The Rapid Spaceback hatch joins the Rapid liftback sedan in the Volkswagen-owned Czech brand's new small-car family.
Skoda Australia public relations manager Kurt McGuiness told CarAdvice the Skoda Rapid Spaceback would arrive in local showrooms in the first half of 2014.
McGuiness admitted the local division’s original plan to introduce the Rapid liftback – initially scheduled to launch in mid 2013 – had been canned, however, as it focused its efforts on the five-door, which it believes will be the more popular variant.
“We wanted to wait for this model before launching the Rapid as it sits in the larger small hatch market,” he said.
“At this stage we’re just going to focus on our volume seller for now.”
The Skoda Rapid Spaceback becomes the brand’s first true competitor in the small hatch segment, sitting between the city-sized Fabia and the larger Octavia to tackle the likes of the Toyota Corolla, Mazda 3, Volkswagen Golf, and other top-selling compact cars.
The Spaceback shares its front-end styling with the Rapid liftback but is distinguishable from the side and rear where uniquely blends hatchback and wagon proportions.
Despite being 180mm shorter nose-to-tail, the Rapid Spaceback shares its 2602mm wheelbase with the liftback. Skoda says the hatch offers more rear headroom and legroom than its direct competitors, and has one of the largest rear cargo areas with the back seats upright (415 litres) or folded forwards (1380L) – though trails the dimensions of the liftback (550L/1490L).
Unique to the Spaceback is the optional double cargo floor, which allows the boot to be divided into two horizontal levels for added utility. The clever ice scraper in the fuel filler cap and the safety vest under the driver’s seat carry over from the liftback.
The Rapid Spaceback will be offered with four petrol and two diesel engines in Europe, with the most efficient of these consuming 3.8 litres per 100km on the combined cycle.
While specifications of the Australian line-up are yet to be confirmed, the 77TSI and 90TSI turbocharged petrol engines originally announced for the liftback are expected to be available from launch. In the liftback, the 77kW/175Nm 1.2-litre 77TSI consumes 5.0-5.4L/100km on the combined cycle and accelerates from 0-100km/h in 10.4 seconds, while the 90kW/200Nm 1.4-litre 90TSI consumes 5.3-5.8L/100km and sprints to triple figures in 9.5sec. These figures are expected to carry over to the Spaceback.
A diesel engine is also expected, likely the 66kW/230Nm 1.6-litre 66TDI that consumes 4.2-4.3L/100km in the sedan. All engines are available with five-speed (diesel)/six-speed (petrol) manual and seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmissions.
More details will be revealed when the Skoda Rapid Spaceback debuts in Frankfurt in September.