With petrol prices showing no signs of coming down, people are already looking at other viable options. Many are looking at electric vehicles such as the Tata Nexon or the MG ZS EV as reasonable alternatives, though EVs can be quite expensive. On the other hand, there are still people who would buy a CNG-fueled car, even in the premium segment. With its remarkable popularity, the Skoda Rapid is arguably one of the best performers for the brand in India. In fact, the base Rider variant of the Rapid was recently re-introduced due to high demand. Therefore, it is clear that the Czech automaker listens to its customers, especially when it comes to its new product launches.
Now, it has been confirmed that Skoda will be bringing in the CNG variant of the Rapid to India. There is absolutely a market for CNG-powered cars in the country, even if it is a premium product like a Skoda Rapid. Maruti Suzuki has been a key player when it comes to CNG cars in India, and demand has been fairly decent. But as the cost of petrol keeps rising and enters the insane territory, many would think twice before purchasing a petrol-powered car. On the other hand, for those looking for a more premium experience, a Skoda Rapid is one of the best buys so far. Once launched, the Rapid CNG variant will likely find several takers without much trouble.
However, it is highly unlikely that the upcoming Rapid CNG variant will get an all-new engine under the hood. The unit in question will mostly be the same 1.0-liter turbocharged three-cylinder mill that powers the standard petrol-only versions of the Rapid. In its standard form, this small 1.0-liter TSI motor in the Rapid pushes out 109hp and 175Nm of peak torque. Skoda offers buyers two transmission choices with the regular Rapid – a 6-speed manual and a 6-speed automatic. As we know, CNG usually tends to sap away some power from the engine, and that can be expected in the Rapid CNG variant also. If its European counterpart is anything to go by, the difference between the maximum output between the petrol and CNG modes can be as much as 20hp.
On the design front, the CNG variant of the Rapid will mostly look identical to its petrol-powered sibling. The same carbon-copy treatment can be expected in the cabin as well, except for maybe the fuel switch button. In terms of driving characteristics, the Rapid CNG will not be as thrilling when running on CNG. Then again, the whole point of a CNG car is to be more affordable yet offer acceptable in-city performance. As it is, any performance-related intrigue will only be satiated once the car actually hits our market. Apart from the Rapid CNG, Skoda is also readying several more new launches for India in the coming 12 months. These will include the upcoming Kushaq, plus the updated Octavia, and the Kodiaq.