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Paris show: Skoda supplies Rapid specs

Rapid growth: Skoda is pinning its ambitious sales growth targets on the Rapid small car that will go on sale in Australia by the middle of next year.

New Skoda Rapid small car to be spacious, family-friendly and fuel-efficient


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18 Jul 2012

SKODA has revealed details of the Rapid small car that will be unveiled at the Paris motor show in September ahead of its Australian launch in the first half of next year.

First official images of the Czech brand’s circa-$20k Ford Focus and Mazda3 rival emerged last month and now Skoda has confirmed the Rapid’s drivetrain line-up, exterior dimensions and luggage capacity.

It is still too early for Australian specifications to be announced but expect the familiar forced-induction four-cylinder 1.2-litre 77TSI and 1.4-litre 90TSI petrol engines shared across several Volkswagen Group products to feature here.

Depending on engine, five- or six-speed manual transmissions are offered and the 90TSI can be had with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic DSG transmission.

A three-cylinder petrol engine producing 55kW will be offered in some markets along with the petrol 63TSI engine recently added to the Audi A1 in Australia and 77TDI offered on the Octavia.

A second diesel engine, the 66TDI engine available on the Polo in Australia, will join the range in the second half of 2013 available with the seven-speed DSG transmission.

All four-cylinder engines have official European combined fuel consumption ratings of less than 6.0 litres per 100 kilometres, while the three-cylinder consumes 6.1L/100km.

The Rapid will sit between the Fabia light car and Octavia mid-sizer in Skoda’s range and at 4483mm long and 1461mm high the Rapid is only 85mm shorter and 8mm lower than its mid-size stablemate, while its 2602mm wheelbase is 24mm longer.

However a larger next-generation Octavia is planned for release later in 2013, which will place it more firmly in the mid-size segment given the current car is not as big as a Holden Cruze, which is classified as a small car.

The Rapid’s boot shares the Octavia’s liftback design and has a claimed class-leading capacity of 550 litres, just 10L short of the current Octavia and 54L more generous than that of a Holden Commodore.

Skoda is also claiming benchmark interior space for the Rapid, with class-leading knee- and head-room, which the company says makes the car ideal for the family audience it is targeting.

Continuing its tradition of thoughtful interior features, Skoda’s Rapid will be available with rubbish bins in the doors, a windscreen ice scraper stored behind the fuel filler cap and a holder under the driver’s seat for the high-visibility vests that are mandatory in many European countries.

Various cargo nets for the cabin and boot will also be made available along with a holder for portable music devices or smartphones, a parking ticket clip and double-sided boot liner.

Available equipment will include a choice of three audio systems topped by a five-inch touch-screen navigation unit with Bluetooth, SD card and MP3-compatible CD player, cruise control, privacy glass, heated seats, climate control and multi-function steering wheel.

Safety is high on the agenda, with available technologies including electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, electronic differential lock, traction control, tyre pressure monitoring, rear parking sensors and a hill-holder plus front, side and head airbags.

Skoda says the Rapid, which will be built at its main Mlada Boleslav production facility located 60 kilometres northeast of Prague, forms a “central pillar” of its ambitious strategy to almost double global sales by 2018.

Part of this contribution will come from a China-specific version to be built in the world’s largest car market from next year.

Skoda sales in Australia are up 101.8 per cent to the end of June this year, with the Yeti compact SUV leading the charge, having overtaken the Octavia as most popular model.

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