After a series of teasers, Skoda has taken the wraps off the Vision X SUV ahead of its public debut at the 2018 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 in Skoda’s SUV line; beneath the India-bound Karoq and the Kodiaq, which is already on sale.
The Geneva concept’s innovative powertrain is designed to bring focus to the way increasingly tightening regulations on CO2 emissions in the European Union are set.
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 127hp and 249Nm of torque. The engine is supported by two electric motors: a belt-driven starter-generator that also powers the front axle, with a second 26.6hp electric motor on the rear axle.
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 and a claimed CO2 output of 89g/km.
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 – which 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. “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."
Skoda Vision X design
While officially a design study for an 'urban' compact crossover, the exterior of the Vision X gives heavy hints at what the production version of Skoda’s upcoming compact crossover will look like. The front of the car – the grille, in particular, (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 bootlid of the concept doesn’t feature a Skoda logo; it has the full 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; while it sits between the widths of the 1,780mm Arona and 1,819 T-Roc, at 1,800mm wide. The Vision X also has a substantially longer wheelbase of 2,645mm, as compared to the T-Roc's 2,590mm and the Arona's 2,566mm.
The interior of the Vision X features elements likely to be adopted by Skoda's future production models. The wide dashboard contains a large, centrally-located touchscreen, sitting above a small ‘wing’, which is designed to rest 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 long boards (and a drone) in the boot – Skoda’s concept of a ‘last-mile mobility’ solution to aid urban commuters.
You can expect Skoda to unveil a production version of the Vision X based on this concept, later this year.