Skoda to make Rapid gains with Focus rival?
The newcomer is expected on UK sale in November at prices from around £13,000.
It will sit in the perceived range gap between Skoda’s existing Fabia and Octavia models, and at its price is expected to offer a competitive, different option to those buying in the sector dominated by Ford’s Focus, the Vauxhall Astra and VW Golf.
A big selling point will be its space, and not only in the cabin of the 4.48-metre long car – Skoda is calling the Rapid a saloon but it boasts a hatch-style tailgate and bootspace that will outstretch Ford and VW rivals by more than 150 litres.
Skoda says that the new Rapid is its first car to make full use of the brand’s latest design language – the look was first seen on the MissionL concept unveiled at last year’s Frankfurt Motor Show and the production car is visually virtually identical.
Details of engines and specification have not yet been released but Skoda says a choice of five petrol and two diesel engines will be on offer. One of these is expected to be a tax-busting diesel under the brand’s Greenline banner.
Skoda has used the Rapid name before, but on a very different model, previously appearing on a coupe last made in 1990 and famously dubbed by one magazine “a poor man’s Porsche”.
According to Skoda CEO Winfried Vahland the Rapid is the right car at the right time for the ambitious brand.
“This is a model which sets benchmarks in the compact saloon segment – the Skoda Rapid is a roomy, elegant and at the same time an affordable car for the whole family, impressing with clever solutions, cutting-edge technology and high economy,” Vahland says.
“In short, it is a car permitting mobility in a comfortable, reasonably priced and environmentally friendly package,” he adds.
The production Rapid will make its public debut at the Paris show in September. Sister brand SEAT will also launch its own version of the Rapid – a concept was unveiled wearing the Toledo badge at the Geneva show in March.
Words by: Andrew Charman