CNG hybrid power for compact SUV

Skoda has officially unveiled the Vision X concept in Geneva, with a company-first hybrid system including compressed-natural gas, petrol and electric power

From the outside, the Vision X looks like a shrunken take on the design language behind the Kodiaq and Karoq. That's not an accident, because the concept previews a production SUV to sit below those two models. Measuring 4255mm long, 1807mm wide and 1537mm tall, it's a dead ringer for the Volkswagen T-Roc in proportion.

Skoda says it has "crystalline elements and compact proportions", we'd say it has a fashionable split-headlight design and the company's corporate grille up front. The grille and badge are both backlit, for a touch of extra drama at night.

Down back, the car runs with a tough-looking diffuser and edgy LED tail-lights, complete with sweeping sequential indicators a-la Audi.

What lies under the skin is – arguably – more interesting that the skin itself. Power comes from a hybrid system incorporating a 1.5-litre combustion engine, compressed-natural gas tanks and two electric motors.

The 1.5-litre engine has been tuned to run on CNG, and sends 96kW of power and 200Nm of torque to the front wheels. Skoda says it emits between 18 and 25 per cent less CO2 than a conventional petrol-powered car, with a similar drop in harmful particulates.

Running the car on sustainably-sourced biogas helps cut well-to-wheel emissions further, to the point where the car could be 100 per cent carbon neutral to run under the right conditions.

There's an electric motor on the rear axle, capable of powering the car for up to 2km without local emissions. Skoda says it delivers 1000Nm (no, not a typo) to the rear wheels, while a second 48V-backed starter-generator can chip in an additional 70Nm to the front axle under heavy acceleration.

The system is designed to deliver better traction, essentially delivering on-demand all-wheel drive without a prop-shaft.

Acceleration to 100km/h takes a decidedly un-ludicrous 9.3 seconds, on the way to a 200km/h top speed. Skoda is claiming a driving range of 650km, thanks in part to a reserve petrol tank for the 1.5-litre engine. In other words, this is a car powered by gas, electricity and petrol.

Inside, the car features a smattering of triangular design elements to match the exterior, along with breathable fabrics for the seats and dashboard.

As a compact SUV concept, it shouldn't be surprising to hear Skoda has loaded the car with connected services capable of directing the driver to parking spots, supporting car sharing and reminding the driver when to leave for work.

The boot is home to two electric skateboards, designed to help drivers cover the tricky 'last mile' of their commute, while the seat backs house a neck-and-back protector. There are helmets and a drone on board to record the fun, lest the world not see your gigantic accident in high-definition.

Stay tuned to CarAdvice for all the latest from the show floor in Geneva. Click the photos tab for more images.