Skoda will use the Vision X SUV concept that it will display at the upcoming Geneva motor show to showcase a compressed natural gas (CNG) hybrid electric powertrain. The Vision X is a compact crossover that previews a similar-sized production model due to arrive next year. 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 in Skoda’s SUV line, underneath 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 1,000Nm 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 and a top speed of 201kph.
The CNG is housed in two tanks, one 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; this gives the concept a total range of around 644km.
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.
While officially a design study for an 'urban' compact crossover, the exterior of the Vision X will give heavy hints at what the production version of Skoda’s upcoming compact crossover will look like. The front of the car – in particular the grille (although on the Vision X it is made from a single piece of glass) and ‘power dome’ on the bonnet – 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 boot lid of the concept doesn’t feature a Skoda logo; instead, it has the brand name spelled-out.
While based on the same platform as the T-Roc and Arona, the Vision X is longer than both, at 4,250mm (the T-Roc is 4,234mm long, the Arona 4,138mm). It is also lower than those cars at 1,500mm high, while its width sits between the Arona's 1,780mm Arona and the 1819 T-Roc's 1,800mm. The Vision X also has a substantially longer wheelbase of 2,645mm, compared against 2,590mm in the T-Roc and 2,566mm in the Arona.
The interior of the Vision X 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 in the boot of long boards (and a drone) – Skoda’s concept of a ‘last-mile mobility’ solution to aid urban commuters.
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