The new Rapid Monte Carlo marks the return of the sporty badge in Australia, and the 2016 model will replace the Rapid Elegance, priced from $22,990 plus on-road costs for the six-speed manual (known as the 81TSI), while the 92TSI dual-clutch (DSG) automatic will be positioned at $25,790 plus on-roads.
Those prices put the Monte Carlo a little dearer than the existing Elegance, which kicked off at $23,750 and came with the existing 90kW 1.4-litre turbocharged engine and the seven-speed dual-clutch (DSG) automatic as standard.
However, according to the Volkswagen-owned Czech brand the Monte Carlo will “offer customers a new higher level of specification above the standard Rapid model with a raft of sports-themed visual cues”.
The styling changes include 17-inch black ‘Savio’ alloy wheels (Note: 16-inch wheels pictured in images above) and xenon headlights, along with the typical darkened elements such black headlight and fog-light surrounds, a black grille, black side mirrors and an extended glass tailgate.
There’s also a panoramic glass roof that lets light in to the revised cabin, which includes carbon-style dashboard finishes, black instrument clusters and revised door sills.
Equipment highlights over the standard Rapid model include rear parking sensors, auto on/off headlights, rain sensing wipers, front fog-lights with cornering function and height adjustable driver and passenger seats.
All models in the updated Rapid range are now equipped with a 5.0 inch touch display (replacing the previous model's monochrome display as shown below (new photos are still to come)). Optional 'Image' and 'Tech' packs are also available to upgrade that to a 6.5 inch display with Skoda's Smartlink system, which brings Apple Carplay and Android Auto smartphone integration. Read more about the updated Rapid range here.
If those engine monikers seem unusual, that’s because they’ve changed compared to the 2015 Rapid. The brand’s updated 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine has been tweaked for more power and better efficiency with the auto gearbox, while the 1.2-litre turbo manual has also been squeezed for performance and economy.
The manual version now has 81kW of power where it previously pumped out 77kW (hence the 81TSI name), while torque remains at 175Nm. Fuel use for the updated version is yet to be confirmed, though it currently uses just 5.4 litres per 100 kilometres.
The auto now produces 92kW of power (yep, 92TSI) and 200Nm of torque. Fuel use is expected to drop from the existing Euro 5-compliant engine’s 6.0L/100km to just 4.9L/100km for the revised Euro 6 powerplant.
Director of Skoda Australia, Michael Irmer, said he was pleased to see the Monte Carlo badge return to Australia following the cessation of the Fabia Monte Carlo model in 2014.
“The Fabia Monte Carlo was a great car in our range and one that customers loved. We’re very pleased to be introducing a new Monte Carlo to our range, this time offering the unique upgrades to the extremely versatile Rapid model. It seems you can have your cake and eat it too,” Irmer said.
Skoda has now confirmed the standard fit of a 5.0 inch display, along with the option of a 6.5 inch display with SmartLink, which adds Apple Carplay and Android Auto.