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Australian details for the 2016 Skoda Rapid Spaceback hatch have surfaced this week ahead of an expected August or September launch, thanks to an early update to the ‘car configurator’ feature on the company’s customer website.

News of the Rapid’s planned update came in March, when Skoda Australia director Michael Irmer told CarAdvice that two popular requests would soon be filled: satellite navigation and a new full-colour touchscreen.

Perhaps more important than those high-demand features is the appearance of an updated 1.4 litre four-cylinder petrol engine in the top-shelf Elegance model, offering improved fuel and emissions figures.

This is the same engine that powers Volkswagen’s recently introduced Golf 92TSI (which replaced the entry-level 90TSI), bumping power in the Rapid by 2kW to 92kW. Torque remains unchanged at 200Nm.

Fuel consumption is noteably improved, however, dropping from 6.0 l/100km in the MY15 Rapid to 4.9 l/100km in the MY16 model. Likewise, CO2 emissions slide from 139 to 114g/km.

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A 77kW 1.2 litre engine exists as the entry choice in the current range, although we might also see this option updated with the 2016 range. For now, Skoda isn’t saying.

In the cabin, the addition of a touch-screen display and satellite navigation will also see Skoda’s Smartlink system included, bringing connectivity with MirrorLink, Apple Carplay and Android Auto.

Opting for the ‘Image Pack’ will also add LED daytime running lights and 17-inch alloy wheels with a black finish.

Skoda will be looking to these updates to boost the Rapid’s appeal in Australia, with current year-to-date sales at just 208 units. June saw 36 Rapids find a new home, compared to 39 in June last year.

The Rapid’s 0.2 percent segment share places it at the very bottom end of the small-car sales ladder in 2015, where it shares space with the likes of the Toyota Prius hybrid (252 sales year-to-date) and even the Proton Prevé (128 YTD).

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Renault’s ageing Megane is comfortably ahead with 763 YTD sales, while the segment’s hero models continue to be the Toyota Corolla (21,750), Mazda3 (20,427) and the Hyundai i30 (15,801 – including a huge 5521 sales in June alone).

Still, Skoda appears satisfied with the Rapid’s performance in 2015 – for now. Speaking with CarAdvice in March, Skoda Australia director Michael Irmer said its current figures were “at expectation”.

“We know it’s a very busy segment with lots of offerings and to come up with a new car, it’s going to take time, as it took for all of our cars to establish themselves in the market, so we have set realistic expectations,” Irmer said.

Expect the updated Rapid range to hit Australia late in August or early in September.

Note: exterior photos feature the current 2015 Rapid. Photos of the updated 2016 model are still to come.

Thanks to CarAdvice reader Nathan for the tip on this latest Rapid news. Got a tip of your own? Tell us here.




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