Skoda is planning a brace of crossovers due in showrooms in 2014 and 2016. First up is a larger SUV based on VW's Tiguan, while the second car is a follow-up to the successful Skoda Yeti.
And if you think the Yeti's a great car with a silly name, wait until you clock the name for the new, bigger Skoda crossover...
Skoda Snowman: the lowdown on Skoda's new 4x4
The follow-up the VW Tiguan is due to come on stream in 2014 - in three different forms: standard wheelbase, extended wheelbase and four-door coupe. If our informant is right, Skoda will derive its up-market crossover from the LWB edition. The new SUV, which is already part of the advanced MQB-A matrix, may become part of the Octavia family.
Snowman is one of the names one hears when strolling through the corridors of the Mlada Boleslav HQ, Grand Yeti is another possibility. Thanks to the longer wheelbase and a longer rear overhang, the Skoda 4x4 offspring should offer distinct packaging benefits that match the Simply Clever motto of the brand.
Designed by Josef Kaban and his team, the new Skoda Snowman crossover is said to feature the trademark front end complete with waterfall grille and four quasi-round headlamps, a fastback side view in combination with a higher roofline, and a muscular rear end with a deep tailgate and C-shaped light graphics. Inside, we are likely to find a trend-setting mix of folding, sliding, tumbling and swivelling second-row seats.
And the new Skoda Yeti?
The current Yeti is a relatively low-cost cocktail of Polo Mk4 and Golf Mk5 hardware elements. Even though it uses a one-off platform, the popular soft-roader contributes its fair share to the corporate bottom line. The production output in China, some 150,000 units a year, will be further increased once Yeti II and Snowman become available.
The smaller crossover will in 2016 switch to MQB-AO, a brand-new architecture under development for the sixth-generation VW Polo. The modular layout is lighter, stiffer and more efficient as well as about 20% cheaper to build.
The Yeti's distinctive design won't change dramatically, but it seems safe to expect a more grown-up vehicle with a wider track, a slightly longer wheelbase and a more modern appearance. Also in the works are improved engines (1.4 TSI with 150bhp and a 2.0 TDI boasting 177bhp), additional driver assistance systems and an extended Greenline range.
Skoda: 4x4s ahead of MPVs
For a while, the Czech product planners were hoping that their budget would stretch to a second SUV and to a second MPV. Well, this is no longer the case.
In view of the new low-cost engine programme to be handled by Skoda and in consideration of the expansion plans for China and India, one of the two proposals had to be put on the back burner. Predictably, it was the full-size Sharan Mk3-based minivan that fell through the grid.
The Roomster will be replaced according to plan in 2013 by a less quirky looking people mover twinned with the next-generation VW Touran. But if a second minivan does materialise, it won´t be out before 2017 at the earliest.
And instead of creating a Sharan sibling that would steal sales from the more profitable VW sister model, Skoda may end up building a version of the Caddy XL. A Skoda-based T6 Microbus is also high up on the wish list, but again controlling and the brand protection department are likely to intervene.