Skoda gave the Rapid a subtle facelift a little over a year ago, but it’s already eager to talk about the next generation. Some big changes are in tow as not only will it be renamed, but the Rapid will receive an entirely different identity. According to the man in charge of the company’s sales and marketing, Alain Favey, the new model will not be a successor in the traditional sense of the word since it will be developed from the ground up to take on the Volkswagen Golf.
Wait, isn’t the Octavia the direct rival for Wolfsburg’s hugely popular hatchback? Well, not quite. Skoda’s best-selling model is considerably larger than the Golf and virtually any other model in the compact segment. The Octavia’s rear legroom is basically unbeatable in this class, while the hatchback’s cargo capacity is also untouched by any other rival.
Getting back to the Rapid, its next iteration bearing a different moniker will usher in “completely new technology, completely new styling.” Favey went on to specify only the Rapid Spaceback will soldier on, with the fastback variant set to get the axe. Skoda’s representative promises to offer a greater differentiation between the Rapid and Octavia, mentioning people won’t be able to get the two mixed up.
Riding on the VW Group’s MQB A0 platform, the Rapid replacement will boast a newly developed “state-of-the-art” infotainment, according to Favey. However, it won’t be as fancy as the Vision X concept’s setup as that high-tech system will premiere on a production model in 2020 with the production-ready Vision E, Skoda’s very first pure electric vehicle.
Engines are expected to be shared with the next-gen Fabia, namely 1.0- and 1.5-liter TSI gasoline units and maybe a diesel as well. For the time being, Skoda is not planning to electrify the Rapid’s replacement, but we won’t be too surprised if a hybrid will be added further down the line.
The new model is slated to arrive at some point next year and Skoda expects to double annual sales compared to the current Rapid as early as 2020.