Skoda has signalled intent to reach beyond its existing range of practical mainstream offerings with the unveiling of a dramatic-looking concept that previews a new five-door liftback. Called the VisionC, the model is currently undergoing production development and is planned to join Skoda's line-up in 2016.
The VisionC concept has been revealed on the eve of the Geneva motor show, paving the way for the introduction of the new liftback, which has been conceived to fill the gap between the Octavia and Superb in Skoda’s existing range. The development is aimed at providing the Czech car maker, which produced 920,800 cars in 2013, with greater sales reach and exposure to new customers.
Sister car to a proposed second four-door coupé-style offering from parent company Volkswagen, the new Skoda is based on the same hot-formed, high-strength steel MQB (Modularen Querbau or modular transverse architecture) platform as the Octavia, alongside which it is planned to be built.
While the basic silhouette of the concept and five-door liftback layout is expected to be brought over into production with little or no change, the detailing and rear end will be further refined.
Many of the VisionC’s design cues, including its bold chromed grille, taut surfacing treatment, precisely structured flanks and triangular theme to its lamps will be reflected on other future Skoda models.
Official dimensions are yet to be revealed, although Skoda suggests the VisionC runs to around 4700mm in length and 1820mm in width, allowing it to offer what they describe as “more than sufficient space for four adults and their luggage”.
Among the perceived rivals for the new car is the Mercedes-Benz CLA. It is intended to provide Skoda with a timely image boost following the recent expansion of its line-up with more run-of-the-mill models. “We think it is time for a Skoda model that combines traditional practical qualities with a bold new design direction,” says Skoda boss, Winfried Vahland.
The VisionC is powered by the same engine used in the recently introduced Volkswagen Golf TGI and Audi A3 G-Tron. The 108bhp turbocharged 1.4-litre four-cylinder direct injection engine can run on either petrol or natural gas. Computer simulations suggest it would provide combined average consumption equivalent to 72mpg in natural gas mode, for average CO2 emissions of just 91g/km.
Suggestions are the production version of the new Skoda will eventually offer a wide range of transversely mounted four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines ranging in capacity from 1.4 to 2.0-litres. Alongside standard front-wheel drive, it will also offer four-wheel drive in combination with a range of more powerful engines, according to company officials.