The Skoda Rapid Spaceback has been unveiled at the Frankfurt motor show, alongside plans for a host of new models.
The second variant of the Rapid will be followed by a mildly facelifted Yeti, planned for the end of the year.
Skoda says it is also working on a more sporting, Range Rover Evoque-inspired version of its upcoming seven-seat SUV. Development of the new SUV - which is based on the biggest version of the VW Group’s MQB platform - is racing ahead, but the sporty version is said to have “already come off the drawing board”. The big SUV will replace the Superb as the firm’s flagship model and is likely to bear the same name.
Next year Skoda will launch the new Fabia supermini. Despite its age, today’s Fabia is Skoda’s best-selling model in the UK. The 11,657 units sold in the first six months of 2013 were more than double the Octavia’s 5384 sales. The new Fabia is based on the smallest version of the MQB platform, so it is expected to be half a size bigger than today’s car.
The new Rapid Spaceback is all-new from the B-pillars back. Although it retains the same 2602mm wheelbase as the standard hatchback, the new model is 180mm shorter due to a reduced rear overhang.
Luggage space has been reduced from 550 to 415 litres, although Skoda claims passenger space to be the best in its class. An optional double cargo floor allows two horizontal levels of storage is offered alongside features from the Rapid hatchback, including an ice scraper in the fuel filler flap.
Skoda will offer the Rapid Spaceback with a range of customisation options in an effort to increase appeal for younger customers. Options include a full-length tinted glass roof and a “prolong” rear window which extends the tint further along the car.
The Rapid Sportback will be offered with four petrol and two diesel engine options, all of which are likely to be offered in the UK. Petrol engines include 1.2-litre TSI units offered in outputs of 74, 84 and 104bhp, while the 1.4-litre TSI unit produces 120bhp. The diesel line-up will include a new-to-the Rapid 88bhp unit offering a claimed 74.3mpg and 99g/km in Greenline specification.
UK sales are expected to begin at the end of 2013. Pricing is yet to be confirmed, although the Spaceback is likely to attract a small premium over the hatchback.
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Stuart Milne & Hilton Holloway