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Paris show: Skoda previews new hot hatch concept

Sporty replacement for Skoda Rapid set to debut in concept form at Paris show

31 Aug 2018

SKODA has provided its first glimpse of a future small performance car that is likely to replace the Rapid as the company’s Toyota Corolla fighter.
The Czech car-maker has revealed a pair of sketches of its Vision RS concept ahead of its reveal at this year’s Paris motor show, and while Skoda is yet to confirm solid details, it said the concept will show the “next design phase for its sporting RS model range”, as well as providing a peak at its next C-segment hatchback.
The Rapid landed in Australia in May 2014 after going on sale in parts of Europe in late-2012, but it is a low-volume model for the VW Group brand’s local arm.
However, Australian Skoda executives have previously stated their desire for a more competitive offering, with the second-generation model to more effectively take the fight to the big guns in the small-car segment, such as the Toyota Corolla, Mazda3, Hyundai i30 and even its VW Golf cousin.
The Vision RS concept measures 4356mm long, 1810mm wide, 1431mm high and with a 2650mm wheelbase, placing it somewhere between the current Mk7 Golf and the Mazda3.
Skoda says the Vision RS was designed with aerodynamics front of mind, with a “precisely defined” front end, slim headlights, a rear diffuser and an aerodynamically optimised roof spoiler.
It appears to feature a similar headlight and tail-light design theme to some of Skoda’s current models, including the Superb, Kodiaq and Karoq.
Volkswagen Group Australia general manager of corporate communications Paul Pottinger said the company would be keen to add another performance model to its local stable to sit alongside the Octavia RS.
“If it came to fruition as a production car, we would covet it,” he told GoAuto. “Most assuredly we would be very keen to add it to the RS line-up – because the RS line-up consists of one model line-up at the moment (Octavia) –  so it would be logical and highly desirable to have one underneath that.”
Skoda used to offer a sporty RS version of the previous Fabia, but it has not been continued for the current-generation model, leaving the Octavia as its sole performance offering Down Under.
As well as the Vision RS concept, Skoda will rip the covers from the highly-anticipated Kodiaq RS at this year’s Paris show. 
It will be powered by a 2.0-litre twin-turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine that produces 176kW/500Nm, but its Australian chances have been hampered by the fact that Australia is classified as a hot-weather climate.
However, Mr Pottinger said VGA was pushing to ensure the hot SUV can eventually get the green light for an Australian launch.
“We are currently engaging with the factory... in having our climate designation changed so vehicles such as the Kodiaq RS would become available to us.”

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