As Indians, we love efficiency especially fuel efficiency and while most sedan cars with turbo-petrol mills have become quite efficient and are able to return better fuel economies that larger displacement naturally-aspirated counterparts, some manufacturers completely axed the diesel powertrain option front their portfolio in India, after transitioning into the suffocating BS6 norms.
Now, cleaner fuels such as CNG also have a large hold in the Indian automobile space and are popular with daily commuters and fleet cars. Noticing the growing number of vehicle with retrofit CNG kits, manufacturers have also started to provide CNG kits fitted from the factory. A picture on the internet of the Skoda Rapid filling CNG at a pump leads us to believe that the Czech manufacturer could be planning to bring the CNG fuel version of the Rapid in the Indian market.
This isn’t a big surprise as the brand in the international market has already introduced the Skoda Octavia G-TEC, designed to run on compressed natural gas (CNG). The Skoda Octavia G-TEC is powered by a 1.5-litre TSI turbocharged petrol engine producing 130 PS power and optimised to run on both petrol and CNG fuels, the latter of which burns more cleanly, resulting in 25% reduced CO2 emissions in CNG mode as compared to the engine running on petrol, significantly less nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. As the added CNG fuel tanks are not aftermarket units and built for the car they take up less space in the boot and the car still has a generous 455-litres of boot space.
The picture circulating on social media suggests that the Skoda Rapid could be a test mule and the car was photographed in Pune with dealer registration plates. On the exterior, the Skoda Rapid appears to be similar to a standard Rapid with Red and Black dual-tone paint theme and dual-tone alloy wheels. The brand does not retail the Skoda Rapid with a Diesel powertrain in the BS6 era.
The Skoda Rapid is powered by a BS6 emissions-compliant 1.0-litre Three-Cylinder Turbocharged Stratified Injection (TSI) petrol engine that makes 110 PS of power and 175 Nm of torque matched to a 6-speed manual gearbox or an optional torque converter type 6-speed automatic transmission. The CNG kitted Skoda Rapid is likely to use the same 1.0-litre turbocharged powertrain and in the CNG mode, the peak power output is likely to drop but the fuel efficiency will increase significantly from the now claimed mileage figure of 18.97 kmpl on the manual gearbox option.