The Škoda Rapid has a long legacy that goes back to the 1930s when the name was first given to a Škoda Popular Type 920. Since then, a number of Škoda cars have been christened with the name, especially after being revived in the mid-1980s for a version of the Škoda 130. Currently, the Rapid name is borne by a European 5-door liftback sedan and a hatchback as well as by the Asian 4-door sedan version made for the Indian and Chinese markets.
In India, the Škoda Rapid was first launched in the year 2011, getting a facelift more than half a decade later. The current version is produced by Škoda Auto Volkswagen India at a modernized manufacturing facility in Aurangabad. The next-generation facelift teased by Škoda for the Rapid has been especially designed for Russia and the European markets, where it’ll be seen on the roads by the end of this year. As for India, the next-gen Rapid is expected to hit the Indian markets by the late 2021 or maybe even post that.
So what exactly is different with the next-gen Rapid that has auto enthusiasts excited about its arrival? The new Rapid will be based on the latest MQB A0 platform developed by the Volkswagen group. Compared to the PQ25 platform that the Indian version of the Škoda Rapid is based upon, the new version will have a 2650mm wheelbase, 97mm longer than the current one. Not only is the new Rapid larger, it also has certain design changes that give it a sportier look at the front end, not very different from the Škoda Scala.
The clam shaped hood has been given more muscular definition while the headlights are triangular in shape, with LED units in them. The new Rapid will, however, still continue to carry the signature ‘Butterfly’ front grille that is so typical of the Škoda design. As for what’s beneath the hood, the new Rapid is expected to be fueled by the new turbocharged 3-cylinder 1.0-litre TSI petrol engine developed by the Volkswagen group, as compared to the earlier 1.6-litre petrol one. Churning out a decent 115hp of power and 220Nm of torque, the engine will be paired to either a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed DSG transmission.
Given the restrictions on the sale of BS-4 engine next year and the timeline of release of the next-gen Rapid, the Indian version of the new Škoda Rapid is expected to see another facelift, with the powertrains being updated in order to be made BS-6 compliant as well. This might be one of the reasons why Škoda plans to wait a couple of years before launching the next-gen Rapid in India. The latest compact SUV from Škoda, the Kamiq is also slated for release around the same time early in the next decade. Based on the same MQB A0 platform, the Kamiq is expected to, however, also feature a CNG powered version.