Skoda will overhaul the next-generation Rapid hatchback to make it a legitimate rival to the Volkswagen Golf.
According to Skoda sales and marketing boss Alain Favey, the new Rapid will arrive next year with a different name, radically different technology and an overhauled design.
“How should I put this? Our presence [in this segment] is very humble. With the current Rapid Spaceback, we didn’t manage to come through to convince people that we are a credible competitor in this segment,” Favey told Autocar.
Skoda is so confident in the new Rapid that it believes it will sell twice as many units in its first full year of sales than the outgoing model. In 2017, a total of 66,512 Rapids were sold throughout Europe.
Favey says that the new Rapid will also be dramatically different than the Octavia.
“The new Rapid will not be available as an estate, while the Octavia Estate makes up a lot of the Octavia’s sales. The Rapid is clearly a Golf rival in design, while the Octavia is a three-box hatch.
“The real Golf contender will be Rapid. You will not be able to be confused between the new Rapid and Octavia,” Favey said.
Underpinning the all-new Skoda Rapid will be the Volkswagen Group’s MQB AO platform, currently used by the Seat Ibiza and VW T-Roc. With these updated underpinnings, Skoda will be able to make full use of VW’s most advanced, small-capacity petrol engines, including a 1.0-liter three-cylinder with between 84 hp and 109 hp. Additionally, a 1.5-liter with up to 148 hp is likely, as is a 1.6-liter diesel.
Inside, the new Rapid will also be a step on from the current model by welcoming a next-generation infotainment system that’ll eventually be used across most of the Skoda range.