Skoda will reveal its new compact hatchback, an indirect replacement for the Rapid, by the end of the year.
The model is intended to be a more direct competitor than the Rapid to the big players in the volume hatchback segment such as the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra.
Skoda sales and marketing boss Alain Favey confirmed to Autocar earlier this year that the hatchback would not be called Rapid and would have a new name.
Favey said: “How should I put this? Our presence [in this segment] is very humble. With the current Rapid Spaceback, we didn’t manage to come through to convince people that we are a credible competitor in this segment.”
He added that it would have completely new technology and new styling.
The new sketch, released by Skoda today, hints at the styling of the car. It follows on from the Vision RS concept at Paris motor show which also showed the design direction of the upcoming hatchback.
Skoda will drop the slow-selling liftback version and concentrate on the Spaceback hatch for the new Rapid.
The five-door model will be the first Skoda car to use the Volkswagen Group’s MQB AO platform which is already used on models such as VW T-Roc and Seat Ibiza. Skoda’s next Fabia, due in 2020, and its upcoming baby SUV, previewed in the Vision X concept, are also due to use the same architecture.
Skoda said the platform will allow the hatchback to have “compact exterior dimensions and generous interior space”. It added that the car would use “numerous innovative assistance systems in that segment”.
The Rapid will also be the first Skoda to receive a next-generation infotainment system which will be rolled out across the Skoda range. Favey has described it as “state of the art”.
The model will use a range of petrol and diesel engines, including VW Group’s three-cylinder 1.0-litre petrol with power from 84bhp to 109bhp as well as a 1.5-litre unit petrol with up to 148bhp. No hybrid or electric versions are planned, and are understood to be too expensive for this size and cost of car.
The Rapid is Skoda’s second biggest selling car worldwide after the Octavia. In 2017, it sold 211,000 units. Favey predicts that sales will double for the new model.
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