The new model is described by as a sister car to the new Rapid Spaceback estate that Skoda will launch in 2019. It is understood it will be pushed firmly as a crossover rather than an SUV, but it will likely follow the Alaskan-inspired naming convention of the Karoq and Kodiaq, and will be styled to ensure it looks part of Skoda's growing SUV family.
The new model, which will be built on the same VW Group MQB A0 platform as the similar-sized Seat Arona and Volkswagen T-Roc, is understood to be a more car-based crossover than Skoda's current two SUVs, and is likely to ride lower and look like a cross between an estate and an SUV. It will share Skoda's recent design language, which features common features such as the front grille and side lines, modified for each model.
The new SUV is designed for sale worldwide, including Europe and China. Sources suggest it will only be available in front-wheel drive initially.
Skoda sources believe that SUV sales could comprise 40% of its total volume by 2025. The small SUV segment is believed likely to make up the greatest proportion of total SUV sales, and will be especially strong in Europe and China.
Powertrains have not been set yet, but it is likely that hybrid versions will be considered. The facelifted Superb, due in 2019, will feature a plug-in hybrid in the range capable of 70-80km of electric drive.
While the Arona and T-Roc are based on the Ibiza and Polo small cars respectively, Skoda's crossover is conceived as a partner model to an all-new Rapid Spaceback, which will also be built on the MQB A0 platform and launched in 2019. That cars will a stretched version of the versatile MQB A0 platform, and is likely to have a wheelbase of more than four metres to increase boot capacity. Skoda's crossover is likely to use the same platform, which would make the new crossover longer than both the Arona and T-Roc.
The new Spaceback is understood to be a completely fresh design, with a low profile and a more sculpted tailgate, along with a large panoramic tinted glass roof. The wheelbase has been extended to increase space and enhance the car's dynamic proportions.
Skoda is also planning to launch facelifted versions of the Fabia and Fabia estate next year. While the cars will be based on the current model, it will feature a refreshed design more in line with the brand's recent launches.