Skoda might have largely replaced itsRapidwith the more sophisticatedScala, but the former has been so successful in Russia that the company has evidently seen fit to leave it there. Instead, the Czech carmaker has drafted a second, more comprehensive facelift for the budget-oriented family notchback, giving it a new look more in line with the rest of its modern lineup.
To that end, the car has received a heavily creased front end, consisting of a hexagonal grille that is linked to the arrow-shaped LED headlights. This, together with the full-width lower air intake and horizontal fog lights, makes the car appear wider. The rear end also gets broader L-shaped tail lights, a re-profiled bumper design and spaced-out Skoda script on the bootlid.
The wheel options available measure up to 16 inches in diameter, and unique to Russia is a standard-fit “bad road” package that adds a raised ride height to protect against chassis damage. Inside, the Rapid gains a new dashboard that is again inspired by recent Skoda models, incorporating a cutout for the freestanding centre touchscreen that measures either 6.5 inches or 8.0 inches across.
Elsewhere, you get two USB-C ports and the steering wheel is now a two-spoke item, although you can still specify a heated three-spoke sports wheel if you so wish, along with sports seats. Safety-wise, the Rapid is now available with autonomous emergency braking, while hill start assist is also on the options list.
Two engines will be offered, starting with a 1.6 litre MPI naturally-aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine with either 90 PS and a five-speed manual gearbox or 110 PS and the option of a conventional six-speed automatic. There’s also a 1.4 litre TSI turbo four-pot with 125 PS and a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission.
After trying to pursue a career in product design, Jonathan Lee decided to make the sideways jump into the world of car journalism instead. He therefore appreciates the aesthetic appeal of a car, but for him, the driving experience is still second to none.