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by Tim Beissmann

Our spy photographers have given us our first look at the new small car from Skoda – believed to be called the Rapid – ahead of its anticipated unveiling later this year.

The Rapid will slot into the Czech brand’s line-up between the light Fabia and the next-generation Octavia, which is set to grow from its current small/medium size to become a proper medium car in 2013.

The Rapid’s design draws inspiration from the Skoda MissionL concept that debuted at last year’s Frankfurt motor show.

Although the production model will feature the latest expression of Skoda’s design language – including sharper details and bolder panels and contours – the new model will not ride on the Volkswagen Group’s new MQB multi-vehicle platform.

Instead, it will make do with older underpinnings, allowing Skoda to release it earlier and reduce development and production costs. Despite the old platform, our spy photographers suggest it will benefit from the latest Volkswagen Group engine and transmission technology.

The Rapid sedan is expected to feature a ‘liftback’ rear hatch like the current Octavia, comprising the boot and rear windscreen for easier access.

Skoda first used the Rapid name in 1984 for a coupe based on the brand’s 130 sedan. The name was resurrected last year for a Skoda light car produced and sold in India, although the Rapid name is believed to be favoured for the upcoming small car across international markets.




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