Hot Skoda Karoq vRS SUV to get electric boost

High performance Skoda Karoq vRS to get form of electrification, with either plug-in or mild hybrid set-up

Skoda is lining up a high-performance version of its latest small SUV, the Karoq – and it could use an electrified powertrain to give it the potential to match SEAT’s forthcoming Ateca Cupra.

The Karoq is an indirect, slightly larger replacement for the Yeti – a car that was never offered as a vRS. But speaking at the recent Frankfurt Motor Show, the Czech brand’s research and development boss Christian Strube revealed that he is already pushing for a high-performance variant of the new arrival, previewed in our exclusive images.

Best hybrid SUVs on sale

When asked if there was potential for a Karoq vRS, he replied: “Yes, of course. I’m fighting for it. Just as I was fighting for the Kodiaq vRS. Sometimes I’m successful, and sometimes I’m not. But yes, we are in discussions about it. It would fit absolutely perfectly to this car, I believe. Even more than Kodiaq, I would say, because it’s compact, it’s agile. It would be perfect.”

SEAT’s Ateca Cupra is expected to use a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine with around 300bhp. But Strube suggested that Skoda could make the hot Karoq one of its first electrified models – part of the company’s push to have some form of electrification in a quarter of the vehicles it sells by 2025.

“Next year we will offer our Sportline in the Karoq, which already goes in this [performance] direction,” Strube said. “So if we were to discuss a vRS version, it would also be interesting to discuss whether it is a pure petrol or it is something else.” It’s not clear if an electrified Karoq vRS would feature plug-in hybrid systems – as seen in VW’s Golf GTE and Passat GTE – or a 48-volt ‘mild hybrid’ set-up that could use a smaller battery simply as a performance aid. 

But electric assistance would allow Skoda to fit the car with a more modest petrol engine – perhaps with no more than 200bhp – and then boost its performance when required. It’s believed that prototypes of the vehicle are being evaluated. While Strube declined to confirm that he has already driven a Karoq vRS, he stated: “The engineers of Skoda are really creative, really car guys. 

“And of course, they are often building cars that I can drive. If you want to convince somebody, you must always do it with hardware.”

Are you interested in driving a hot SUV or crossover? Let us know in the comments below.

Recommended

Skoda Karoq review
Skoda Karoq

Skoda Karoq review

The Skoda Karoq condenses the appeal of the seven-seat Kodiaq into a smaller crossover package
18 Sep 2020

Most Popular

Energy firms want the right to switch off electric cars charging at home
Electric cars

Energy firms want the right to switch off electric cars charging at home

New powers being sought to allow energy providers to turn off high-drain devices to manage electricity network
18 Sep 2020
Audi A3 vs Mercedes A-Class
Car group tests

Audi A3 vs Mercedes A-Class

The Audi A3 and Mercedes A-Class are strong competitors in the premium hatchback market - we find out which is best
19 Sep 2020
New Rolls-Royce Ghost 2020 review
Rolls-Royce Ghost

New Rolls-Royce Ghost 2020 review

The all-new luxury Rolls-Royce Ghost saloon brings new levels of refinement
18 Sep 2020