A sporty path to the future for Skoda

Unveiled at the Paris Motor Show, the Skoda Vision RS shows the path the Czech manufacturer is likely to take for the next generation of its cars. This is a hatchback, sized like a Volkswagen Golf, but sharpened up to the level of a hot-hatch. The Vision RS, a concept car, rolled under the Paris Motor Show lights with a 1.5-liter turbocharged gas engine producing 148 horsepower but assisted with an additional electric motor good for 100 horsepower. As a hybrid, the Vision RS demonstrates Volkswagen’s uncanny ability to craft modern compact cars and transform them into hot hatchbacks - a type of a car the company is definitely versed in (just remember the Golf GTI, the Leon Cupra, the Audi S3, and the Octavia, among others).

  • 2018 Skoda Vision RS
  • Year:
  • Make:
  • Engine:
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    241 (Est.)
  • Displacement:
    1.5 L
  • 0-60 time:
    7.1 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    130 mph (Est.)
  • car segment:
  • car fuel:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:


2018 Skoda Vision RS
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Although it's about the same size as a Golf, the Vision RS actually doesn’t share Volkswagen’s iconic MQB platform.

Instead, the car will likely ride on the MQB A0 platform. Shared with other Volkswagen city cars, the platform does allow for the use of a quite impressive tech. Just take a look at the new Audi A1. It is a masterpiece based around the same platform. Considering the upscale character of the Vision RS, which will probably transform into a Rapid, I believe Skoda will surprise us with plenty of high-end tech.

As far as the concept car goes, Skoda drizzled it with performance touches usually associated with performance compact cars. Not just by chance, mind you. The Vision RS represents a bold future plan that showcases what every new Skoda of the future will look like and what kind of a character they will have.

2018 Skoda Vision RS
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I am quite confident that the massive and dominating grille at the front will become one of Skoda's trademark design cues.

Designed for the Rapid, the grille fits the Octavia and the brand’s SUVs as well. We only have to wait for the implementation. Yet, I find the front lights most intriguing. Yes, they are LED units, but that is not why I find them cool.

Their shape is far more defined and more conventional than on any Skoda to date. The brand has tried to “reinvent the wheel” with their lights a few times before. Now, the company is opting for a classic aggressive style to smartly complement the front with large intakes in the bumpers and pronounced creases on the bonnet. I must say, it looks good. The only thing I am really worried about is the width of a car. As it is based on the MQB A0 platform, it will inherit a lot of the structure of small cars. Even the Rapid isn’t wide enough to be considered a proper hatchback.

2018 Skoda Vision RS
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It seems, however, that Skoda found a solution and made the Vision RS wider. And I don't mean only in the hips, but overall.

The Skoda Vision RS’ dimensions are as follows: “4,356 millimeters long and 1,810 millimeters wide, with a height of just 1,431 millimeters and a wheelbase of 2,650 millimeters.”

This is wider than the Golf, and I like that a lot.

After all, the Rapid is a car for developing markets - cheap, long, and narrow. If Skoda wants to do something cool with the Vision RS, it simply cannot be associated with these three words. At all.

The back of the car actually looks striking, modern, and quite sophisticated. With black surfaces, a nice 3D effect on the rear lights, large spoiler, and a prominent diffuser, the Vision RS feels quite composed and exciting. Add to this massive wheels, side skirts, and a massive beltline, and the Vision RS easily elevates the Skoda paradigm to a whole new level.


2018 Skoda Vision RS
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As this is a concept car, Skoda actually did not grant us a look at the inside. Nevertheless, sketches that were revealed to showcase some cool touches.

An obviously sporty, dynamic character dominates the cabin that is garnished with screens. Not unlike modern Audis, the Skoda Vision RS features a massive central display. Underneath and basically located at the start of the central tunnel under the dash, one can find another display. This one, I presume, is used for climate control and that sort of a thing. Then, there’s one behind the steering wheel - a three-spoke, sporty unit with paddles, and a flat bottom. I quite like it, actually. If I am correct, this conceptual interior actually features four seats (two in the front and two in the back), with the central tunnel spanning through the whole car. It would be quite a cool layout for sure, but no one can actually expect it to appear in the production car. It is far from convenient. Yet, some of the design cues introduced here will most certainly appear on the production version of the new Rapid.


2018 Skoda Vision RS
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The seemingly bottomless Volkswagen Group parts bin gave birth to a rather curious propulsion setup for the new Skoda Vision RS.

The car uses a 1.5-liter, TSI engine good for 148 horsepower. It is a common engine used for many modern Volkswagen cars. What is not common is the additional 100 horsepower from an electric motor. We have heard about this 243 horsepower hybrid system before as Skoda actually developed it for the new Superb hybrid. However, I find it far cooler in this Vision RS.

