2016 Skoda VisionS
A few years back, Skoda dropped the 2014 VisionC design study, which was said to represent a new design language for the brand’s car lineup. Finally, Skoda had a more interesting design to look at, without falling victim to being overpowered by the design of similar Volkswagen models. Now that a few years have passed, Skoda is planning another show car dubbed the VisionS that is slated to debut at the 2016 Geneva Auto Show.
Like the VisionC, the VisionS is designed to showcase and represent Skoda’s new design philosophy, but this time, it is focused on the SUV segment. So far, Skoda has given us a preview of the VisionS with the release of the renderings you see here. Right away, you can tell that the VisionS will be significantly larger than the Skoda Yeti and should be more visually appealing.
Since we have these newly released renderings, let’s take a journey down the page and take a deeper look at what we can expect from Skoda at the Geneva Auto Show.
Updated 02/17/2016: Skoda dropped the official details on the new VisionS concept car with just a few days before its official debut at the 2016 Geneva Auto Show.
Continue reading to learn more about the Skoda VisionS.
Looking at official preview photos is never as good as seeing it in the metal. Things like size and weight are all subject to visual perception, which leaves a little mystery leading up to a car’s official debut. In this case, Skoda has already released the exterior dimensions of the VisionS, so we actually have a better understanding of its actual size long before we get to see it in the metal. Skoda claims the VisionS is 185 inches long, 75 inches wide, and just over 66 inches tall. To give you an idea of its size, those dimensions make it about 2.5-inches shorter in length and width and equal in height with the 2016 Chevy Equinox.
Skoda claims the VisionS is 185 inches long, 75 inches wide, and just over 66 inches tall.
Up front, you can see the standard, Skoda-style grille. That air dam down below is similar to what we saw on the VisionC and 2014 Skoda CitiJet Design Concept, with that dominate horizontal splitter right in the middle. The headlights are thin, sleek, and recessed while the fog lights are slotted in below the headlights. If that hood looks familiar, it should – it’s the same design that we saw on the VisionC, albeit toned down on the sides to sit level with the flat-topped fenders.
To the sides, the doors are blended in well and a sharp upper body line runs from the headlights to the taillights – just like on the VisionC. If you look closely, you can see a small touch panel on each door, a design that will eventually replace door handles on most cars. As expected, the lower body lines from the VisionC are also seen down between the wheels. As we move closer to the rear, the roofline is subject to a steep grade, probably cutting down headroom for rear passengers dramatically. The roof actually hangs over the rear hatch a few inches, providing a spoiler-type look from behind. The taillights are identical to those on the VisionC, but as you can see Skoda took the time to add reverse lights below them to give them a different look. A reflector runs along the middle portion of the rear bumper as well, with a large black insert slotted just below it, surrounding the exhaust outlets.
On the inside, the Skoda VisionS shows off some pretty futuristic styling. First, each passenger has their own touch screen display. For rear passengers, there is a display in each headrest. Up front, the passenger display runs the width of the dash between the center stack and the passenger door. Each door pocket is a special phone dock that offers inductive charging. According to Skoda, each display can link with, and be controlled by each passenger’s onboard display. Finally, the driver has a large, tablet-looking display mounted in the center console as well as a large digital display in place of a traditional instrument cluster. Clearly, it is only a matter of time before digital displays take over just about every make and model out there. Skoda’s plans for the future include the introduction of freely programmable multifunction displays in production vehicles, as well as the introduction of voice and gesture commands – similar to what is seen on the BMW 7-Series, for instance.
Outside of the technology, the material appointments used on the interior are also well worth writing home about. Light gray, fine Nappa leather is wrapped around most of the interior. On the seats, it is contrasted with dark blue patterns made of Ultrasuede. Ultrasuede can also be found at the front of the seat cushion as well as on the headrests. The carpet on the floor matches the Ultrasuede accenting on the seats. That logo on the steering wheel, the strips on the door trim panels and parts of the center console are crafted from hand-cut Czech crystal glass. Ambient lighting is available in one of ten different colors to further accent the interior.
All told, that flat bottom steering wheel, all the digital displays and the refined, yet functional design of the center console all work together very well. Looking at the seats, it almost looks like those funky shaped headrests are designed to slide downward, under the shoulders. It isn’t likely, but it does seem like it would be comfortable. Either way, this interior looks just about production ready. On future production models, I wouldn’t expect to see such an ambitious design (like we see with the seats) but this interior would certainly be welcomed by the masses.
The VisionS rides on an 8.37-foot wheelbase and is powered by a hybrid drivetrain. A 1.4-liter, TSI, four-cylinder puts out 156 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. A 40 kW (53 horsepower) and 162 pound-foot electric motor is incorporated into the six-speed DSG transmission, providing a maximum of 209 horsepower and 346 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels. Skoda didn’t stop there, though. The rear axle is has an electric motor that puts out 85 kW (113 horsepower) and 199 pound-feet of torque, bring total power output to 322 horsepower and 545 pound-feet of torque overall.
Due to the design and independent nature of the rear motor, the front and rear axles have no mechanical coupling — a feature Skoda is calling "smart four-wheel drive" — and is completely flexible. Different driving modes can be selected that include all-electric drive, charging mode, and of course, all wheel drive mode. A 12.4 kWh battery is positioned right in front of the rear axle. Skoda claims the VisionS can achieve 50 km (31 miles) in all electric mode, and can travel more than 620 miles using both gasoline and electric drive systems. The sprint to 62 mph can be completed in 7.4 seconds on the way to a top speed of 124 mph. Not to bad for a concept.
I have to be honest here. I like the fact that Skoda is moving into a more interesting design language, but I’m really not a fan of that sloping roof line. First of all, considering this thing as three rows of seating, that back row is going to be cramped for headroom. Plus, that sloping roof reminds me too much of recent Kia SUVs. I get that it makes SUVs a little more aerodynamic and sporty, but I’m happy to sacrifice one mpg and the extra sporty look to make room for better headroom in the rear. I’ll be watching for the VisionS to make its debut at Geneva.