Skoda Rapid Hatchback First Drive Review

Skoda Rapid Test Drive

Skoda Rapid Overview

The Skoda Rapid has been in our market for the past five years, but its success rate hasn’t been what the Czech manufacturer was hoping for. Buyers primarily preferred the ever dependable Honda City or the flamboyant Hyundai Verna or the value for money Maruti Suzuki Ciaz. The fact that it felt too similar to the Volkswagen Vento and people apprehension over Skoda’s aftersales service quality further put it out of preference. Check for HDFC car loan.

Now though, Skoda has launched the updated Rapid and the changes aren’t just skin deep. You also get the upgraded 1.5-litre diesel unit which makes more power than before. To address its aftersales issue, Skoda is also offering a comprehensive 4-year maintenance plan with the car. So are these factors enough to get the buyers back in Skoda showroom? We drove the car in picturesque Mussoorie to find answers

Skoda Rapid Style

The sedan is built on the similar platform as of Volkswagen Vento and differencing both of them sometimes becomes tricky. The car continues to sport the same face which was launched back in 2016. The design team has carried forward the front fascia from the Mk3 Fabia which is on sale in the global markets. The smokes projector headlamps with daytime running LEDs and signature butterfly grille are the main highlights on the front. The 2018 Edition goes a step further and deploys black finishing on the grille which makes the car look really cool.

The bumper design also remains the same which was revamped in the last update. The bumper houses a set of cornering fog lamps while the bonnet perfectly gels with the front fascia with its own strong creases, emphasizing its own aggressiveness.

The side profile is also carried forward with the same shoulder line running across the length of the vehicle. At this point, the similarities with Vento become more outward. This isn’t a bad thing at all given the Vento itself has a clutter-free design. However, what’s considerable this time is the addition of new 16-inch dual-toned machined alloy wheels in 2018 Edition which adds up to the style quotient. Other variants continue to sport the same 15-inch wheels. The glossy black finish on the ORVMs and the contrasting black roof complements the car in a perfect manner. For more details on Skoda Rapid visit Primovox

Coming to the rear, practically there hasn’t been much this time. A minor chrome strip boot can be seen with an eagle eye only while there is smoked effect on the tail lamps. The slightly redesigned bumper has been carried forward from the previous model. And don’t forget that cute little lip spoiler which really pleasing to eyes. Overall, the already good looking Rapid has now become slightly better.

Skoda Rapid Space

The cabin inside is in line with the familiar cars such as Polo and Vento. Everything from the dashboard, placement of buttons and switches and even the door pads are reminiscent to siblings. However, the introduction of black piano theme has certainly raised the premium appeal. Other variants continue to be available in the classy beige and black or ebony-sand theme. The red contrast stitching on the seats in the top-spec Rapid lends it a more sporty character. The car has also been bestowed with a lot of chrome across the cabin.

The layout is pretty reasonable and takes much less time to get accustomed. And the tilt/reach and height adjustability of the steering is a clear evidence of how comfortable one can get in no time. The steering is donned in leather and is the perfect size for the car. It also features audio, call and cruise controls. However, the carmaker has finally responded to the demand for flat-bottom steering wheel after getting a lot of feedback from customers. The multi-information display gives host of information including distance traveled, travel time, instant fuel efficiency, average speed, distance to empty, outside temperature, average fuel efficiency, service interval, clock as well as gear-shift indicator.

The center console shows the same substantial layout featuring a pair of AC vents, automatic climate control interface and the same 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment. The slick touchscreen is now powered by Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and paired with 4-speakers which give quality audio output. This along with MirrorLink collectively serves the purpose of Skoda’s SmartLink infotainment, all which enables the driver to use the devices safely. The infotainment also displays the visuals from the rear parking camera. Other variants continue to sport the 2-DIN audio system along with USB, Bluetooth, Aux-In and card reading functionality.

The automatic air conditioning unit gives you no reason to complain. The system swiftly manages to cool the cabin in quick time. And with rear aircons, the passengers at the back wouldn’t grumble about the hot weather either. The rear seating space is a little bit cramped compared to rivals and the low-set flat bench doesn’t do justice to the comfort level. However, the backrest can be reclined at a comfortable angle while the rear armrest lifts up the comfort factor a notch. The fifth passenger will definitely find the leg space annoying, so if you are looking for long journeys, make sure you don’t let the fifth passenger inside.

