The car Skoda expects to become its biggest seller in Australia made its local debut at the Sydney motor show today.The Skoda Rapid is a small hatchback powered by a choice of 77kW 1.2-litre and 90kW 1.4-litre turbo-petrol engines, and is aimed at the heart of Australia’s largest new vehicle sales segment and such rivals as the Mazda3 and Toyota Corolla.
A 66kW turbo-diesel version is also expected when the model goes on sale here early in Q2 next year (2013). Initially, the diesel-powered version will be available only with a manual transmission, with DSG variants to arrive "later on in the year".It will go on sale promising typical Skoda assets; value pricing and enough interior space to fit five passengers, as well as their gear in a huge 530-litre boot (that has a full-size spare wheel under the floor). That's bigger than Holden Commodore and Toyota Camry.Transmission choices are expected to include six-speed manual and seven-speed DSG dual-clutch gearboxes (six-speed likely for turbo-diesel variants).While pricing will not be officially confirmed at the show, $20,990 is the mooted starting point for a car which will slot between the Fabia and Octavia in terms of price and size.However, the Rapid’s sales volume aspirations won’t be fully realised until an even more commodious ‘Spaceback’ body style goes on sale here in early 2014.Skoda Australia wasn’t giving much away about the Rapid’s equipment level at the show, but did admit it will include six airbags, five lap-sash safety belts and such intriguing interior storage features as a refuse bin and double-sided boot floor.The exterior of the 4.48-metre Rapid presents the VW-owned Czech brand’s new design language for the first time, including a headlight ensemble shaped like a cloverleaf.
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