Skoda Vision IN
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.