Skoda to enter large SUV market

Updated: 

Skoda Yeti

Skoda is to produce its first large SUV under Volkswagen ownership, the company's boss Winfried Vahland has confirmed to Autocar magazine.

The as-yet unnamed new model will reach showrooms in 2016 and is set to be a more upmarket rival to the popular Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe soft-roaders.

It will be based on the Volkswagen Group's versatile MQB architecture, modular structure of which means it can be used to underpin cars of a variety of different sizes.

The new car will be a slightly altered version of VW's own large SUV, called the CrossBlue, which is set to make it to the UK in 2015. Both will come in at around 4.6 metres long and will be offered in both five and seven seat configurations, and in front and four-wheel-drive guises.

Early design work on the new model is currently underway, with the Czech manufacturer having produced its first clay models. Skoda's technical boss Frank Welsch told Autocar that the engine range is likely to be limited to fuel-efficient 2.0-litre four-cylinder units, with a 1.6-litre turbodiesel to be offered as the entry level option.

A diesel-electric hybrid version will also be offered at some point after the car's launch.

Skoda is also planning a third SUV model, which will join the Yeti model line – currently the largest 4x4 vehicle the brand offers. It won't feature the Yeti's bold and curvaceous lines, however, taking a more traditional SUV look.