Skoda is due to reveal an all-new generation of Rapid hatch next year. It should grow in size to match that of the VW Golf or Ford Focus, effectively moving it away from its current position between the Fabia city car and the Octavia. On that note, the new-gen model may not even be called Rapid. Since there is a lot of reshuffling within the Skoda range, the whole lineup could change, and the similarly-sized Octavia will be moved upmarket for its next generation.

Exterior

2019 Skoda Rapid Exterior Spyshots
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Recently caught testing, this Rapid replacement clearly looks bigger, even hidden under heavy camouflage, and its shape actually looks closer to that of the Rapid Spaceback (which will be discontinued) than the regular model.

Even if it’s mostly hidden, the prototype spotted by our spies appears to have a front fascia design closer to that of the current Fabia, with its slightly angled headlight design, while the back appears to be a shorter version of the Kodiaq rear end with hints of Spaceback.

It may also come with that model’s extended glass hatch, but the design of the rear light clusters will be new and not similar to any model.

Overall, it looks more aggressive than the current model and Skoda is trying to emphasize this through the Vision RS concept that it recently teased while hinting at a hot version of this new car. The design study teaser also suggests the body has a lot of sharp creases and chiseled design features to go with the new look.

Interior

2014 Skoda Rapid Spaceback Interior
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We didn’t get a look at the Rapid replacement’s interior in this current batch of spy photos, so our only hint as to what it’s going to be like remains the Vision RS teaser series of design sketches. It’s obviously an exaggeration of what the production car is to get, but it does show the design direction.

We can tell, for instance, that the center console will be dominated by a floating tablet-like infotainment display or that it may get a digital gauge cluster instead of traditional analog dials. It just looks like an evolution of what Skoda is currently doing with its interiors and should follow the brand’s usual minimalist approach.

Drivetrain

2019 Skoda Rapid Exterior Spyshots
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Underpinning the next Rapid is VW Group's modular MQB A0 platform (used in the group’s smaller offerings like the SEAT Ibiza or VW T-Roc), so that means it can accommodate pretty much all of the group’s three- and four-cylinder engines.

However, the engine range will probably mostly mirror that of the current Octavia and VW Golf.

Expect it to kick off with the group’s 1.0-liter TSI and 1.6-liter TDI units at the bottom of the range, while at the other end it may get a version of the 2.0-liter TSI used in the current Octavia RS, VW Golf GTI or SEAT Leon Cupra. It could get an evolved version of the 1.8-liter TSI unit from the current VW Polo GTI.

Transmission options will definitely include manual options for the weaker engines, but a DSG dual-clutch automatic will probably be standard equipment for the higher-powered models. Mild hybrid tech is also in the cards, although no hybrid, plug-in, or full EV version seems likely.

Prices

2019 Skoda Rapid Exterior Spyshots
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Growing in size means the Rapid replacement will also sport a price hike that could bring it up to the level of the current Octavia. Currently, the Octavia hatchback starts from around €16,000 which equates to nearly $19,000 - expect the new Rapid to start in this range as well.

Competition

VW Golf

2018 Volkswagen Golf High Resolution Exterior
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Since it’s going to be a bigger vehicle, the Rapid’s biggest rival will be from within the VW group: the Golf hatchback with which it will share many of its engines and some tech. The Golf, which kicks off at around €15,000 or $16,000 in Europe, needs no introduction as it’s instantly a globally recognizable model thanks to VW’s strategy of never drastically altering it or diverting from what it discovered is the winning formula.

But the Golf’s popularity is a direct result of how competent it is at doing pretty much anything you ask of it. The most recent version is not only efficient, supremely refined, and well built, but it’s also actually pretty fun to throw around a twisty road, bestowing the driver with confidence to push it without any fear.

Read our full review on the 2018 Volkswagen Golf.

Ford Focus

2019 Ford Focus Exterior Interior
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Ford’s latest Focus, whose starting price is very close to that of the Golf but varies from market to market, is one of the freshest and most advanced vehicles in its class and one that still emphasizes offering an engaging drive on top of all the usual family hatchback traits. Just like the Golf, the Focus is an established player on the scene, but unlike the Golf, its changes from generation to generation are more dramatic.

There is a lot to like about the Focus whose interior now matches the supremely well built Golf but offers a bit more design flair too. It’s also grown in its latest incarnation, offering more space and practicality than ever.

Read our full review on the 2019 Ford Focus.

Conclusion

2019 Skoda Rapid Exterior Spyshots
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The next-gen Skoda Rapid has its work cut out for it with this planned size increase that will have it facing a new set of established rivals. It needs a trick or two up its sleeve in order to stand a chance of making a dent in their sales numbers, but knowing Skoda, they have definitely thought this through, and there’s a clear strategy behind this move - we just don’t know the specifics yet.

The model will probably be offered as a performance model at some point - something we’ve already glimpsed at thanks to the RS Vision concept that was recently teased. This will certainly help boost the new Rapid’s appeal.

That said, tt also needs to undercut rivals on price, essentially trying to offer what they’re offering, but for less. Skoda, while it may not be perceived as a budget brand, doesn’t carry the same badge kudos as, say, a VW, so some compromise will have to be made in order to make the next-gen Rapid interesting for prospective buyers.

  • Leave it
    • Established rivals already on high pedestal and for good reason
    • Name change may confuse buyers

Further reading

2014 Skoda Rapid Spaceback High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2014 Skoda Rapid Spaceback.

2013 Skoda Rapid High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Read our full review on the 2013 Skoda Rapid.

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