Is this a bigger version of the Skoda Yeti? No, it’s a stretched Yeti body on what will be the chassis for the new seven-seat Skoda SUV, due to officially break cover next year.
Skoda confirmed last year that its large SUV was under development, but the pictures here show the test mule for the first time. Not that there’s a lot to see.
Production has apparently not yet been signed off, but Skoda executives are on record as saying the all-wheel-drive SUV will be key to the carmaker’s bid to achieve 1.5 million global sales by 2018.
It will be available with seven seats and will compete against the Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe, among others. Word is it will come with low-range gearing for true off-road work.
Skoda NZ general manager Greg Leet expects to clap eyes on the new model soon. “I’m going to the factory in a couple of weeks to see future product and I expect the SUV will be among the new models,” he said.
“It’s a revolutionary product for the brand as it enters the big SUV market for the first time. I’m really looking forward to seeing it. I’m sure it will look nothing like the stretched Yeti lookalike in the (spy) pictures.”
But the ‘A-Plus SUV’, as it’s known in-house, is likely to borrow design elements from the smaller Yeti, which is soon to be replaced as part of Skoda’s growth plan to launch new or updated models every six months.
Expect the SUV to use components from its Volkswagen Group parent, specifically those from the VW Touareg parts bin. It’s also expected to borrow the same platform, chassis and range of four-cylinder turbo engines as the new Superb sedan and wagon.
Skoda boss Dr Winfried Vahland told reporters at the Geneva motor show that the SUV will not take the company into expensive new pricing territory.
“If I judge the price range of the Superb, that is the highest price range Skoda can work in,” said Vahland. “Our customers accept Superb prices and that will fit also for the SUV.” The current Superb line-up in NZ ranges from $43,900 to $63,000.