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AIMS: Rapid entrance for Skoda small car

Rapid response: Fresh from its unveiling in Paris, Skoda’s all-new Rapid small car is set to impress show-goers in Sydney.

Skoda’s all-new Rapid arrives in Sydney as upgraded Fabia, Octavia details emerge

Skoda logo16 Oct 2012

By TERRY MARTIN

SKODA’S all-new Rapid small car is the main event at the rapidly expanding Volkswagen Group’s Czech brand stand in Sydney this week, arriving for its southern hemisphere debut just weeks after appearing in the metal for the first time at the Paris motor show.

Although not anticipated in Sydney, GoAuto can also reveal that Skoda looks poised to introduce an MY13 upgrade of its Fabia light car, with official homologation documents showing that a 77kW 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel 77TDI and 63kW 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol ’63 MPI’ have both received ADR approval and are expected to soon join the range.

The normally aspirated 1.6-litre engine will provide Skoda with a new entry model for the Fabia hatch range, which currently starts from $18,990 (plus on-road costs) for the smaller-capacity but higher-output 77kW/175Nm 1.2-litre turbo-petrol 77TSI.

While the 1.6 petrol is not slated for the wagon version at this stage, the 77TDI – Fabia’s first diesel – has been homologated for the MY13 Fabia wagon.

The Octavia mid-size sedan and wagon range is also in line for a sales-boosting MY13 upgrade including new engines for both body styles.

29 center imageSkoda has received ADR approval for a normally aspirated 75kW 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine (dubbed the 75FSI) that would slot below the current base 90kW 1.4-litre turbo-petrol 90TSI, as well as a mid-range 81TDI (81kW) turbo-diesel – a slightly lower-output version of the 2.0-litre 103TDI (103kW) that slots in just above the current 1.9-litre 77TDI (77kW).

The new-generation Octavia is understood to be just weeks away from a global premiere, but no surprises are expected on Skoda’s Sydney motor show stand to take the limelight away from the Rapid’s unveiling.

That means no go for the forthcoming Citigo – the Up-based city car that is a likely contender for next year’s Melbourne motor show in June, which is around the time it is due to be launched in Australia – and ditto for other model upgrades expected in the coming months, including least one new two-wheel-drive variant of the Yeti compact SUV.

Skoda Group Australia has advised that the Rapid will be launched here in the first half of 2013, ready to make its mark on the biggest market segment in Australia with a range that embodies Skoda’s increasingly popular strategy of competitive pricing, high list of standard features and proven VW Group powertrains and engineering.

While Australian specifications are still to be revealed, the Rapid is now entering showrooms throughout Europe with a range of familiar powertrains, including the aforementioned 1.2-litre 77TSI and 1.4-litre 90TSI turbo-petrol engines, and the 1.9-litre 77TDI.

Other petrol and diesel engines are also in the mix.

As GoAuto has reported, the Rapid will slot between Fabia and Octavia in Skoda’s range, and although its overall dimensions are only just shy of the current Octavia – and its 2602mm wheelbase is 24mm longer – the redesigned Octavia due here in the second half of 2013 will be substantially bigger than the current model.

The Rapid’s boot shares the Octavia’s liftback design and has a claimed best-in-class capacity of 550 litres, just 10 litres short of the current Octavia. Skoda also claims the cabin has class-leading headroom and knee-room, making it ideal for the family audience the company is targeting.

Skoda sales are up 65.6 per cent so far this year, helped along by the new Yeti – now the biggest-selling model for the brand – and Fabia, as well as the recent return of the Roomster people-mover.

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