In Europe, Skoda sells the Scala hatchback. It is a direct rival for the VW Golf, which is an extremely popular model in several developed automotive markets around the globe. In developing markets such as Russia, that segment of hatchbacks still does not exist. That said, there is a space for a similarly sized sedan. And that’s where the Skoda Rapid finds a slot. What you see here is the all-new, second-gen Rapid that has debuted in Russia.
There’s no escaping the fact that it looks very similar to the Skoda Scala. At the front, it is quite-literally a copy-and-paste job, whereas side profile shouts out to its predecessor. It is at the rear-end where the Rapid differs from the Scala. The former gets a notchback (three-box) layout but features the same sort of taillamp enclosures as the latter. Most will agree that the new Rapid is a striking looking thing. That said, it could get design tweaks for other markets.
The similarity with the Scala runs indoors too. For instance, the dashboard layout is almost identical. A digital instrument cluster accompanies the sporty, flat-bottomed, multifunction steering wheel. Next to it is a floating infotainment system which stretches up to 8.0 inches diagonally, depending on the variant. Features like automatic climate control, push-button start/stop, powered ORVMs and heated steering wheel are also on offer.
In Russia, the Rapid will continue with the choice of 1.4- and 1.6-litre petrol engines, with the options of either a manual transmission or a DSG. In India, on the other hand, the Rapid will soon gain a BS6 (Bharat Stage 6) badge by ditching both its current engines and boasting a 1.0-litre TSI mill. The same engine will also find its place in the Volkswagen Vento as well. For the record, the BS6 standards of emission norms are slightly stricter than Euro 6 norms.
The new Rapid is not heading to India just yet. Instead, the current model will get a slight makeover alongside its powertrain changes. This move comes on the back of Volkswagen Group’s India 2.0 project, under which the next new model will be a Creta-rivalling compact SUV. Underpinned by the MQB-A0-IN platform, that SUV will form the basis of similarly-sized VW SUV. The same architecture will later spawn other locally-manufactured products from the duo. That’s when the new Rapid will take shape for India.