Skoda Rapid production ends in India after 10-year run, to be replaced by City-rivalling Skoda Slavia

The Skoda Rapid’s India journey has come to an end, with the company confirming its ageing midsize sedan has finally gone out of production after a truly long stint. Skoda India Brand Director Zac Hollis confirmed the news on Twitter in response to a customer’s query about a potential update for the sedan in 2022, stating the recently-launched Matte edition marked the final batch of Rapid sedans, and also revealing the Rapid found over one lakh customers during its lifetime in India, also commanding as much as 10 percent of the midsize sedan segment in the country this year.

Based on the old PQ25 platform, the Skoda Rapid shared its underpinnings with its mechanical twin, the Volkswagen Vento – which is also set to be phased out – and went on sale all the way back in 2011. While it was always a classy midsize sedan with solid fundamentals, sorted driving dynamics and offered a choice of punchy petrol and diesel engines, it couldn’t keep up with evolving competition. The Honda City, Maruti Suzuki Ciaz and Hyundai Verna all traded top spots in the midsize sedan segment over the years, offering a combination of new-age tech, space and powertrain choices, while the Rapid, owing to a lack of updates, lost its sheen over time.

The Skoda Rapid caught a second wind late in its lifecycle with the BS6 update bringing in the 1.0-litre TSI engine and an affordable 'Rider' variant. Image: Skoda

That said, the Rapid did catch a late second wind in its lifecycle with the BS6 update, which saw it drop older engine options and be equipped with a 1.0-litre, three-cylinder TSI turbo-petrol engine. Skoda made it even more affordable by rolling out the ‘Rider’ variant of the sedan as part of this update, which led to a commendable rise in sales in 2020. So high was the demand, that Skoda had suspended sales of the Rider, and instead introduced a slightly more expensive Rapid Rider Plus variant last year.

The Rapid has gone out of production as Skoda gears up to introduce its all-new midsize sedan, the Skoda Slavia, which will make its world premiere on 18 November and is expected to go on sale early in 2022. While the company has refrained from giving too much away at this point, it says the Slavia (which is based on the same MQB-A0-IN platform as the Skoda Kushaq) will be ‘an elegant, powerful and safe saloon car’ that will follow in the footsteps of the bigger, more powerful and more luxurious Skoda Octavia and Skoda Superb sedans. Tech2 understands that with the Slavia, Skoda will focus equally on driving pleasure as well as rear seat comfort, with space for rear passengers being among the top priorities for the company.

The Skoda Slavia will be among the biggest midsize sedans on sale in India. Image: Skoda

Expect to see an interior similar to that of the Kushaq with several elements – such as the 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system two-spoke steering wheel, a touch-sensitive climate control panel and vital control switches – to be carried over from the midsize SUV, but Skoda is likely to add some more feel-good features to the Slavia. Six airbags will be offered on the top-spec trims of the Slavia.

Just like the Kushaq, the Skoda Slavia, too, will be offered will be two turbo-petrol engine options – a 1.0-litre, three-cylinder TSI that makes 110 hp and 175 Nm of torque, and a 1.5-litre, four-cylinder TSI producing 150 hp and 250 Nm of torque. A six-speed manual will be available with both engines; the 1.0 TSI will have the option of a six-speed torque convertor automatic, while the 1.5 TSI – aimed at driving enthusiasts – will be available with a seven-speed DSG automatic (with paddle shifters). There will be no diesel engine on offer, but the 1.5-litre TSI will feature active cylinder deactivation tech, which will help boost fuel efficiency.

The Skoda Slavia will be offered with 1.0-litre TSI and 1.5-litre TSI engine options. Image: Skoda

Expect Skoda Slavia prices to range from Rs 10-17 lakh (ex-showroom), which will enable it to go head-on against the fifth-generation Honda City, Hyundai Verna, Maruti Suzuki Ciaz and the upcoming Toyota Belta. It will also compete against its cousin from Volkswagen, which will be based on the same platform, and will be launched a little after the Slavia.

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