Geneva concept shows look of future compact crossover - and features innovative CNG-hybrid powertrain

Skoda will use the Vision X SUV concept it is showing at the Geneva motor show to showcase a compressed natural gas (CNG) hybrid electric powertrain.

The Vision X is a compact crossover that previews a similar-sized production model due to arrive next year. Based on the same version of the Volkswagen Group MQB platform as the Seat Arona and Volkswagen T-Roc, the new production model will be the third in Skoda’s SUV line, underneath the Karoq and Kodiaq.

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The Geneva concept’s innovative powertrain is designed to bring focus to the way increasingly tightening regulations on CO2 emissions in the European Union are set. At the moment, CO2 emissions of a car are determined purely by its exhaust output; this doesn’t take into account ‘well to wheel’ calculations of CO2 created during the production of energy. 

The CNG hybrid system in the Vision X features a 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine that runs on CNG and drives the front axle with 129bhp and 184lb ft of torque. The engine is supported by two electric motors: a belt-driven starter-generator that also powers the front axle, with a second 27bhp electric motor on the rear axle. That motor offers 52lb ft of torque from standstill, although the use of a gearbox allows it to bring 737lb ft to the road.

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The system is front-wheel drive as standard and offers four-wheel drive when needed, using the rear electric motor for acceleration or traction. It is also capable of running for around 2km in electric-only rear-wheel drive. The powertrain has a 0-62mph time of 9.3sec, with a top speed of 125mph and a claimed CO2 output of 89g/km.

The CNG is housed in two tanks, one under the rear seat and one behind the rear axle. The electric motor is powered by a 48V, 1.5kWh lithium-ion battery – recharged under braking – that Skoda says was chosen to balance extra weight and energy storage.

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There is also a reserve petrol tank, largely to ensure the powertrain will start in very cold weather, that gives the concept a total range of around 400 miles.

The system has already been tested in a converted Karoq. Martin Hrdlicka, Skoda’s head of powertrains, said the decision to use the CNG hybrid system on the Vision X was, in part, to showcase a way to effectively bring four-wheel drive to smaller vehicles. “Four-wheel-drive machines make up 10% of Skoda sales. There’s no 4WD in the entry-level A segment, so this can help us offer a car of that size with four-wheel drive.

“It would also suit a car the size of the Karoq. You lose a little boot space, but we put the bottles and the battery in the space provided for the spare wheel, so it’s only a small reduction.”

Skoda Vision X design

While officially a design study for an 'urban' compact crossover, the exterior of the Vision X gives heavy hints at what the production version of Skoda’s upcoming compact crossover will look like. The front of the car – in particular the grille (although on the Vision X it is made from a single piece of glass) and ‘power dome’ on the bonnet – echoes the Karoq and Kodiaq.

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But there are some design features new to Skoda. The lights have been raised, with thin daytime running lights and indicators above the main headlights. At the rear, the Vision X features L-shaped tail-lights that line up with a similarly shaped bumper reflector.

Notably, the rear bootlid of the concept doesn’t feature a Skoda logo, with the brand name spelt out instead.

While based on the same platform as the T-Roc and Arona, at 4250mm the Vision X is longer than both (the T-Roc is 4234mm long, the Arona 4138mm). It is also lower than those cars at 1500mm high, while it sits between the 1780mm Arona and 1819 T-Roc at 1800mm wide. The Vision X also has a substantially longer wheelbase of 2645mm, compared with 2590mm in the T-Roc and 2566mm in the Arona. 

The interior of the Vision X features elements likely to be adopted by future production Skoda models. The wide dashboard contains a large, centrally located touchscreen that sits above a small ‘wing’ designed for resting a hand on while using the screen.

There are also some design concepts that are unlikely to be seen on production models, including a 2+2 seating layout and the inclusion in the boot of long boards (and a drone) – Skoda’s concept of a ‘last-mile mobility’ solution to aid urban commuters.

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28 February 2018

We should be encouraging the use of CNG as a fuel, which solves problems of emissions, range, cost at a stroke. I don't know why their use isn't more widespread in this country. It's probably down to lack of infrastructure and widespread distrust of the government not to mess around with the current low rate of tax

28 February 2018

Just kidding, so complicated and over engineered we'll never have to worry about it after today.

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

5 March 2018

Complex hybrid aside, this is a neat looking small SUV. 

5 March 2018

Too much VAG style clone.


Bring back Skoda uniqueness.

Steam cars are due a revival.

5 March 2018

Using an extra electric motor at the rear for 4wd is nothing new, the last Peugeot 3008 hybrid had it but they dropped it from the new one as no one truly needed it in an urban crossover. Same system used on the RAV4 hybrid and several others. I personally think its a good idea, for a reasonably modest weight increase and only cables heading rearward instead of a heavy drive shaft you gain the traction of 4wd. Not so interested in it running on cigarette lighter fuel though, I suppose it could be handy if you run out, pop in the nearest newsagent and get a cannister.

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