Skoda has previewed the final look of its new Rapid production car in this series of official design sketches. The new five-door model blends saloon and hatchback bodystyles and will bridge the gap between Skoda’s Fabia and Octavia models.
The Rapid confirms Skoda’s new design language – to be rolled out into the wider range over the next couple of years – which is most evident in the heavily reworked nose that sets the newly monochrome badge back from the grille, with sharpened headlight lenses and similarly trapezoidal, oversized fog lights that are even wider than the Mission L concept’s.
The concept – which previewed the new Rapid at last year’s Frankfurt motor show – has had its lower front grille pattern rationalised into a more coherent octagon pattern, but the design is otherwise very close to the final look of the Rapid.
The Mission L’s Aston Martin-style pop-out door handles have been replaced with conventional cowled levers, but the piano black B-pillars are retained. As in Frankfurt, chrome touches are limited to the Skoda badges and front grille surround, unlike the much showier version of the Mission L seen on display in Beijing in April, reflecting the regional identity the Czech manufacturer has planned for different markets.
Speaking at the company’s Mladá Boleslav design centre near Prague, Skoda design boss Jozef Kaban called the new look “elegant, but to the point and practical” and “a reduced but attractive design.” He hopes the design language’s simplicity will age gracefully, believing “less detail encourages long-term attractiveness.”
Interior design is less ambitious and largely reflects existing Skoda fayre, but the car’s long wheelbase allows exceptionally generous rear legroom, and torsion beam rear suspension helps create a cavernous boot space.
The Rapid is mooted to trump the current Octavia (which is only slightly longer overall) in both respects, and uses a stretched version of the current VW Polo’s platform. It’s expected that engine choices will be limited to sub-two-litre VW Group options to avoid excessive overlap with Octavia powertrains.
The production version is due to be unveiled this summer before going on sale by the end of the year.