Student-built Skoda Afriq is a Dakar-ready rally concept with a neat trick up its sleeve

Skoda is a Czech automobile manufacturer that falls under the volkswagen umbrella. It’s also a car we know and hear very little about, as Skoda doesn’t sell any cars in the United States. But they have a wealth of racing experience and some pretty cool, tough cars in their portfolio. Skoda also recently introduced its very first electric vehicle called Enyaq, the RS version of which happens to be the most powerful Skoda to date.

But amid all the fuss, we came across a student project car made by the apprentices at Skoda Academy. They took a rather boring Skoda Kamiq and turned it into a fierce rally car. And this is not a superficial touch-up.

They replaced the powertrain with an interesting powertrain, raised the suspension, gave it interior and exterior elements derived from race cars and added a drinking water generator! Skoda Afriq is the eighth car to come out of this cool apprenticeship program. The previous ones were all road cars, the last being a convertible based on the Skoda Slavia. And of this lot, it is the Skoda Afriq that intrigued us the most!

The Afriq is a bland Skoda Kamiq that decided to go rogue and hit those dunes hard.

Skoda Afriq is a project car made by 25 students

Skoda Afriq is the latest creation of the Student Concept Car Project which was introduced by Skoda in 2013. Built by a team of 25 creative apprentices, the main objective of this project was to take any existing Skoda car and modify it with a goal in mind. , which in turn will give students hands-on experience.

And this time the goal was hardcore off-roading. The team took a no-frills Skoda Kamiq subcompact that possessed nothing in the name of “excitement” and turned it into a Dakar-ready super-weapon. This makeover took four months and 2,000 hours of work.

Humble Skoda Kamiq gets lifted to take a beating

The most obvious upgrade is its suspension system. The Afriq receives a multi-link rear suspension with more durable shock absorbers and springs. Although details are to the brim on the extra travel and ride height, it seems to have the capabilities to tackle any terrain. Rounding out its muscular appeal are chunky 15-inch all-terrain tires.

Related: These are the best features of the 2021 Skoda Octavia RS

Skoda Afriq rally car uses sporty Octavia powertrain

While the concept still flaunts the shell of the Skoda Kamiq, the powertrain has been significantly upgraded. The Afriq replaces the boring (1.0-litre or 1.5-litre) + FWD layout of the Kamiq with a more athletic layout of the Skoda Octavia vRS. The new 2.0-liter turbocharged TSI petrol engine develops 188 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels via a seven-speed DSG gearbox. A full race sequential box was too heavy for the student project we assume.

That powertrain coupled with the Afriq’s 2,976-pound curb weight is enough to blow the dust away. And the team wanted that engine’s character to be vocal as well, so the exhaust system was custom designed with a mid-mounted single-outlet (optionally straight-pipe) setup.

The oddity: making water out of nothing

Keeping sustainability in mind, the team teamed up with Watergen, an Israeli company known for making water from the air. They helped this team of students by developing a drinking water generator that is secured in what was once the cargo space. This device extracts drinking water from humidified air in four stages. It starts with an air-sucking fan that passes through a built-in air filter to remove dust.

Then it passes through a heat exchanger where the air condenses into water. Then the water passes through a waterfall filter with UV application to make it purer and destroy harmful microorganisms and chemicals. After that, the clean water is stored in a constantly circulating container and exposed to UV light to remove any remaining harmful elements. This will come in handy during those scorching days, say, at the Dakar Rally!

Related: Here’s What the Future of Skoda’s Electric Vehicles Looks Like

Skoda Afriq is built for the world of wild rallying upside down

The four-door Skoda Kamiq has been converted into a two-door rally machine. The team welded the rear doors which were also reinforced with a roll cage to further strengthen the MQB-based platform. Up front, the Kamiq’s split LED headlight unit has been retained, as has the grille. But it’s been made “rally ready” with a front splitter and heavy-duty LED lights on the hood.

This SUV also gets wider front and rear fenders to accommodate those big tires that are wrapped around cool-looking 16-inch Dotz 4X4 wheels. The white-green Skoda livery was removed from the Fabia Rally2 Evo racing car. At the rear, the Afriq sports a large carbon fiber wing which adds to its sporty character.

It also receives a roof scoop, possibly serving as an entrance for the clever drinking water generator. Inside, the Afriq is just as serious about the “rally-spec” layout. The comfortable stock layout of the Skoda Kamiq has been replaced with an aggressive motorsport layout.

Dashboard, bucket seats, six-point harness and steering wheel are also removed from Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo. The deletion of the rear seat and the welded doors facilitate the installation of a complete roll bar. Afriq also has a fire extinguisher system for added safety. The team also added a navigation system by Garmin. Adding to a more modern recording experience, two microphone-enabled cameras to capture every moment of the action!

This student project must become a reality

There have been several previous projects under Skoda’s student program, but none have thrilled us quite like the Skoda Afriq. This concept goes beyond mere style and focuses on a whole new direction. Skoda took part in the Dakar Rally and its weapon of choice was a tricked-out Kodiaq. We think it’s time for them to directly integrate the Skoda Afriq, for the next part of the rally!



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