Skoda Test Car Spied With An Identity Crisis, Thinks It's A SEAT
7 September 2017 - motor1
Or is it the other way around?
Excluding the Citigo city car that won't receive a new generation due to poor demand, the Rapid is Skoda's oldest model in its growing lineup. It would seem the manufacturer from Czech Republic has now commenced public road testing of a successor by using the body of the latest SEAT Ibiza supermini. Some changes have been made as the vehicle suffers from an identity disorder since it carries Skoda's corporate front grille and the winged arrow logo on the wheels.
The Rapid in both its standard and Spaceback configurations was updated earlier this year for the Geneva Motor Show and by the looks of it work is already well underway for the next generation. It should arrive either by the end of 2018 or early 2019 and will make the switch to the MQB platform used by all Skodas, with the exception of the aforementioned Citigo and the Fabia supermini, though the latter has some MQB-derived hardware.
Hopefully, the rather bland design of the current models will make way for something a little bit more exciting, although Skoda models have never really shined in that department. For similar cars with more styling pizzaz, SEATs are generally more attractive, but can't match the practicality of the models coming from Mladá Boleslav. That's one of the main reasons why the two brands can peacefully coexist under the Volkswagen Group's large umbrella as the automakers are targeting different people. Skodas are more desirable among customers putting practicality as top priority while SEATs are sportier.
Since it's destined to become a member of the continuously increasing MQB family, we already have an idea about the engines and technologies by looking at the new Polo and Ibiza that share the shortest version of the platform dubbed "MQB A0."
Once again, the Rapid will serve as a cheaper and smaller alternative to the Octavia, which has been growing in size, price, and refinement significantly from the first gen launched late 1996, thus creating a gap that needed to be filled by the Rapid.
As a final note, we are not excluding the possibility of this being an early look at the next-gen Fabia. If that's correct, it means the supermini will skip the typical mid-cycle facelift to receive the full MQB goods like its sister models, the Polo and Ibiza.