Now Skoda is no longer the punchline of a Christmas cracker joke, it wants you to change your thinking again. It wants you to think ‘phwoar’ when you look at a Skoda. And ‘fast’.
Which is why the 2018 Paris motor show won’t play host to a new crossover concept or sensible estate car from Czechia. Skoda’s going all out to reinvent its styling into something altogether angrier, and drape it over a hybrid hot hatchback. The Vision RS previews a new hatchback from Skoda that’ll ratchet up the kerb appeal versus the nice-but-beige Octavia – and turn the trickle of plug-in hybrid Skodas into a torrent.
The Vision RS relies on the VW Group’s 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo engine, which puts out 148bhp. Not much, huh? Ah, but the future won’t depend on old-fashioned cylinders banging up and down. So, the Vision RS adds a 100bhp dollop of electric squirt, which drops the 0-100kph sprint down to 7.1 seconds. Skoda says total system power is 242bhp.
That’s still off the pace of a Golf GTI Performance or Hyundai i30N, mind you. Or a Skoda Octavia vRS. Awkward. But we imagine the petrol engine could be boosted from its humble totals, and besides, this is more about efficient performance than head-banging acceleration.
So, spend two-and-a-half hours charging the 13kWh lithium-ion battery and Skoda claims you’ll go 69km on the charge. We’re also told average CO2 emissions are just 33g/km – because plug-in hybrids aren’t half clever at shining on rolling road test procedures…
Still, the numbers are merely appetisers for now. What’s important here is whether or not you look at the Vision RS’s carbon-festooned bodywork and find yourself gnawing the back of your hand and wanting it. Reckon it’ll be a Skoda you yearn for?