Skoda will soon be expanding the Rapid lineup in India with a new CNG variant. This information was recently confirmed by Zac Hollis, Skoda's Director for Sales and Marketing, while replying to a Twitter user's query. With skyrocketing fuel prices in the country, this should come across as a welcome relief to many. The Skoda Rapid CNG is currently in its testing phase, more details of which will be announced closer to the launch.
With the Rapid CNG, Skoda will become only the third carmaker in India to offer a CNG variant of a vehicle right from the factory. The other two manufacturers are Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai. CNG cars make a lot of sense for daily commuting within the city limits and are a lot easier on your pockets than even your regular diesel cars. Thus, adding a CNG variant to its volume-oriented model, like the Rapid, comes across as a smart move for the company.
Under the hood, the Rapid CNG will likely be powered by the same 1.0L TSI three-cylinder turbocharged engine as the regular petrol variant. The petrol versions of the Rapid produces 108 bhp of maximum power and 175 Nm of peak torque. As with most CNG conversions, the Rapid CNG is likely to produce slightly reduced outputs. Transmission options could include both the 6-speed manual and the 6-speed torque converter automatic gearbox. It also remains to be seen in which trims of sedan Skoda will offer the CNG powertrain.
In one of his tweets, Zac Hollis also confirmed that the company will be launching four new vehicles in India in the next 12 months, starting with the Skoda Kushaq. It is, however, not confirmed if the Rapid CNG will be part of the four new launches or not. It could definitely be a possibility though. As for the other Skoda models that's set to launch in India this year, one of them will be the next-gen Octavia. Even the performance focused Octavia RS could be on the cards for India.
However, the most important launch coming up for Skoda in India is the Kushaq compact SUV. Slated for its global debut on March 18, 2021, the Kushaq will be the first car under VW Group's India 2.0 strategy and it will be banking high on its localization for a competitive price positioning. Later in the year, Skoda could also be replacing the current-gen Rapid with an all-new sedan that will be much larger than the Rapid and will be underpinned by the MQB-A0-IN platform.