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Skoda's compact Rapid sits between the Fabia and Octavia in the Czech brand's offerings, and new changes to the car are set to be shown at the Geneva Motor Show. Both hatchback and Spaceback models benefit from the upgrades.
The front bumper gets a reshaped lower section, containing new foglights, while a chrome strip (on certain trim levels) spans between the bi-xenon headlights. Handily, the 'Light Assistant' takes care of activating the main beams depending on available daylight, while the high beam is automatically dipped at night if the sensors detect vehicles ahead or oncoming traffic up to one kilometre away. There's also a selection of new wheel designs.
Small details abound, like new inlays on each door, reshaped air vents and improved heater controls and instrument displays. Skoda Connect is optional, and features Infotainment Online and CareConnect services. The former function displays handy information like fuel stations and prices along with the usual navigation capabilities, while the latter has an automatic emergency services notification function if it detects that a restraint system has been triggered. The Proactive Service feature can send vehicle diagnostic information to a workshop prior to a service, enabling swifter turnaround times.
In addition to the existing line-up of petrol and diesel engines, a new 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol unit will be available. Power outputs of 95hp or 110hp can be specified, with the more potent option giving a 0-100km/h time of 9.8 seconds. The new powerplant boasts some neat features including an aluminium crankcase in the interests of weight saving. Unusually for a three-cylinder engine, it does without a balancing shaft to further reduce weight and inertia, and fuel economy of up to 64.2mpg is said to be achievable. Skoda will equip all of the Rapid's powertrains with brake energy recovery and stop-start.
Safety aids such as ESC and tyre-pressure monitoring are standard, while fatigue detection and Front Assist can be optioned. Following Skoda's 'Simply Clever' philosophy, handy day-to-day items like an ice scraper and an umbrella are also available, and are designed specifically to fit into the car's storage compartments without taking up extra space.
Up until the end of March, Skoda is offering an added incentive on the outgoing model. Cathal Kealey, PR Manager at Skoda Ireland, said: "In anticipation of the fantastic new Rapid and Rapid Spaceback we are currently offering up to €4,000 scrappage on the current Rapid range until the end of March to ensure the best value for our customers throughout 2017."
The Rapid and Rapid Spaceback will be on display at the Geneva Motor Show from March 9th.