VIENNA – Skoda releases the first photos of its new Rapid Spaceback hatchback slated to make its global debut at the Frankfurt auto show in September.
The new model is a shorter, hatchback version of the Rapid sedan that went into series production in summer 2012. The Rapid, Skoda’s seventh model family, is positioned between the Fabia and Octavia in thebrand’s lineup.
The Spaceback measures 169.3 ins. (430 cm) long overall, about 7 ins. (18 cm) shorter than the Rapid sedan. The wheelbase remains unchanged at 102.4 ins. (260.2 cm).
With the optional panoramic roof, tinted-glass surfaces extend all the way from the windshield deep into the rear door.
Four gasoline and two diesel engines will be available. The gasoline powerplant portfolio includes a naturally aspirated 74-hp 1.2L MPI engine; two turbocharged 1.2L TSI powerplants delivering 84 hp and 103 hp; and a 121-hp 1.4L TSI turbo.
Two 1.6L TDI CR turbocharged diesel engines deliver 88 hp and 103 hp.
Volume production of the Spaceback will start at Skoda’s plant in Mlada Boleslav, Czech Republic, following the summer shutdown.
However, while the Rapid sedan and its sibling SEAT Toledo share the assembly line with the larger Skoda Octavia, the Spaceback will be made on the same line as the smaller Fabia.
“Originally, we considered producing the Spaceback along with the Rapid (sedan) and Octavia, but production with the Fabia will offer us more variability,” Skoda Chairman Winfried Vahland is quoted as saying by Skodovacky odborar, the newspaper published by Skoda’s unions.
Thanks to the addition of the new model, the Fabia/Rapid Spaceback assembly line again will operate three shifts. Sales of the new model will start in October.
Skoda earlier confirmed the Rapid Spaceback also will be manufactured at ShanghaiAutomotive in China starting in 2014.
The Rapid sedan is produced in Czech Republic and China and assembled from semi-knocked-down kits in Ukraine and Kazakhstan. Output in Russia will start later this year.
Skoda also is manufacturing a Rapid sedan in India for local sale, but that car is technologically different from the European and Chinese Rapid.