Before 2017 completely vanishes in the rear-view mirror, we take a look at what’s been an amazing year for SEAT, in which the Barcelona-based company scooped a plethora of awards.
As years go, it’s been a pretty epic one for SEAT. A couple of months ago, we reported on their strong sales figures in 2017. These now look set to top 2016’s sales by some margin. Then there was their bold vision for eco-friendly production — having already exceeded their previous environmental targets, the company is working at becoming one of the greenest car manufacturers on the planet. And then there are the awards. Lots of them. The last twelve months has seen SEAT gain real recognition from pundits, with three of their most important models acquiring multiple awards.
Here’s a rundown of how the year unfolded:
January 2017: wins for the Ateca and Leon
As we reported back in March, SEAT took a gamble with the Ateca. It was their first foray into the world of compact crossovers, and they were up against some well-established rivals from the likes of Nissan and Kia. But as it turned out, the Alteca was a first time bullseye. No wonder What Car awarded it 2017 Car of the Year in their small SUV category.
And What Car weren’t finished with SEAT. Their 2017 award for Best Family Car in the £18,000 – £20,000 range went to the SEAT Leon (or more specifically, to the Seat Leon 1.0 TSI Ecomotive 115 SE Technology!). The reviewers praised its balance between fuel economy and performance:
It’s so frugal that it makes the pricier diesel versions seem largely redundant and packs just enough punch to let you enjoy the Leon’s agile handling.
March: it’s the Ateca…again
March saw the Ateca winning more plaudits, this time from Fleet News. They gave it their 2017 award for the Best Mid-size SUV. The judges commented that:
[With] Excellent value for money for fleets and drivers, the Ateca has a high quality interior, good range of diesel and petrol engines and attractive looks.
April: Ibiza wins design award
The Red Dot Award for product design is a prestigious one; winning one is no small achievement. But there’s no doubt that the SEAT team, headed by Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos, created a beauty in the new Ibiza. The Red Dot Award jury praised the Ibiza’s sporty looks and roomy interior, and awarded it Best Product Design in the Cars and Motorcycles category.
May: Ateca gets the public’s vote
The Honest John car review website is wildly popular, and visited by around two million people each month. In May, the Honest John site announced that the Ateca was their most popular car of 2o17. No other car generated as much interest as the new SUV, showing that the public were in agreement with the motoring experts.
June: Second major award for Ibiza
In June, Auto Express picked the Ibiza as their best supermini of 2017. Like the Red Dot Award team, the judges loved the Ibiza’s style. However, they also took into account more practical considerations:
We love the space, comfort and refinement as well as the style. But best of all is the price – this is a really affordable car to buy and run.
September: Ibiza best for new owners too
The Ibiza’s third major award came from Parkers, one of the longest running and most respected car review sites. Facing stiff competition from the Ford Fiesta and the Volkswagen Up, the Ibiza won their award for Best First Car.
November: Leon is best used car
As the majority of us own a second-hand vehicle, our last award category for SEAT is one of the most significant. In November, What Car once again picked a SEAT for a major award. This time, it was the Leon, their pick for the Best Used Car of 2017:
It takes a special car to stand out in the hugely crowded used family car market. But the Leon does so while also offering the sort of value for money that causes you to do a double take.
That was 2017…can they keep going?
Certainly, SEAT have built up some real momentum over the last couple of years. However, it’s an uncertain world, and only time will tell how well the Spanish (will they soon be Catalan?) giants will face the challenges of the next twelve months.