Now I know that the largely American Jalopnik audience doesn’t care much about Skoda, Volkswagen’s bargain Czech subsidiary, beyond maybe a general sense of longing. But a Skoda concept is coming to the Paris Motor Show that’s actually pretty interesting, and hopefully a sign of good things to come.
Meet the Skoda Vision RS Concept. It’s a hybrid hot hatch! Or at least, a hybrid warm hatch, since its specs aren’t quite hot enough to make you want to renounce your American citizenship and move to Europe.
The concept packs a 150 horsepower, 1.5-liter gasoline engine mated to a 75-kW electric motor, creating a system good for a combined 242 HP. Zero to 62 mph is claimed to be 7.1 seconds. That’s... not mind-blowing, but not slow, either. It also can do up to 70 km (about 44 miles) on electricity alone, it has kinetic energy recovery while driving, and the battery can be fully charged in 2.5 hours with a home charging station.
It also looks pretty sharp, likely previewing the new Rapid, Skoda’s competitor to the Ford Focus and its VW Group cousin the Golf. On the concept, carbon fiber accents and air intakes reduce weight and make it look more aggressive.
Overall, I dig it, and more than the car itself—which is a concept from a brand I can’t even buy—I like the idea of more affordable, performance-oriented hybrid cars. So far most hybrids we’ve seen have been eco-warriors or seven-figure hypercars like the McLaren P1. I’m looking forward to the day when electrification is meant to make cars go faster, and in a not-expensive package. It’s the future of performance until the world goes fully electric. We haven’t even scratched the surface of the interesting things we can do with electrification. This seems like a decent start down that road.