Range Rover watch out, Skoda’s coming! This is the Czech company’s new Vision 7S electric SUV and, as these first images confirm, the new look is far more aspirational than anything with a Skoda badge before. And you’d better like it because this is the flagship of a brand-wide design revamp that will see all future models getting similar treatment.
The 7S (for seven seats) is the first of Skoda’s new wave to break cover, albeit so far only in concept form. It is one of a trio of cars due to arrive by 2026 as the advance guard of a €5.6 billion investment in new-generation all-electric Skodas whose striking new design language is aimed at distancing the cars from the VW Group herd.
Mission accomplished then, as these first images show. With its short bonnet, raked-back windscreen, long flat-roofed cabin and deep body with narrow windows, the 7S is unlike anything in the current range. Skid plates front and back, inset with a macho-looking arrangement of vertical grilles, give the high-riding SUV a tough 4×4 flavour while the thin strips of LED lights are arranged vertically, those at the rear conjuring up something of a Range Rover feeling.
It might eschew the family look up top but underneath the 7S lies ubiquitous VW Group hardware in the form of the MEB electric architecture. Skoda says the 7S will boast an 89kWh battery for a range of 370 miles and fast-charging capacity of 200kW. Inside the squared-off wheelarches are 22-inch wheels with aerodynamically optimized rims.
The firm is also promising lots of room inside, plenty of the brand’s signature practical touches and a configurable seating layout. This includes the novel idea of a rearward-facing child seat mounted in the centre of the car forward of the second-row seats on the centre console – Skoda says this is the safest place for a child.
The production version of the 7S will be an entirely new model for the brand so will come in above current range-toppers, the seven-seat Kodiaq and the already-electric Enyaq iV. The most expensive Skoda in the UK at present is the Enyaq iV coupe at almost £54,000 – as new flagship, the 7S is likely to come in higher than that.
Skoda sales boss Martin Jahn tells us that Skoda customers have “grown up” and now want something more individual. He says the 7S “is clearly positioning Skoda among the external competition while at the same time distinguishing ourselves even more clearly from the other brands in the Volkswagen Group.
“The Vision 7S is the forerunner of our new design language that we’ll be rolling out across the entire product portfolio over the coming years.”
As well as the seven-seat flagship, an electric small car and an electric compact SUV will be next in line to get the new look. And it’s not just the model range that’s coming in for a design revamp. The Skoda logo and entire Skoda corporate identity are to get a makeover – the first for 30 years – in what the company is calling its Next Level strategy.
We should see the first fruit of the new corporate look at showrooms around the country next year, but it’s likely the new models will come a bit later.