Skoda has released the first official teaser of its upcoming SUV, ahead of an official reveal at the Geneva motor show in March.
The image shows the car in silhouette, but gives a first look at a front end that is different from the current Karoq and Kodiaq SUVs, with LED headlights and daytime running lights.
The Skoda SUV, which is expected to go on sale towards the end of 2019, is expected to closely follow the design of the Vision X SUV concept that was displayed at last year's Geneva motor show.
Based on the same version of the Volkswagen Group MQB platform as the Seat Arona and Volkswagen T-Roc, the new production model will be the third and smallest in Skoda’s SUV line, below the Karoq and Kodiaq.
The CNG-hybrid system in the Vision X features a 1.5-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged engine that runs on CNG and drives the front axle with 131hp and 250Nm of torque. The engine is supported by two electric motors: a belt-driven starter-generator that also powers the front axle, with a second 27hp electric motor on the rear axle. That motor offers 70Nm of torque from standstill, although the use of a gearbox allows it to bring 99Nm to the road.
The system is front-wheel drive as standard and offers four-wheel drive when needed, using the rear electric motor for acceleration or traction. It is also capable of running for around 2km in electric-only rear-wheel drive. The powertrain has a 0-100kph time of 9.3sec, with a top speed of 200kph.
The CNG is housed in two tanks – one is placed under the rear seat and one behind the rear axle. The electric motor is powered by a 48V, 1.5kWh lithium-ion battery – recharged under braking – that Skoda says was chosen to balance extra weight and energy storage.
There is also a reserve petrol tank, largely to ensure the powertrain will start in very cold weather, which gives the concept a total range of close to 645km.
The system has already been tested in a converted Karoq. Martin Hrdlicka, Skoda’s head of powertrains, said the decision to use the CNG hybrid system on the Vision X was, in part, to showcase a way to effectively bring four-wheel drive to smaller vehicles. “Four-wheel-drive machines make up 10 percent of Skoda sales. There’s no 4WD in the entry-level A segment, so this can help us offer a car of that size with four-wheel drive.
“It would also suit a car the size of the Karoq. You lose a little boot space, but we put the bottles and the battery in the space provided for the spare wheel, so it’s only a small reduction.”
Skoda Vision X design
While officially a design study for a small 'urban' SUV, the exterior of the Vision X gives heavy hints at what the production version of Skoda’s upcoming SUV will look like. The front of the car – the grille (although on the Vision X it is made from a single piece of glass) and ‘power dome’ on the bonnet, in particular – echoes the Karoq and Kodiaq.
But there are some design features new to Skoda. The lights have been raised, with thin daytime running lights and indicators above the main headlights. At the rear, the Vision X features L-shaped tail-lights that line up with a similarly shaped bumper reflector.
Notably, the rear bootlid of the concept doesn’t feature a Skoda logo, but has the brand name spelt out instead.
While based on the same platform as the T-Roc and Arona, at 4,250mm the Vision X is longer than both (the T-Roc is 4,234mm long, the Arona 4,138mm). It is also lower than those cars at 1,500mm high, and being 1,800mm wide, it sits between the 1,780mm Arona and 1,819mm T-Roc. The Vision X also has a substantially longer wheelbase of 2,645mm, compared with 2,590mm in the T-Roc and 2,566mm in the Arona.
The interior features elements likely to be adopted by future production Skoda models. The wide dashboard contains a large, centrally located touchscreen that sits above a small ‘wing’ designed for resting a hand on while using the screen.
There are also some design concepts that are unlikely to be seen on production models, including a 2+2 seating layout and the inclusion of longboards (and a drone) in the boot – Skoda’s concept of a ‘last-mile mobility’ solution to aid urban commuters.
Skoda’s India-spec SUV, which is scheduled to launch in 2020, is likely to derive its styling from this new sub-Karoq SUV.
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