Apparently this is the safest place it can be.
The diverse Volkswagen Group includes high-end models from Audi and Porsche that are relatively common sights on North American roads. But there are some amazing products from Cupra, Seat, and Skoda that we're missing out on. Some examples that spring to mind include the Cupra el-Born electric hot hatch and Skoda's version of the Volkswagen ID.4. Another interesting Skoda that's on the way will probably catch the eye of parents who drive minivans like the Chrysler Pacifica. Shown in a new interior sketch, the spacious seven-seater Vision 7S Concept Car comes with a novel solution for child seats.
The Vision 7S is said to be the first vehicle to showcase Skoda's new design language. "The new design language is minimalist, functional and authentic," said Oliver Stefani, Head of Skoda Design. "In the future, we will continue to focus on Skoda's traditional strengths, such as generous space, easy usability and a high degree of functionality."
Skoda says that the interior uses sustainable materials. It features a broad dashboard that stretches into the doors and that contributes to the wrap-around feel of the design. What catches the eye is the highly unusual position of the child seat in the center console. Skoda claims that this is the safest place in the vehicle.
Skoda wasn't explicit about precisely how the center console solution is safer than a conventional child seat, but the most obvious conclusion is that in an impact, the toddler will be as far away as possible from the doors. It'll be interesting to see how safety authorities like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety respond to such a design, which would probably necessitate new testing procedures. Of course, for clingy toddlers who hate traditional car seats, this solution means adults in either of the first two rows can easily reach them. Without a toddler on hand to ask, we aren't certain what the little ones will think about it.
The cabin's innovation doesn't stop there, though. There are two interior modes: Driving Mode and Relax Mode. The first one is self-explanatory, but the second is used when charging the vehicle or at rest. Here, the steering wheel and instrument cluster slide forward while the first two rows move back. This optimizes space and comfort for the vehicle's occupants. Other cool touches include door panels with interactive haptic and visual elements and ambient lighting throughout the cabin that indicates charging status.
The 2+2+2 seating layout dictates that this will be a minivan or SUV, and since it's a VW Group vehicle, there is always the chance that the advances seen here will filter through to a VW model in the USA. Currently, VW sells the three-row Atlas and the option of three rows in the smaller Tiguan, but it will probably need an all-new model to accommodate the Skoda concept's design solutions. We'll know more about how likely a Volkswagen offshoot of the Skoda concept is when the Vision 7S is revealed sometime in the future.