While the Rapid is technically already a hatchback, it looks more like a saloon, with a traditional three-box shape. The newcomer will be more recognisable as a hatch – like the Golf or Ford Focus – and promises to be more stylish, too.
Losing the saloon shape will reduce the size of the Rapid’s massive 550-litre boot – probably to more like the Golf’s 350-litre load area. But Skoda hopes the newcomer will appeal to a new type of customer: those who put attractive design a little higher on the agenda.
Skoda gave us a glimpse at how this new model could look with its Vision D concept at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. Its sharp creases, bold grille and narrow headlights will all make production.
Engines will be shared with the Rapid, so a 104bhp 1.6 TDI diesel and 1.2 TSI turbo petrol with 104bhp will both be offered. Topping the range could be a 138bhp 2.0 TDI and a 1.4 TSI producing 158bhp.
Skoda has yet to decide whether to use the Rapid name for the new five-door, but it’s set to be unveiled in mid-2013, priced at around £13,000. That’s roughly £1,000 more than the Rapid, but still significantly cheaper than the Golf or Focus.