Skoda has unveiled the new Slavia in India to replace the Rapid that has been around for a decade. Built on the made-for-India MQB A0 IN platform, the Slavia is a B-segment sedan that competes against models like the Honda City, Maruti Suzuki Ciaz, Hyundai Verna and Volkswagen Vento.

The Slavia is the second new model to be introduced under Skoda’s India 2.0 project, with the Kushaq SUV being the first when it was introduced in March this year. According to the Czech carmaker, the majority of the development work for the Slavia was carried out locally and the sedan is assembled at the company’s plant in Pune, Maharashtra with a localisation level of up to 95%.

Design-wise, the new model looks rather similar to the Virtus that is sold in South America, albeit with the face of the Scala grafted on. Highlights include a hexagonal-shaped Skoda grille that is flanked by angular headlights, which come with halogen lamps or LEDs depending on variant. There are also L-shaped LED strips acting as the daytime running lights, while the lower intake runs across nearly the vehicles’ entire width and merges with black, C-shaped fog lamp surrounds.

Prominent crease lines are also seen on the bonnet as well as the along the car’s sides, the latter running across and above the door handles, just below an additional line linking the tip of the headlights to the rear quarter windows.

As for the rear, the Slavia gets two-piece LED taillights in a C-shaped design that extends into the boot lid, which has the Skoda script on it. The rear apron mimics that of the front, with a wide-width trim piece in black that is bookended by the reflectors and accentuated by a chrome strip.

In terms of size, the Slavia is a much larger car than the Rapid it replaces, measuring in at 4,541 mm long (+128 mm), 1,752 mm wide (+53 mm), 1,487 mm tall (+21 mm) and with a class-leading wheelbase spanning 2,651 mm (+99 mm). With the increased footprint, the new model also boasts a boot space of 521 litres, which is 61 litre more than what the Rapid offers.

The interior design bears some resemblance to what you’ll find in the latest Octavia, with similarities being the unconventional two-spoke steering wheel and an infotainment touchscreen stapled on the dashboard.

The Slavia gets circular air vents at the corners and there’s a dedicated control panel for the air-conditioning system below the centre air vents, while the centre console is where you’ll find the gear lever, further vehicle controls, a traditional handbrake and an armrest. A market-specific cue is the utility recess at the top of dash, which Skoda says is where the driver can keep a lucky charm in clear view, which is rather thoughtful.

When the Slavia goes on sale in India next year, it will be offered in three trim levels: Active, Ambition and Style. Five colours are available (Tornado Red, Crystal Blue, Candy White, Reflex Silver and Carbon Steel) and depending on the variant, there are three different wheel types – 15-inch steelies, silver 16-inch alloys and brushed two-tone 16-inch alloys.

Other variant-dependent features include an electric sliding sunroof, an analogue or eight-inch digital instrument cluster, manual AC or a touch-control Climatronic system with Air Care function and rear vents, ventilated front seats, keyless entry, fabric or leather upholstery, a seven- or 10-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system, cruise control and MySkoda Connect telematics.

As for safety, the top-spec Style comes with six airbags, ESC, an electronic differential system (EDS), a tyre pressure monitor (TPMS), a reverse camera, multi-collision brake and Isofix child seat anchors – Hill-Hold Control, automatic headlamps and wiper are optional. Lesser variants will still come with ESC, Isofix and a TPMS as standard, but loses out on some of the Style’s other features.

Engine options include an entry-level 1.0 litre turbocharged three-cylinder TSI petrol unit that delivers 115 PS (114 hp) and 175 Nm, with drive sent to the front wheels via a standard six-speed manual or an optional automatic with the same number of forward gears.

This setup is also used for the Rapid, but the Slavia can also be had with a 1.5 litre turbo TSI four-pot that makes 150 PS (148 hp) and 250 Nm. The larger-capacity mill also gets a six-speed manual as standard, with the alternative being a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch.

For better efficiency, both engines come with a start/stop idling system, although the 1.5 TSI takes things further with its active cylinder technology (ACT) that shuts down two cylinders when engine load is low to further reduce fuel consumption and emissions.

Skoda hasn’t announced pricing for the Slavia just yet, but customers in India can now places their bookings, with deliveries expected to start in the first quarter of 2022. If you’re wondering why it’s called the Slavia, the name refers to a bicycle brand launched by the company’s founders founding fathers Vaclav Laurin and Vaclav Klement in 1896.