Frankfurt LIVE: Skoda Rapid Spaceback

The Rapid Spaceback is billed as a cheaper alternative to the Volkswagen Golf.

Volkswagen's Czech Republic-based Škoda unveiled its new Rapid Spaceback this week at he Frankfurt Motor Show. Primarily aimed at young buyers in Europe and in China, the hatchback is billed as a more affordable alternative to the seventh-gen Golf.

Previewed by a series of leaks and teaser images, the Rapid Spaceback is nearly identical to the Rapid sedan from the front bumper to the B-pillar but it gains a tall, upright D-pillar that is reminiscent of the Audi A3 Sportback. Interestingly, it retains the same tail lamps as its sedan counterpart.

The Spaceback can be ordered with a panoramic roof that stretches from the top of the windshield to the bottom of the hatch window, giving passengers a nearly unobstructed view of the sky.

Inside, the Czech firm's latest hatchback offers room for up to five adults, a generously-sized trunk and a simple and decidedly Teutonic dashboard. The steering is commanded through a three-spoke multi-function wheel and the instrument cluster consists of four analog gauges with a thin-film transistor (TFT) screen neatly installed in the middle.

Keeping in line with Škoda's "simply clever" motto, the Spaceback's trunk floor can be divided into two horizontal levels, the gas flap has a built-in ice scraper and the driver's door panel features a small garbage bin.

In Europe, the Spaceback is available with four gasoline-burning engines and two turbodiesel units that range from from 75 to 122 horsepower. All Volkswagen-sourced four-cylinder units, the engines send power to the front wheels via either a five- or a six-speed manual gearbox. A seven-speed DSG unit can be ordered exclusively with the range-topping 122-horsepower model.

The Škoda Rapid Spaceback will land in showrooms across Europe a few weeks after its public debut in Germany. Pricing information will be available closer to its on-sale date.

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