Skoda Vi­sion IN

Evo India - - IGNITION -

Shown as a con­cept Mid 2021 launch 92-95% lo­cal­i­sa­tion Notch­back will fol­low

ONE BIL­LION EUROS AND NEARLY three years in the mak­ing, this is the first fruit of the VW Group’s In­dia 2.0 plan. The Skoda Vi­sion IN con­cept pre­views the SUV that will hit the show­rooms early next year and with a head­line lo­cal­i­sa­tion of 92-95 per cent to hit the ex­tremely im­por­tant price tar­gets.

Skoda is now in the driver’s seat with var­i­ous In­dian op­er­a­tions, in­clud­ing the two man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ties amal­ga­mated un­der Skoda Auto Volk­swa­gen In­dia (SAVWIPL) led by Gur­pratap Boparai. It is un­der his di­rec­tion that the teams in In­dia and the Czech Repub­lic have gone about engi­neer­ing the In­dia-spe­cific MQBAO-IN plat­form – which he stresses has noth­ing to do with cost cut­ting and more to do with meet­ing lo­cal­i­sa­tion tar­gets. Boparai says, “We may have changed the de­sign of cer­tain parts to ac­count for the grades of steel avail­able here,” but he clar­i­fies that crash safety and driv­ing dy­nam­ics will not suf­fer over the Euro­pean SUVs on the MQB-A0 plat­form adding that, “Tor­sional stiff­ness of the plat­form will re­main the same.”

On to the specifics of the Vi­sion IN, it is 4256mm long and runs on a wheel­base of 2671mm – that makes it slightly smaller than the Sel­tos which is 4315mm long, though the Kia has a smaller wheel­base of 2610mm. No width di­men­sions were given and that’s the one area the Vi­sion IN does seem no­tice­ably smaller than the cur­rent crop of mid-size SUVs.

The de­sign lan­guage is rem­i­nis­cent of the Ko­diaq, in­clud­ing the typ­i­cal but­ter­fly grille which now has ver­ti­cal slats. On the con­cept, the grille is fes­tooned with LED light­ing el­e­ments that lend it a strik­ing vis­age but which is highly un­likely to make it to pro­duc­tion. On the show car even the Skoda roundel is il­lu­mi­nated as is the dash or­na­ment. From the side, the straight roof line with panoramic glass roof and buffed alu­minium roof rails con­veys a sporty ap­pear­ance at first glance – and it is sporti­ness that could dif­fer­en­ti­ate the Skoda from the more ma­ture VW sib­ling on the same plat­form. The L-shaped LED tail­lights are con­nected by an LED light bar, giv­ing off a rugged, bor­der­line blingy, over­all look.

The in­te­ri­ors meld tra­di­tional In­dian themes with clas­si­cal Czech crys­tal de­sign. It’s ev­i­dent in the dec­o­ra­tive trim on the dash­board, com­bined with the crys­tal el­e­ments and door pan­els, as well as the crys­tal but­ton on the dash­board. The lat­ter dou­bles up as the dig­i­tal as­sis­tant and the in­ter­face re­flects on the free-stand­ing 12.3-inch in­fo­tain­ment screen. Else­where, there is lib­eral use of ve­gan (yes, ve­gan!) as well as re­cy­cled ma­te­ri­als like Oak leather and Rhubarb leather. The floor mats are made of Pi­na­tex, a leather­like fab­ric made from waste pineap­ple leaves, while the roof lin­ing is made from re­cy­cled plas­tic fi­bres. Though the in­te­ri­ors are far away from pro­duc­tion, the over­all ar­chi­tec­ture with the float­ing screen may re­main.

On the pow­er­train front the base en­gine will be the 1.0-litre turbo-charged petrol while there will also be a 1.5-litre turbo-petrol de­vel­op­ing 148bhp and 250Nm. The lat­ter gives the Vi­sion IN a claimed 0-100kmph time of 8.7 sec­onds and a top speed of 195kmph. It will be mated to a 7-speed DSG though the 1-litre en­gine will not have a DSG. No diesels are planned for the Vi­sion IN SUV.

Work has al­ready com­menced on out­fit­ting the sprawl­ing fac­tory at Chakan out­side of Pune for the MQB-A0-IN plat­form. “We had to change ma­jor parts of the body shop and we are re­tool­ing so we can do both PQ [the cur­rent Polo, Vento and Rapid] as well as MQB be­cause there will be an over­lap,” says Boparai. The Vi­sion IN will hit the show­rooms in early 2021 and it is not just In­dia but ex­port mar­kets like Mex­ico (once a big mar­ket for the Vento where it was the sec­ond best-sell­ing car) that are be­ing tar­geted. And it has also been con­firmed that the next model on this plat­form, ex­pected a year later, will be a notch­back (in the mould of the orig­i­nal Skoda Oc­tavia) to take on the Honda City / Hyundai Verna.

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