we boarded the 7-seater electric SUV

As part of its range development strategy, Skoda will launch a 7-seater electric SUV, which is emerging today with the Vision 7S. We were able to meet him in preview.

Since SUVs replaced single-seaters and other family cars (in fact, they replaced everything), 7-seater models quickly caught the attention of large families. The offer is plethora (everything is relative), but remains essentially composed of thermal engines, namely diesel. And because of its configuration, the penalties become prohibitive. The only solutions are to switch to a hybrid or rechargeable hybrid solution, or even electric. But the yard is empty: the Mercedes EQB is the only available representative of this segment.

Otherwise, you will have to be patient. The Tesla Model X, an already known alternative, should one day return to Europe. The 7-seat option on the Model Y was no longer known. The Mercedes EQS SUV will accommodate seven people from a wealthy family. Hyundai and Kia have already expressed their ambitions with the Ioniq 7 and EV9, which would arrive in 2024 and 2023 respectively. Finally, it is Skoda that will occupy the market a little later with a large SUV announced for 2026. A descendant of the Kodiaq, which currently bears the name of Vision 7S. Meet !

A new Modern Solid Identity

Protected from prying eyes in the Czech countryside, the Skoda Vision 7S opens its doors to us in preview without a central pillar. A first approach that allows you to make the most of the original 7-seater SUV. As usual, Skoda doesn’t show off with size scales, and the SUV is big. Very large, as it presents in its conceptual form a length of 5.16 m, for a wheelbase of 3.05 m. That puts it between a BMW X7 and a Mercedes GLS, the most opulent vehicles on the market!

It’s even ahead of the Range Rover, whose inspiration tries to hide in its lines that implicitly announce those of the production model. A signature that will then be that of Mlada Boleslav’s brand. Less tortured, less energetic, but no more boring, it bears the name of modern solid. It favors a smooth surface treatment, which it associates with the new brand identity, as evidenced by the exclusive logo in full in the center of the hood. Hood that, with its shoulders, also evokes that of a Range Rover, while the T-shaped rear optics are disturbingly similar. The separate appearance with the two supposedly Kia Telluride projectors frames a wide but thin Teak-Deck grille, which can’t briefly hide a thin Byton M-Byte signature. Style settles in and now blends into the dough. In any case, the Vision 7S takes up the cosmetic codes of this segment in its own way, which could lead you to think that it was setting out to conquer America.

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Style is in the service of aerodynamics with flat surfaces, level elements (nothing protrudes except the profiled camera mirrors) and aerodynamic appendages subtly hidden as if out of modesty. The slots are the entrances to the ventilation circuits, with some lines leading to the brakes, others to the battery. The calories from the latter can be evacuated to the doors, which hide stirrups that make it easier to reach the roof. In this smooth universe, however, the SUV allows itself the paradox of large protective shoes. Prominent and flashy with their seven slots, they announce color. But they are also studying the use of recycled materials, one of the wishes of the Czech brand’s teams.

And if true luxury was space

Here, the Skoda Vision 7S uses recycled tire rubber, with veneers that are quite hard to the touch. This is not the case with the cabin floor, the softness of the material leaves no doubt about its origins. The advantages are manifold: the coating is scratch-resistant, easily washable and allows objects to remain in place. Highlighted by powerful ambient lighting, the resulting recycling fragments would make this floor look like a starry floor. The airy feeling is reinforced by the seats without visible support, the semi-floating center console and the generous volumes on board.

Concept cars explore the unexplorable, freeing themselves from all the usual restrictions, and each has its own equally conceptual innovations. This means that they can only exist in an imaginary bubble, and will necessarily be confronted with industrial, regulatory and financial realities. The ones from Vision 7S? Seven exotic seats and the ability to clean the interior.

So the Skoda Mink 7S has three rows of two seats, and the seventh seat is… a baby seat. The latest addition to the family and the center of attention, the child is perched on the center console, back on the road, right in the middle of the cabin. According to the Czech manufacturer, this is the safest place inside a car. In addition, rear passengers can have a permanent eye on the baby, while a camera mounted on the center rear pillar allows the image to be projected onto the center shelf.

A new approach to the human-machine interface

Below the rotary keys (a control module that will run in series), which control the air conditioning or infotainment system, there is a key that allows you to switch from Drive mode to Relax mode. When the latter is activated, the front seats swivel to the center and the rear seats move backwards to provide a view of the center screen. The pedals sink, the bezel is stored, while the central 14.6-inch display goes from portrait (vertical) to landscape (horizontal) position. A solution that is already a reality with the BYD Han EV.

The infotainment system then offers several dedicated apps, with relaxation programmes, games, reading corner or Netflix. So many functions that can be controlled with a smartphone connected to the on-board system, either by hand or by pressing the induction hob on the center console. With these solutions, Skoda plans to make you spend as much time in your vehicles as possible in the future. Or keep busy as you go through the refill box, an operation that is rarely exciting.

However, the strategy is contradictory, and so it confronts the technical sheet. Charging times have not been communicated, but this Vision 7S, based on the MEB platform, is capable of aiming for a DC charging power of 200 kW. This puts it in the high range of the electric basket at the moment (Mercedes EQS, BMW i4, etc.) According to the WLTP protocol, the Skoda Vision 7S would be able to reach 600 km of range in its current form. This would on paper defer the opportunity to truly enjoy all the digital entertainment on board. But what will remain in the production model?

The series completion scheduled for 2026

This is the question that remains unanswered after every presentation of a concept car, whose role is to serve as a laboratory for the various departments of a manufacturer, but also to open the window to the future. In terms of style, the Vision 7S promises much more smoothness in the lines of the brand’s next products. But all the coquetry the design department has indulged in can be sacrificed on the altar of industrial and financial realities. A pity, because, as always, the movement simply smart beloved by the brand is in full swing with all the useful and smart attentions.

In the technical chapter, it promises a long life to the MEB platform which obviously has a lot of features to use to reach the top of the basket in terms of livability. It remains to be seen whether it will be able to evolve over time and, for example, free up space under the hood to provide perfectly useful storage space in a car for family use. According to our prying eyes, the space still seems well occupied by the various mechanical and technical devices.

The datasheet is also attractive and shows the platform’s potential for evolution. Quite abundant recharging power and 600 km of autonomy, which sounds tempting. At the moment anyway. Because the series realization won’t see the light of day immediately: it will be necessary to wait until 2026 to see the arrival of the electric descendant of the Skoda Kodiaq. It will arrive after the Karoq (2024) and Kamiq (2025) battery replacements.

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