As a plug-in hybrid, the batteries can actually be topped up at home. If you recharge them and set on driving only using electric power, you will be able to cover 40 miles. Not exactly plentiful, but definitely better than nothing. After that, the ICE can kick in. If you, however, don’t find EV driving that alluring, go for the full boost right from the start. This spirited Skoda hot-hatch will surge to 62 mph in 7.1 seconds. Not bad at all.


2018 Skoda Vision RS
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Crafted in an effort to start a sort of a revolution and send the whole Skoda brand upmarket, the Vision RS touches all the points the Europeans are eager to explore.

It is basically a nice-looking hot-hatch with a hybrid propulsion system that will not be as expensive as the Golf GTI or even the Seat Leon Cupra hot-hatch. Unveiled at the Paris Motor Show, the car also showcases the next generation of the Skoda compact hatchback called the Rapid. I am not sure if it will retain that name, but it all points that the Vision RS will actually morph into a Rapid successor. Now upscaled and filled with new tech.

  • Leave it
    • It will not be as good looking in the production form
    • The Golf exists and it is a proper hatch
    • It will lack the sophistication of the MQB platform based cars

Further Reading

2019 Skoda Kodiaq RS
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Read our full speculative review on the 2019 Skoda Kodiaq RS.

The compact study, the ŠKODA VISION RS, demonstrates how ŠKODA envisages its sporty RS models in future. Entirely in keeping with ŠKODA’s 117-year motorsport history, these RS models will be even more emotive and sporty, but also more sustainable thanks to the use of vegan materials and electrified drive systems. What’s more: the ŠKODA VISION RS also offers a look ahead at a future ŠKODA model in the popular compact car segment.

The initials, which were used for the first time for the 180 RS and 200 RS rally cars in 1974, have adorned the sporty versions of various ŠKODA model ranges since 2000. These include the OCTAVIA RS, FABIA RS and the KODIAQ RS, which will be presented at this year’s Paris Motor Show. The ŠKODA VISION RS shows how RS models from the Czech car manufacturer could look in future – in every detail, it blends great sportiness with sustainability and functionality in a compact car. Dynamic lines and highlights made of carbon fibre, a light and strong high-tech material from the world of motorsport, lift the RS DNA to an even sportier level.

The electrified drive system gives the ŠKODA VISION RS a high level of driving dynamics combined with efficiency. Its plug-in hybrid drive combines a 1.5-litre petrol engine delivering 110 kW (150 PS) with a 75-kW electric motor and has a total power output of 180 kW (245 PS). CO2 emissions of just 33 g/km highlight the sustainability of the drive system. The ŠKODA VISION RS can travel up to 70 km purely electrically and therefore without producing any emissions.

Besides all of the sportiness and emotiveness, the five-door concept study also impresses with functionality and a spacious interior, just like all ŠKODA models. At 4,356 mm long, it offers space for 4 passengers and has a boot capacity of 430 l. Innovative connectivity solutions and the Amazon Alexa ŠKODA Connect Skill also equip the ŠKODA VISION RS for the digital everyday life of the future.

With the VISION RS, ŠKODA is taking another stride into the future by presenting an electrified drivetrain in a car model bearing the RS initials. The concept study’s plug-in hybrid drive with a power output of 180 kW (245 PS) enables a dynamic driving performance. A range of up to 70 km is possible with purely electric drive. The CO2 emissions of just 33 g/km emphasise the car’s outstanding efficiency for an RS model.

The drive unit of the ŠKODA VISION RS is a combination of a petrol engine and electric motor. The 1.5‑litre TSI engine produces 110 kW (150 PS); the electric motor complements this with a power output of 75 kW (102 PS). The total power output is 180 kW (245 PS).

The plug-in hybrid drive for the ŠKODA VISION RS transfers its power through a six-speed DSG. The design study can accelerate from a standing start to 100 km/h in 7.1 seconds, and its top speed is 210 km/h. The ŠKODA VISION RS completes a short burst from 80 to 120 km/h in 8.9 seconds. In total, the compact sportster emits only 33 g of CO2 per km.

A purely electric range of up to 70 km
The energy for the electric motor is supplied by a lithium-ion battery with a total capacity of 13 kWh, of which 9.9 kWh can be used. Using a cable, the battery can be charged in 2.5 hours at a charging station at home or in a household power socket – which is particularly eco-friendly if the electricity is produced from renewable sources. Alternatively, the battery can also be charged while driving using energy recovery.

The driver can choose from three driving modes: Normal, EV or Sport. The Normal mode is used for the best combination of petrol drive and electric engine. The EV mode is used for purely electric drive. The Sport mode is used for a speedy ride, on a circuit for example, where maximum power is needed. If the driver chooses purely electric drive (EV mode), they can travel up to 70 km on a fully charged battery without producing any emissions.

