haldex system, which includes two additional profiles for snow and off-road, as well as Hill Descent Control function.

2016 Seat Ateca X-Perience High Resolution Exterior
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“The X-Perience is an exercise to show the Ateca family’s possibilities and potential in the future. We know that with the Ateca, we can go much further and it will be on display at the Paris Motor Show,” said the SEAT Vice-president of R&D, Dr. Matthias Rabe. “With the Ateca X-Perience we can go beyond that which we already have in the series. It’s for the customer that wants to go further, taking it to the extreme, for weekend adventures, and of course, off-road.”

Surpassing the Conventional Limits

The objective of the X-Perience is to underline the all-terrain characteristics of the SEAT Ateca. It considers those customers that, for either their hobbies, lifestyles or simply for their needs, seek the best off-road qualities from their car. Ateca drivers are likely to spend around 95% of their time on asphalt, with the remaining 5% off-road, or, on snow. However, with the X-Perience, that proportion will switch to become 75% normal use and 25% off-road.

2016 Seat Ateca X-Perience High Resolution Exterior
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It aims for the customer that, above all, is going to use the Ateca off-road, for those demanding SUV drivers that need excellent all-terrain qualities. In short, it is a car destined for those that consider asphalt a formality and for those to whom tracks and lanes remain small and insignificant. The interesting thing, the attractive thing and the challenge are beyond conventional limits.

An Inspired 4x4 Design

SEAT brings a piece of Barcelona to Paris, inspired by innovation, modernity, technology and design, all values shared by the French capital and of course, with the Ateca X-Perience. Wherever you might have to stop, the Ateca X-Perience can continue because of its high-profile tyres and bespoke 18-inch rims, black wheel arch mouldings, non-scratch paintwork and excellent ground clearance.

Evidently, as well as superior practical 4x4 capabilities, the Ateca X-Perience also boasts striking design. “That’s why we’ve chosen a typical 4x4 design style, starting with the wheel diameter and including high-profile tyres, going for a 4x4 look with the front bumpers, sump guard and fog light protectors,”explained SEAT Design director, Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos. “The colour has ended up being very important too. We’ve chosen olive green matt, a natural colour that’s a little camouflaged, underlined with orange tones in the details that give it a more technical look.”

2016 Seat Ateca X-Perience High Resolution Exterior
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The exterior is completed with details such as chrome roof rails, a rear spoiler mounted at the top of the tailgate to bring out the car’s sporty character and mud flaps mounted to the rear bumper with the 4Drive and X-Perience logos placed on the boot. Additionally, a front diffuser defines and protects the lower grille, which is repeated at the rear of the Ateca X-Perience.

Tones linked with those used on the exterior have been used in the interior too, which is illuminated by ambient-light LEDs for darker conditions. Earthy colours of coffee and green have been utilised, combining with orange stitching on the steering wheel, seats and the gear knob, to reinforce the car’s technological nuances. Its sports seats are upholstered in suede leather, while the aluminium kickplates bear the X-Perience logo. The XP abbreviation is also present on the steering wheel. Completing its adventurous appeal are protective rubber floor mats, to combat mud and dirt, together with a chrome strip on the boot lip, just as the current Leon X-Perience has.

4Drive — Total Traction from a Powerful Engine

The SEAT Ateca X-Perience uses a 4Drive traction system. Thanks to the Haldex clutch system, the torque distribution between both axles is done in the most efficient way to ensure exceptional power delivery on terrain at any moment, even in tricky conditions. Furthermore, the advanced XDS traction control system ensures that each wheel seamlessly receives the necessary power to keep going.

SEAT’s latest showcar is powered by the 2.0 TDI 190 PS engine, which is a pleasure to drive both on- and off-road. Boasting 400 Nm of torque and allied to a seven-speed paddle-shift DSG transmission, it not only guarantees outstanding performance and low fuel consumption and emissions, but it also allows the driver to enjoy the versatility and fun of the Ateca X-Perience, without having to move his or her hands away from the steering wheel to change gears. This is a safety and comfort benefit that is evident particularly when faced with challenging all-terrain conditions.

Safety and convenience without compromise

As in every adventure, unexpected things can happen. The Ateca X-Perience can take everything in its stride, thanks to one of the most complete range of driver assist systems in the class. For example, Traffic Jam Assist coordinates the work of the Lane Departure Warning Assist and the Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) system. Front Assist works as an emergency brake that recognises vehicles and pedestrians, as well as the Traffic Sign Recognition System, with Blind Spot Detection and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, a 360-degree camera with birds-eye view, Park Assist for parallel parking or angle parking, High Beam Assist…the list goes on.

2016 Seat Ateca X-Perience High Resolution Interior
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SEAT is aiming to be a front-runner in connectivity, and of course, the Ateca X-Perience is no slouch in that department. Constantly in touch with the digital world, it uses the latest generation of infotainment systems including Easy Connect, SEAT Full Link (which incorporates Apple Car Play and Android Auto functions), an eight-inch touchscreen Media System and Wireless Charger which allows the driver to charge smartphones without pesky cables.

The SEAT Ateca, which arrived in UK showrooms earlier this month, launches ahead of SEAT’s next three new models due in 2017 and is capable of satisfying the off-roading needs of most drivers. Undoubtedly, many Ateca customers are trendsetters, with a young and restless spirit, looking for a car which suits their lifestyle. For them, the X-Perience endeavours to show that it is possible to go beyond the limits, that it is possible to enjoy a more adventurous Ateca: Created in Barcelona.

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