Skoda is planning to update its C-Segment sedan, the Rapid, by the end of this year. Though not a major overhaul, the new car will get few significant updates, prominent among which will be a new diesel engine. Based on the company’s 1.6-litre unit, this four-cylinder 1.5-litre engine will replace the former and will also get the option of a six-speed dual clutch DSG gearbox.
The DSG or Direct Shift Gearbox is a dual-clutch manual gearbox with full automatic or semi-manual control. With the absence of a conventional clutch pedal, the DSG offers the best of both worlds. The 1.5-litre diesel engine with the DSG gearbox will be first introduced in the Volkswagen Vento sedan. This engine gearbox combination will not only be more fuel efficient than the current engines, but will also return similar power figures as compared to the bigger 1.6-litre engine. The engine will also be mated to a five-speed manual gearbox.
Besides the diesel engine, reports suggest that the Rapid will also get a 1.2-litre TSI engine. This engine is already offered in the Vento with the seven-speed DSG gearbox and is expected to be the top-end variant in the line-up. Being a lighter and more refined unit, this engine is also expected to return better performance and efficiency numbers, like in the Vento TSI.
Both the 1.5-litre diesel and 1.2-litre petrol engines qualify for excise concessions of the government, though the benefit will probably get evened out by the extra cost of DSG units. The new car will get extra equipment and few revisions to the interiors, though there won’t be any major cosmetic changes. The car will continue to be manufactured at Volkswagen’s facility in Chakan, Maharashtra alongside the Volkswagen Vento, with whom, it also shares the platform.
Despite being one of the company’s best-selling cars, the sales numbers of the Skoda Rapid are far lower than its rivals – the Honda City, Hyundai Verna, Vento, Maruti Suzuki SX4, Renault Scala and the Ford Fiesta. With these new variants, Skoda will hope to improve its sales figures, though it will also have to revise the price to make it more competitive in the segment.