Skoda brought its Rapid to Auto Expo dressed in gorgeous matte paint and red highlights. But it’s under the bonnet where the changes are more significant. Skoda’s sedan Rapid will now get a new 1 litre, 3-cylinder turbo charged petrol (possibly with 115 PS-200 Nm tune) engine that will be BS6 compliant. This engine, it seems, would be the main workhorse for VW Group in India as it will also power the upcoming VW Taigun.
Rapid 1.0 TSI will be priced similar to the BS4 trims with prices starting around Rs. 8 lakh and will be offered with both the 6-speed manual and 7-speed twin clutch DSG automatic gearboxes. The new Rapid will hit showrooms starting April, 2020.
With the coming of BS6 norms, the Volkswagen Group has, by and large, decided to dump the diesel engines in favour of petrol. So Skoda too will follow the suit by March 2020. And that means the torquey 1.5 litre TDI engine will no longer be available—it was arguably the best engine in its category.
The 2020 Skoda Rapid BS6 also gets a few very minor updates. The Marco Polo edition gets larger 17-inch alloy wheels. Further, the Rapid BS6 also comes in a new Matte concept. It’s expected to cost Rs 50,000 more than the standard model. The Rapid competes with Honda City, Maruti Suzuki Ciaz, Hyundai Verna and Volkswagen Vento.
The current model has been around for a while and has therefore lost some of its shine. Sales in the last six months have averaged less than 1,000 month which is half what segment leaders Honda City/Maruti Ciaz have managed. In many ways, these numbers indicate a loyal audience that Rapid, and for that matter, Vento have garnered over time. But still, there is only so much loyalty can help.
So, an all-new next-generation Rapid will land in India in 2021. This will be based on the new MQB A0 IN platform that has been developed exclusively for India. It is likely to look like a smaller version of Skoda Octavia. It’ll come as a notchback unlike the current car which is a proper 3-box saloon. In simpler words, it will come with a lift back tailgate a-la-the Skoda Octavia. The new Rapid will co-exist with the all-new Vento, which will get a conventional boot lid but will share its engines and platform with the new Skoda sedan. The Volkswagen Vento will also be launched in 2021, and will get major restyling.