The next-gen Skoda Rapid (or its facelift) will see tough competition from the 2020 Honda City
Skoda has replaced the Rapid with the new Scala in Europe but the mid-size sedan continues to keep its market position in Russia, China and India. The Russian model received a major update late last year and now it’s the China-spec model’s turn.
The 2020 Skoda Rapid facelift for the Chinese market has been launched with significant styling updates. While the new design closely resembles the Russia-spec version, both cars are not the same. For starters, the China-spec version turns out to be slightly more understated than its Russian counterpart.
While both versions share the sleek chrome grille and angular headlamps, the bumpers are slightly different. The Russian model opts for sportier bumpers whereas the Chinese Rapid gets a chrome element running across the width of the secondary air dam.
Thanks to a revamped boot design, the 2020 Skoda Rapid facelift features a sportier side profile. The dual-tone multi-spoke alloy wheels add to the appeal. The all-new taillights ditch the trademark ‘C’ shaped signature lighting in favour of a sleeker appearance. The logo on the boot lid has been replaced by ‘SKODA’ lettering. A black plastic diffuser and twin chrome-finished faux exhaust tips round off the exterior design.
The Russia-spec version features an all-new dashboard which derives its inspiration from that of the Scala, and offers fully digital virtual cockpit and stand-alone touchscreen infotainment system. However, for China, Skoda has resorted to a cost-effective solution of carrying forward the older version’s dashboard. Enhancements come in the form exterior colour-coordinated AC vent trims, a silver-finished dashboard strip and new seats and upholstery. Of course, the Rapid offers a comprehensive touchscreen infotainment system.
In India, the next major update for the ageing Rapid is not expected to come before 2021. The Czech automaker is busy developing a compact crossover for India based on the MQB A0 IN platform. The new Rapid (and VW Vento) for India will be underpinned by this soon-to-be-launched modular platform. We can expect the overall styling language to derive from the Russian and Chinese models albeit with some local market-specific touches.
The China-spec 2020 Skoda Rapid facelift continues to be underpinned by the ageing PQ25 platform that also caters to the India-spec model. The 1.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine producing 112 hp has been retained as well.
The Skoda Rapid competes with the 2020 Honda City, Maruti Ciaz, VW Vento, Hyundai Verna and Toyota Yaris. With Verna and City set to be succeeded by new models soon, Rapid’s position in the segment is about to get more challenging.