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.

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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.

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