The Rapid will go on sale in Europe in late 2012, followed by Australia in 2013, and will sit in the Skoda range between the Fabia city car and mid-sized Octavia.
The production Skoda Rapid carries over a number of cues from the Mission L concept that previewed the new compact sedan.
It also introduces a new design language for the brand that has been rejuvenated under Volkswagen ownership since the 1990s, displaying sharply chiselled bodywork we can expect to see on future Skoda models such as the next-generation Octavia also due in 2013.
The four-door, five-seater Rapid is 4.48 metres long, making it longer than a Golf hatch but shorter than the 4.57m Octavia that is likely to grow again in 2013.
It follows the Octavia with a ‘liftback’ tailgate rather than a conventional bootlid for accessing the rear cargo area.
A hatchback version will follow in 2013, however.
The Skoda Rapid should start at a lower price point than the Volkswagen Golf, with Skoda promising it will have an “excellent price-value ratio”.
Pricing will be helped by the Rapid adopting a cheaper construction than other VW Group small cars, being built on a different platform to the ‘MQB’ modular architecture that is underpinning models such as the all-new VW Golf and Audi A3 due in Australia early next year. It will also feature a cheaper torsion beam suspension rather than the more sophisticated multi-link set-up.
In Europe the Skoda Rapid will be offered with a choice of five petrol and two diesel engines, all from the VW Group’s powerplant stable.
The new Skoda Rapid will make its debut in late September at the 2012 Paris motor show.
Its arrival in Australia will further bolster a Skoda line-up that continues to expand since the brand returned in 2007.