The 2021 Rapid will be a petrol-only offering as Skoda-Volkswagen is looking to ditch diesel engines on small cars in the BS6 era

  • Second-gen Rapid features an all-new design inside-out.
  • Next-gen Rapid will be a notchback, which means the rear glass lifts with the boot.
  • Packs features like all-digital instrument cluster, large floating touchscreen and LED headlights.
  • India-spec Rapid will only come with the 1.0-litre turbo petrol engine mated to either a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed DSG transmission.
  • India-launch expected in 2021
  • Expect it to be priced in between Rs 9 lakh and Rs 14 lakh.

Skoda recently revealed the next-generation Rapid, which will come to India sometime in 2021, based on the VW Group’s smallest modular platform, the MQB A0. The current Rapid in India has soldiered on unchanged since 2011, barring the facelift which resculpted the front-end of the car, and added a few features.

The second-gen Rapid for India will be based on the localised MQB A0 platform christened the MQB A0-IN. Skoda plans to achieve up to 95 per cent localisation levels for the modular platform.

The design of the new Skoda Rapid has become a little more grown up, and now looks more upmarket too. It is quite similar to that of its hatchback cousin Scala. The traditional Skoda grille is present in the center and doesn’t looks like its been changed much. The headlamps are a different story though. The facelift for the Rapid had already sharpened its design and the new model  look even sharper, similar to other Skoda models. The fog lamps are now slimmer but the air dam below retains its honeycomb grille.

Look at it from the side and the design doesn’t seem to have changed a lot. It does seem like it has gotten a bit tighter and that’s a good thing in my books.

Move around to the back and the biggest change isn’t in how it looks, but the structural design of the Rapid. The Rapid is now a notchback or to put it simply, the entire glass section at the back is part of the boot lid just like the Octavia. Skoda is now spelled out in the centre of the boot which has become the trend among carmakers and the tail lamp design is sleeker and horizontally spread out, compared to the vertically stacked design of the current model. We also expect the 2021 Rapid to grow in size just like the Volkswagen Virtus, the successor to the Vento.

Skoda has revamped the interior design as well. Gone are the dated dual tone interiors of the Rapid which has been unchanged for the longest time. Instead, you get a black interior with a thick silver applique running across the width of the dashboard. The touchscreen has a floaty appearance now, and the overall black appearance of the cabin makes it look more sporty. The steering wheel has also been updated and the instrument cluster is an all-digital affair.

On the engine front, Skoda is offering the 1.6-litre petrol engine on the Rapid in Russia. In India, however, it will be offered with the 1.0-litre TSI engine from the VW Group that can be tuned to make 95PS/175Nm or 115PS/200Nm. Skoda could also choose to offer a CNG variant of the 1.0-litre TSI engine, which is already available in Europe. The gearboxes available will be a choice between a 6-speed manual and a 7-speed DSG. Skoda Auto Volkswagen India plans to ditch diesel engines for its cars in India in the upcoming BS6 era, that is from April 2020.

The current Rapid retails between Rs 8.81 lakh and Rs 14.25 lakh (both ex-showroom) and we expect the 2021 Skoda Rapid to be priced between Rs 9 lakh and Rs 14 lakh when it gets launched in India. It will continue to compete against the likes of Honda City, Hyundai Verna, Maruti Suzuki Ciaz and the lot.

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