The Skoda Rapid is the Czech-origin car manufacturer’s best-selling product in India. The sedan shares its platform with the Volkswagen Vento and has been around for quite a few years; hitting one mid-life facelift in the journey. Now, Skoda is working on a proper successor to the current-generation Rapid and aims to introduce it by the end of 2021.
Ahead of that, the new Rapid has made its global debut in Russia. This is the same 2020 Rapid which will be sold in India as well as Latin America, albeit with some market-specific modifications.
2020 Skoda Rapid is entirely different from the current model in terms of styling as well as engineering. For starters, the Rapid will become a notchback (has a tailgate; rear windshield and boot open as a single unit) like the bigger Octavia and Superb range of sedans. This will make it a lot more aligned to the typical Skoda sedan character.
The new Skoda Rapid for India will be based on Volkswagen’s MQB-A0-IN platform; a localised version of the German automotive group’s efficient MQB-A0 architecture. The same platform will also underpin a wide range of vehicles coming under Skoda Auto Volkswagen India, including a mid-size SUV.
In Russia, the new Skoda Rapid is launched with the same old engine options. These are 1.6 liter MPI and 1.4 liter TSI turbo petrol 4 cylinder engines. The 1.6 unit is sold in two tunes of 90 PS and 110 PS while the latter 1.4 unit delivers 125 PS. Transmission options include 5 speed MT / 4 speed AT for the 1.6 and 7 speed DSG for the 1.4 TSI. Price of 2020 Skoda Rapid starts from 829,000 rubles (Rs 9.26 lakhs).
For India, the new Skoda Rapid will get Volkswagen’s BS6-compliant 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine. The same power plant will make its Indian debut in the existing model, alongside the Volkswagen Vento and Polo, before the advent of stringent BS6 emission norms. The tried-and-tested 1.2-litre turbocharged BS4 petrol unit will be shelved to make way for the 1.0-litre units; supposedly at Auto Expo 2020.
In foreign markets, the 1.0-litre engine is available in two states of tune: 94bhp/175Nm and 113bhp/200Nm. The 2021 Skoda Rapid and Volkswagen Vento would probably employ the latter tune, while the Volkswagen Polo would do well with the 94bhp format. The Volkswagen Polo GT TSI might get the 113bhp tune.
Currently in India, the Skoda Rapid is available in either a 1.6-litre MPi petrol or a 1.5-litre TDi diesel format. Prices start from around Rs 8.80 lakh and go up to Rs 14.30 lakh ex-showroom.
BS6 emission norms require existing engines (especially diesels) to undergo a lot of sophistication. The conversion process itself requires a lot of investment unless manufacturers design the engines from the ground up keeping the emission standards in mind. This is mostly applicable to four-wheelers (and above) while normal two-wheelers (and similar low-capacity vehicles) can make-do with some new fuel-injection technology and a reworked exhaust system.
Owing to this, Skoda Auto Volkswagen India has decided to sell only petrol products in the initial stages of BS6 implementation.