Seven-seater and coupe-4x4 to lead Skoda SUV assault
New 7-seat model and a more mainstream Yeti will spearhead Skoda's further expansion into the SUV market
Skoda has shed more light on its future plans to make it big in the SUV and crossover sectors, giving Auto Express a sneak peek at the cars that will help it grow sales by 50% to 1.5 million in the next five years.
All of the new models are based on the versatile Volkswagen Group MQB platform, but while the others are earmarked for Europe, it's possible that the coupe SUV may only be sold in China.
First to arrive will be the seven seater, which we’ll see next year and will probably be on sale in the UK in 2017. At 4.7m it’s long, with Skoda promising it’s usual blend of space and value – meaning a likely start price of just under £30,000. At this stage seats six and seven are said to be optional, but they could be standard fit for the UK.
The long length of the rear door gives a big clue to the amount of space inside, with Skoda saying that there’s enough space for adults in the rearmost row. A middle row that can slide back and forward by 18cm will help balance the space inside.
The look of the new SUV follows the sleek look of the new Superb with Skoda designer Jozef Kaban, concentrating on some of the finer design details of the car.
There’s a clamshell bonnet, set to become a Skoda SUV feature, with a sharp crease running around the whole car from the front lights all the way around to the boot. Another crease sits lower down in the doors, above the sills, which can be had in contrasting dark colours, while the squared-off wheel arches will become another Skoda SUV design feature.
Beautifully detailed, slim LED headlights, similar to those on the new Superb, merge into the now-familiar Skoda grille with its upright slats, while the smaller driving lights that are normally below bumper level have been lifted up just underneath the main headlights in a new four light feature, set to become another Skoda design cue.
The coupé shares its wheelbase with the seven-seater, but with a long, sloping roofline that flows into a shallow rear window and high-set rear end. Both cars rear ends’ feature fewer lines than the Yeti, while the coupé shows its exhausts in a rear diffuser and gets chrome tips on its front grille slats. The coupé also features slimmer rear lights, although both cars feature a development of Skoda’s C-shaped rear light signature.
There’s also a slightly deeper air intake below the front bumper in the coupé, another air intake below the front grille and a vent on the side just behind the front wheel arch.
Skoda says that it’s ‘around 80% likely’ that the coupé would be built for China and ‘around 30% likely’ that it’ll come to Europe. However, much will depend on the reaction to its seven-seat sister car – if that turns out to be a success, then it’s more likely to get the go-ahead in Europe.
Both SUV’s MQB platform is said to be plug-in hybrid ready, although that could depend on price – top end versions are likely to push the price close to £50,000 before the expensive plug-in tech is added, and that could be too much for a Skoda.
Front- and four-wheel drive versions will be offered, but there’ll be no extra off-roading hardware – Skoda says that the large SUV will need to go no further off-road than a Yeti.
Instead it’ll concentrate on offering different looks, with Scout trim likely to offer a beefier style with extra body cladding, while Sportline will be a more refined and sporty look. Engine and gearbox options will follow the rest of the VW family with smaller capacity turbo petrol and diesel options, plus manual and DSG automatic gearboxes.
Skoda is still deciding on the right name for its large SUVs, but it did confirm that Snowman was definitely not in the running.
At the other end of Skoda’s SUV line-up could be a small Juke-rivalling model, again based on the MQB platform. Although Auto Express was only shown sketches of this potential model, it follows the style of both the new large SUVs and the new Yeti with sharp creases along the side of the bodywork and nicely detailed Superb-style headlights.
While the large five-seat SUV is said to be 80% likely to be built, the future for the smallest Skoda SUV depends on whether the global SUV market continues to grow.
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