Taking Skoda one step closer to design boss Jozef Kaban’s vision is the Rapid Spaceback, a car we were expecting to see very soon, and already had a pretty good idea of what it will look like. We’ve had spyshots and teasers at our disposal, but today the Czech automaker released the first pictures of their estate/wagon Rapid variant, ahead of its debut at the Frankfurt motor show, in September.
However, none of the words used to described a car with an enlarged boot (wagon/estate) are present in the official press release. In fact, they call it the “first Skoda hatchback in the high-volume compact segment,” which looks “dynamic and fresh for young customer groups.”
It’s funny how they are now selling two different body styles of Rapid, and both of them are hatchbacks. Skoda doesn’t seem to be capable of sticking to the usual norms, and even their Superb flagship, which for all intents and purposes looks like a sedan is, in fact, also a liftback, with a clever split-folding rear hatch.
Still, this new shape is a welcome addition to the lineup, as this type of car is what the manufacturer was building when VW took over; the Favorit which turned into the Felicia both had a similar body style/shape – perhaps it would not have been a bad marketing plan to revive the pre-VW name for this very similar modern interpretation of the boxy old 1990s favorite. It’s better than Rapid “Spaceback,” is it not?
Now, let’s talk about the actual car. Skoda says that “individualization is a focus area in this car,” and they now offer a full-length tinted panoramic glass roof, which extends from the end of the windscreen to the top of the rear window with no interruptions. To compliment this, they have also specially designed an optionally-available glass rear hatch, which extends around 10 cm (4 in) further down. It is tinted to the same degree, and with the black rear spoiler finishing the look, from a distance, it probably looks like it’s all one interrupted piece.
Inside, the new steering wheel, “stylish trim lines and fresh designs for the seat covers,” attempt to improve the ambiance – the reshaped helm is a definite step in that direction, and a big departure from the sometimes bulky-looking designs found in some older models.
The engine range consists of four petrol engines, and two diesels, which are exactly the same as those available for the regular non-Spaceback – all are economical, but they don’t make the car particularly fast. Still, in having shown the Rapid Sport Concept at this year’s GTI Meeting in Wörthersee, Austria, perhaps a hot model is in the works.
By Andrei Nedelea