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Skoda teases next-generation five-door hatchback

Rapid replacement to take on Corolla, Mazda3, i30 as Skoda’s small-car challenger

10 Oct 2018

AS THE dust begins to settle on the reveal of the foreshadowing Vision RS concept, Skoda has started the teaser campaign for its Rapid-replacing, small-size five-door hatchback that will take on the Toyota Corolla, Mazda3 and Hyundai i30 in Australia from the end of next year.
The Czech brand’s newest model will make its international debut in December, with it confirmed to ride on Volkswagen Group’s modular MQB A0 platform that supports front- and all-wheel-drive set-ups, and transversely mounted engines.
As a result of the architecture’s flexibility, Skoda is promising its small-car contender will feature “compact external dimensions and generous interior space”, alongside a suite of advanced driver-assist systems.
The future model will also bring the design language of the Vision RS, which was shown last week at the Paris motor show, to public roads, as shown in the single teaser image released.
Specifically, the darkened picture depicts the five-door’s headlight and tail-light designs, as well as its side profile, glasshouse and character line, all of which are similar to that of the Vision RS.
As reported, Skoda Auto chief executive office Bernhard Maier told GoAuto in Paris that the two designs are “only a fingerprint away” from one another.
“It will be the successor of the current model, and it will get the new name,” he added. “And we put everything together: the best ingredients we have.
“So, I think this is now the perfect combination of everything; a young, sporty and attractive car with all of the typical Skoda ingredients: more value for money, more car for your money, more roominess, high-end reliability. But, that emotional design brings everything together.”
While the jury is still out on what nameplate the hatchback will have, it is set to receive a flagship, high-performance RS variant, as previewed by the plug-in hybrid Vision RS.
If the Vision RS’ powertrain makes it into production, it will combine a 110kW/250Nm 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine with a 75kW electric motor.
This set-up delivers a combined power output of 180kW, a pure-electric driving range of 70km, and a sprint from standstill to 100km/h in 7.1 seconds.
Skoda Australia has previously told GoAuto that if it comes to fruition, it would be keen on the production version of the Vision RS. As such, the RS small car is a near certainty to head Down Under.
When the five-door hatchback arrives in Australia, it will look to resonate with more new-vehicle buyers than its Rapid predecessor has since it launched in May 2014.
Sales of the Rapid have backtracked this year, with 337 examples sold to the end of September – a 4.5 per cent decrease over the 353 deliveries made during the same period in 2017.
As such, the Rapid is well off the pace of the best-selling models in the sub-$40,000 small-car segment, including the aforementioned Corolla (27,687 units), Mazda3 (24,344) and i30 (21,989), as well as the Volkswagen Golf (15,066) and Kia Cerato (14,725), among others.

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