Auto Expo Excellence Awards has almost become a customary thing for us to do. Our jury members spend first two days covering the biennial motor show by its expanse to make sure that we don't miss on any parameter across categories and segments. Now, new launches and unveils excite us for sure. But even concepts have turned out to be a big crowd puller off late, even more so when we know they will make it to production and are not just gimmicky showpieces.
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So our jury that comprised of Siddharth Vinayak Patankar, Editor- carandbike, Yogendra Pratap, Editor- Auto Today, Girish Karkera, Former Editor- Top Gear India, Ameya Naik and Kingshuk Dutta from carandbike, went to each concept and evaluated every aspect of them. Be it the design, their prospects of making it to production, their future application and the markets they will venture into among others, everything was taken into consideration to ensure comprehensiveness. And finally three concepts made it to the nominees' list- the Tata HBX mini SUV concept, Tata Sierra concept and the Skoda Vision IN. While the Tata HBX was eliminated being just an India-specific model, it was a tough fight between the Tata Sierra and Skoda Vision IN.
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Now both look stunning in different manners and have been designed to take on global markets, along with India of course. Where the Tata Sierra brings a certain legacy value paying homage to the age-old Tata Sierra SUV popular in 1990's and those wraparound second-row glass area had many jaws dropping, the Skoda Vision IN stood out to be a more practical, versatile and very urban offering. Without a doubt, the Sierra was the pitch perfect lifestyle SUV of sorts that wowed all of us and left the crowd with glary eyes, but it's the Skoda Vision IN that many would prefer as a more real-world offering when it comes to putting their money on.
Besides, the Skoda Vison IN concept derived production model will be the first model to be spawned by the India specific MQB AO IN platform and the Czech carmaker will take it to many markets across Asia and Europe, making it even more worthy of the prestigious award. In fact, the 1.5-litre TSI BS6 petrol motor that will power the SUV is optimum for most of the markets. It pumps out close to 150 bhp and 250 Nm and will be paired to a 7-speed DSG gearbox. The SUV will also clock triple digit-speeds in 8.7 seconds and will have a top speed of 195 kmph.
That being said, it's not only the strategy around it, but also the Vision IN is a compelling concept in itself. It resonates with new-age Skoda design language sporting the wide family grille flanked by sleek LED headlamps. The split fog lamp set-up tall bumper, black claddings, chunky silver skid plate and 19-inch alloy wheels give it quite the stance and even the 4256 mm profile is aesthetically enhanced with sharp shoulder line. The tail-lamps get the typical crystalline elements seen in modern Skoda models and the sculpting on the boot gate makes the rear look tort.
Yes! The Skoda Vision IN is just beautiful to look at, more so because the design is not overdone even for a concept and that continues on the inside as well. What makes us even more, proud if I should say, is the fact the cabin of the Vision IN SUV uses vegan materials along with traditional Indian art of kalamkari to give it a distinct yet an Indian look. And that just won't be limited to India-spec models. The seat upholstery is made of Pinatex- waste pineapple leaves while real leather has been substituted by natural leather and recycle plastic fibres. The centrepiece is the 12.3-inch free-standing display along with the customisable virtual cockpit and the crystalline gear lever. The cabin also looks spacious, making proper use of the 2671 mm long wheelbase and rear seats can be comforted from a three-seat configuration into two comfortable single seats with a centre console between them. Quite fancy, isn't it?
So yes! The Skoda Vision IN ticked all the right boxes when it came to flexibility, usability, global markets it will go to and what urban SUV buyers look for, making it the Best Concept at the Auto Expo 2020.