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Skoda Vision IN previews new model for Indian market. Image by Skoda.

Skoda Vision IN previews new model for Indian market
Stylish concept marks the start of a new era for Skoda in India.
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What's all this about?

You're looking at the Skoda Vision IN, the latest concept car from Czech brand - only this one differs as it has been designed exclusively with the Indian market in mind. It isn't some fanciful design study either, everything from the platform it's built on to the exterior design previewing a production model that will go on sale next year. That platform is the MQB A0 IN, a bespoke version of the Volkswagen Group's highly modular platform, that differs from the MQB A0 that underpins European models like the Scala and Kamiq.

Other than swapping out some of the more extravagant details of the concept car, the exterior design is unlikely to change a great deal by the time it begins rolling off the production line in India. You can get a more accurate idea of this through the Skoda's sibling, the Volkswagen Taigun, which is also slated to go into production for 2021.

Many of the now-familiar design features of Skoda's current SUV models influenced the look of the Vision IN, such as the two-part LED headlights that carry a crystalline detail. The upper section of these meet up with the bold grille, which also is illuminated along with the Skoda badge. It's a similar story around the back of the Vision IN, with sharp lines and slender light units that are shaped to add a sense of width to the car's overall stance. The bottom of the tailgate includes a full-width light strip that kicks up at either end to create the C-shaped rear light signature that has featured on Skoda models for several generations.

The SUV-ness of the Vision IN is reinforced with functional elements like aluminium roof rails, and robust styling cues that include metallic finishes to the centre sections of the front and rear bumpers. Black plastic cladding surrounds the lower sections of the car, leaving the 19-inch wheels to fill the arches.

Oliver Stefani, head of design at Skoda, explained: "For the Skoda Vision IN, we have combined Indian and Czech traditions with state-of-the-art technologies. In addition, we have also used classic materials such as sustainable genuine leather produced without the use of any chromium, alongside vegan leather alternatives - allowing us to refine the new Skoda interior concept and enhance it with attractive details."

Any fancy powertrain options?

No, unusually for such a concept there isn't any mention of electrification, which gives you an idea of what the car market in India is like at present. The Vision IN is powered by a 1.5-litre TSI petrol engine that appears elsewhere in Skoda's cars here in Europe, coupled with a seven-speed automatic DSG transmission. The power output is 150hp with 250Nm of torque. That's good enough for a sprint to 62mph from rest in 8.7 seconds.

Christian Strube, Skoda Auto board member for Technical Development, said: "When developing the MQB A0 IN platform, we were very much guided by the local requirements of the Indian market. And the result will allow us to offer vehicles that boast the high level of quality that
is typical of Volkswagen Group as well as modern technology, and - thanks to radical localisation - to do so at competitive prices. Together with our local suppliers, manufacturing in India also enables us to react quickly and flexibly to changes in the market."

How about the inside?

Somewhat expectedly, the Vision IN features an interior that's pure concept car stuff and most of it won't make the production model. The digital instrument display is joined by a free-standing 12.3-inch infotainment screen that dominates what is almost an entirely button-free dashboard. For the Vision IN, Skoda's designers chose to use some innovative materials and techniques that are more traditional to India. The decorative trim on the dashboard has drawn inspiration from kalamkari, an Indian textile-printing technique that uses hand-carved wooden stamps to print traditional fabric patterns, and this contrasts against the crystalline trim spanning the fascia of the dashboard. Its roof lining is made from recycled plastic fibres, while the floor mats are fabricated from a material known as Piñatex that uses waste pineapple leaves to create a leather-like fabric. Thanks to the use of a new shift-by-wire system for the DSG transmission, there is no longer the need for a traditional gear selector and in its place is a much smaller rocker switch that is used to select drive. The flat surface ahead of that carries the climate control functions that are touch sensitive and garnished with real crystal inserts. The rear is capable of seating three, but can be switched to a roomier two-seat configuration when lowering a centre console unit that then can extend forwards to reveal cupholders.

What's Skoda doing in India?

As of 2019, the Volkswagen Group effort in India is being led by Skoda under a recently established company called Skoda Auto Volkswagen India Private Limited (SAVWIPL). The as-yet-to-be-named SUV will spearhead a major push into India with Skoda being the premium mainstream brand, and in something of a role-reversal to Europe, Volkswagen being pitched as the cheaper, more affordable offering.

Dave Humphreys - 3 Feb 2020

2020 Skoda Vision IN. Image by Skoda.2020 Skoda Vision IN. Image by Skoda.2020 Skoda Vision IN. Image by Skoda.2020 Skoda Vision IN. Image by Skoda.2020 Skoda Vision IN. Image by Skoda.

2020 Skoda Vision IN. Image by Skoda.2020 Skoda Vision IN. Image by Skoda.2020 Skoda Vision IN. Image by Skoda.2020 Skoda Vision IN. Image by Skoda.2020 Skoda Vision IN. Image by Skoda.    - Skoda road tests
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