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New Skoda Vision 7S previews future large electric SUV

The production version of the new Skoda Vision 7S will sit at the top of the brand's planned four-strong EV line-up

Skoda has enjoyed great success with its first bespoke EV, the Enyaq - and now the Czech manufacturer is showing its vision for an even bigger zero-emissions seven-seater, as well as revealing a fresh brand identity.

Called Skoda Vision 7S, the new creation previews an electric SUV that will be part of Skoda’s ambitious plan to launch three further EVs by 2026. It’s larger than the Enyaq, and is being presented in a ‘six-plus-one’ seating layout, with three rows of two and a baby seat mounted on top of a central ‘spine’ that runs down the centre of the cabin.

The most obvious evidence of Skoda’s new brand identity comes at the front end, where the company’s design team, led by Oliver Stefani, has introduced a solid plastic element that replaces the conventional grille required for combustion-engined cars. Skoda is calling the feature the ‘Tech Deck” because it is used to house - and hide - the myriad sensors needed for driving assist systems. It's flanked by slim LED running lights, and encircled by a further strip that houses the Vision 7S's main headlight units.

The bonnet has an inverted power dome - a play, in a way, on the fact that there’s no conventional engine beneath it - and its leading edge features Skoda’s new corporate identity, with the brand's name spelt out in lettering and a flat logo instead of the traditional 3D-chrome badge.

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The overall effect is a markedly more sophisticated look than any previous Skoda - and this is backed up by a slimline treatment on the tail-lights that has more than a hint of the latest Range Rover. Along the flanks, there’s further use of Skoda’s new lettering font on the C-pillars and, amid restrained surfacing, pronounced sills that sit proud of the bottoms of the doors; Skoda’s design team is already suggesting that these could be ‘utility bars’, potentially housing plug sockets to power external devices.

Inside, there’s a 14.6-inch touchscreen mounted in the centre of the dash, and the front-row seats can rotate slightly inboard to allow their occupants to watch content more easily. The steering wheel has a new two-spoke design that seems likely to make production, and behind it sits an 8.8-inch digital instrument panel. The whole cabin makes extensive use of recycled and sustainable materials, with seat fabric made from 100-per cent recycled polyester. In keeping with the removal of the chrome badge at the front, the cabin also features matt paint in all areas where there would currently be shiny plastic.

Other neat interior features include backpacks integrated into the seat backs, and extensive use of magnets to help hold everything from smartphones to metal water bottles securely in place. The current seat layout is unlikely to be retained for production, though; expect a third seat in the middle row to make the car a proper seven-seater.

The concept car has an 89kWh battery, delivering a predicted WLTP range of more than 370 miles. Skoda’s tech boss Johannes Neft says the Vision 7S “demonstrates the possibilities of the Modular Electrification toolkit” and officials have already revealed that the vehicle is based on the same MEB architecture as everything from the Enyaq to the Cupra Born. Assuming it uses the same platform in production form, it would be the largest MEB vehicle by some way - with a longer wheelbase helping to facilitate that larger battery capacity - and probably the last major model to use the set-up, given the timeframes involved and the VW Group’s commitment to a new set of EV components, called SSP, by the second half of this decade.

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Skoda says the concept can recharge at rates of up to 200kW - again, in line with current MEB vehicles and slightly behind what’s offered by 800V rivals from Hyundai and Kia. But all of the VW Group brands are working to increase the amount of time that their EVs can spend running at the maximum charge rate. This would help to reduce recharge times as much as faster peak speeds that can only be achieved for shorter periods, it is argued.

The production version of the Vision 7S will sit at the top of what’s likely to be a four-strong EV line-up by 2026. Beneath it will be a facelifted Enyaq, featuring the new front-end styling, as well as a baby crossover that was initially targetted to cost from around £17,000. There’s no word yet on the fourth model, but it’s likely to slot in between the smallest EV and the Enyaq - and it seems inevitable that it will feature an SUV body style.

At the same time, though, Skoda isn’t forgetting its combustion-engined models just yet. The company has announced that new generations of the Superb and Kodiaq will arrive next year, and a facelifted Octavia - likely to be the last conventionally powered vehicle to carry Skoda’s iconic nameplate - is planned for 2024.

Now read our list of the best electric SUVs on sale right now...

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Editor-at-large

John started journalism reporting on motorsport – specifically rallying, which he had followed avidly since he was a boy. After a stint as editor of weekly motorsport bible Autosport, he moved across to testing road cars. He’s now been reviewing cars and writing news stories about them for almost 20 years.

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