Electric seven-seater launches the company’s new direction as a big halo SUV
Welcome to the future of Skoda. This is the Vision 7S – a hint not only at what a future seven-seat electric car will look like, but a taster of the company’s whole new identity.
Let’s briefly avert our eyes to its badges, no longer resembling an encircled windswept rooster, now a simple ‘SKODA’ with the accent atop the S simplified and built into the letter, to better welcome those not fluent in Czech. Skoda has designed its own font for that.
By the time a few new models have rolled out with the badges, we’ll probably not notice them anymore – that’s what usually happens with these much-trumpeted rebranding exercises. But for now, it’s piqued our interest. This is Skoda growing up a bit – making its cars cleaner, simpler and more attractive to people who’ve not yet bought something from one of its numerous VW Group cousins. We’ll miss the windswept rooster, but this is more rational. And that’s what Skodas have always been about.
Hence launching the company’s makeover with a seven-seat SUV as the halo car. That’s exactly what the production version of the Vision 7S will be – the biggest, most expensive car the company has ever sold, but one still chockful of good old VFM.
It launches in 2026 to cap off a trio of new fully electric Skodas, following a compact SUV and a Fabia-sized entry model. They’ll all wear a version of the design language previewed here, unfashionably titled ‘Modern Solid’. Which is potentially a fancy way of saying ‘a wee bit boxy’.
Skoda’s EVs will have a slightly different look to its internal combustion cars, which continue; the Octavia is facelifted in 2024, while brand-new versions of the Superb and Kodiaq launch next year. The production version of the 7S will sit a size and price point above the latter, giving the brand two different seven-seat family options.
The 7S is very much a concept at the moment – the interior has two different layouts, the steering wheel folding away to create a ‘relaxation mode’ as you wait for the car to charge, while the wheels measure 22-inches and the paint is expensive matt (a Skoda first). But it looks impressive up close. At the front, it’s still somewhat Skoda-ish, but move around the sides and to the rear three-quarters and it’s more of a departure from the styling we’re used to from the Czech brand.
While it’s a concept car for now, the VW Group’s MEB electric platform lies beneath, with an 89kWh battery and 200kW charging built in. The latter is more than enough to make the most of UK charging infrastructure right now, but it lags behind the 350kW potential Hyundai and Kia currently boast. But with four years until production, there’s hopefully time for Skoda (or VW) to reappraise that. There are no power or performance figures other than a theoretical 370-mile range.
As a family-focused car, though, it’s the interior that’s of more importance. There are sustainable materials everywhere, with recycled tyre veneers on the boot floor that are scratchproof and easily cleaned, helping give the car’s rugged look some additional substance. As do the backpacks built into the seats. Skoda loves hidden treats like that, and you can expect a production version to be awash with tucked-away umbrellas and ice picks.
Skoda’s also relocated baby seats to the car’s central tunnel – the safest possible place, apparently – while a new, ‘more intuitive’ 14.6-inch touchscreen comes accompanied by physical rotary controls for the air con beneath. Hoo-blooming-ray. This newfound focus on rationality is something we could really get on board with…