The exterior of the ŠKODA VISION RS combines powerful and sporty elements, carbon-fibre components as well as exceptional aerodynamics with harmonious lines. This offers a preview of the design language of ŠKODA’s future sporty models. The dynamic impression continues in the interior with a minimalist and precise design. With a large central display, sports seats, bold colourful touches as well as carbon-fibre and crystal-glass details, the design language of the ŠKODA VISION RS has evolved from that of the ŠKODA VISION X in every detail.

From every angle, the ŠKODA VISION RS demonstrates its unique character and a completely new form of RS DNA. The sculptural and extremely precisely shaped bonnet sports a ŠKODA logo made of illuminated crystal glass. The high-gloss black carbon-fibre slats of the radiator grille are also illuminated and display a distinctive shape that is new for the RS family. Carbon fibre is also used for the side air outlets, which improve the aerodynamics, as well as for the air inlet grille and front spoiler. The air inlet and spoiler mirror the shape of the radiator grille. In combination with the clean-cut, narrow daytime running lights, the headlights consisting of four glass stones appear as though they are focussing on the street and, together with the fog lights, they give the car a sporty character.

Bold wings and the ŠKODA-typical dynamic shoulder line form a distinctive side view. Frameless, tinted side windows make the ŠKODA VISION RS appear lower and more elongated. Recessed door handles ensure a flowing and clear body structure, and small Czech flags on the carbon-fibre side sills are a reference to Czechoslovakia’s foundation 100 years ago.

The aerodynamically improved, carbon-fibre wing mirrors with crystal-glass indicators are inspired by motorsport. The lightweight, 20-inch alloy wheels, which have been optimised to reduce drag and have a central ŠKODA logo made of glass, also sport carbon-fibre detailing. At the rear, the diffuser – which lacks visible tail pipes for the exhaust system – and the roof spoiler with an integrated third brake light immediately catch the eye. Just like the rear air outlets, both are made of carbon fibre and improve the car’s aerodynamics. The upper tail lights made of bohemian crystal glass resemble an ‘L’ laid on its side and together with the lower tail lights form a ŠKODA-typical ‘C’ at night. The rear of the car also bears illuminated ŠKODA lettering.

Crystal glass and light effects for the interior

With the VISION RS, ŠKODA is presenting a new interior design that has developed elements from the ŠKODA VISION X concept study shown at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show into a new design language. The generously elongated instrument panel continues the symmetrical contours of the ŠKODA radiator grille at its centre. In addition to a lot of carbon fibre, the interior is dominated by decorative trims made of crystal glass, which are uniquely illuminated and animated in interplay with the infotainment system’s touchscreen display. The centre console in a space-frame design, which is made entirely of carbon fibre, as well as additional carbon-fibre elements emphasise just how close the RS models are to the world of motorsport. A minimalistic gearstick is integrated into the centre console and uses shift by wire to operate the DSG.

Special door pull straps are reminiscent of racing cars; elastic bands secure the contents of the storage compartments – a typical Simply Clever feature. The door trims partially consist of carbon-fibre inserts. The backrests of the contoured sport seats appear to float.

Digitalisation and connectivity are two important pillars of ŠKODA’s 2025 Strategy. The ŠKODA VISION RS marks the next step towards the digital future, where drivers and vehicles will always be online and will be communicating with each other via the Internet. The Amazon Alexa Voice Service is now also incorporated into the world of ŠKODA Connect.

The instrument panel’s large central monitor is a prominent element of the interior. It enables the operation of various vehicle functions, such as the choice of three driving modes, as well as the comprehensive range of infotainment and connectivity solutions. Just like in the ŠKODA VISION X, the high-resolution, colour touchscreen can be moved upwards at the push of a button to reveal a charging and docking station for a smartphone, which establishes a mobile Internet connection. This means the ŠKODA VISION RS is always online and enables access to the ŠKODA Connect mobile online services. These are divided into Infotainment Online, Care Connect and Emergency Call. Infotainment Online includes online traffic information. Care Connect services also include Proactive Service, which establishes connections to customer care or a garage when required. Emergency Call can be made manually; however, it will automatically call for assistance when the airbags or belt tensioners have been activated.

Integration of the Amazon Alexa Voice Service
Another step towards the digital future is the integration of the Amazon Alexa Voice Service into ŠKODA Connect. Using an Amazon Echo speaker or the Alexa app for smartphones, a ŠKODA driver can conveniently call up vehicle data at home or whilst travelling, by simply downloading the Alexa ŠKODA Connect Skill and connecting it to their ŠKODA Connect user account. Simply address Alexa and she will answer your question letting you know, for example, how much petrol is left in the tank, whether the car’s windows and doors are closed or when the next service appointment is. Following a successful pilot phase in Germany and the United Kingdom, ŠKODA owners all over the world will soon be able to use the new service in English and German. These will now be followed by a third language – French; Spanish will be offered soon as well.

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