Other comfort aspects include height adjustable driver’s seat, one-touch automatic operating power windows, cruise control, automatic front wipers, automatically-dimming rear-view mirror and cooled glovebox among others. The latest update does add a little breath to the interiors. However, it isn’t a radical departure from the previous version.

Skoda Rapid Engine

Along with the facelift, the Rapid also gets the updated 1.5 litre TDI engine which debuted with the VW Ameo. The engine which gets a larger turbo and is locally sourced makes 110BHP as compared to the 105BHP the earlier engine made. At 250 Nm the torque however remains the same. This unit comes linked to either a 5-speed manual transmission or the 7-speed DSG.

We managed to drive the manual variant. The engine like before is on the louder side and one can hear the clatter especially when the engine is cold. Performance though remains a highlight. Going up the ghats in Mussorie, we managed to climb most of it in third gear despite the route being a twisty one with numerous hairpin bends and traffic. The performance is dull under 2000 rpm post which the turbo spools up and you get a fat wave of torque, pushing you ahead. Drivability is the highpoint of this engine and you barely need to shift gears, which is a good thing considering the clutch is on the heavier side. The gear shift too are slightly on the heavier side but slots in nicely.

The Rapid also gets a petrol option in the form of the 1.6 MPI unit which again comes with a 5-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic. The engine and the specs remain exactly the same as before. The automatic we drove is ‘not’ a DSG in the petrol but a regular torque converter. The engine makes a healthy 105BHP and 153 Nm of torque.The conventional gearbox is on the slower side especially when you shift it into D trying to conquer uphill climbs but around town the gearbox does its job well. Using it in Tiptronic mode does allow you to use the engine torque spread better though.

The new Skoda Rapid employs the fuel-efficient engines of the Vento sedan. The claimed fuel efficiency of the manual petrol engine stands at 15.41kmpl while the automatic variant delivers slightly less 14.84kmpl. On the other hand, the diesel manual reads 21.13kmpl, the fuel economy of automatic version is nearly similar with the car capable of delivering 21.72kms for a liter of fuel.

Skoda Rapid Driving

Driving around slow moving traffic and by lanes, we really appreciated the direct and easy to twirl steering which makes it easy to maneuver. Low speed ride is absorbent and pot-hole infested roads were also dismissed without any problem. But large road imperfections do make their presence felt in the cabin, as the suspension thuds through them. On the highway, the Rapid displays good stability and the comfortable ride makes it an able cruiser. Over undulating surfaces it does tend to bounce a bit and a flatter ride would have been welcomed. Around twisty sections, the Rapid feels willing and the direct steering, good body control and loads of grip gives you lot of confidence. The brakes too offered good bite and stopping power felt more than adequate.

Skoda Rapid Safety

The brakes of Skoda Rapid deserve special mention. The setup is absolutely brilliant and confidence inspiring. The bite force is strong and the car stops without any trouble. As far as safety is concerned, the car comes with dual front airbags which are standard across the variants.Move up and the higher variants offer features including ABS, ESC, Hill Hold Control, rear parking camera with sensors, anti-glare rear-view mirror, acoustic warning signal for overrun speed and automatic fuel-cut in case of a crash.

Skoda Rapid Cost in Ahmedabad

Skoda Rapid On-Road Price in Ahmedabad ranges from 8,92,156 to 15,58,862 for variants Rapid 1.6 MPI Active Petrol and Rapid 1.5 TDI AT Monte Carlo respectively. Skoda Rapid is available in 11 variants and 1 colours. Below are details of Skoda Rapid variants price in Ahmedabad. Check for Rapid price in Ahmedabad at Autozhop.

Skoda Rapid Conclusion

The update has certainly made the Rapid a lot more competitive. For starters it looks a lot sharper than before, gets more features along with ABS and Airbags being standard across all variants. Skoda has also looked into the warranty aspect and is now the only manufacturer offering a standard four year warranty along with four years of Skoda Roadside Assistance and Skoda maintenance Package. With prices for the base petrol manual starting at 8.19 lakh and going up to Rs. 12.55 lakh for the top end Style DSG (ex-Mumbai), prices are on par with the competition. The Rapid makes a strong case for itself for those who like to drive and appreciate a well-built product.

Currently, Skoda Rapid is offered in three different trim levels such as Active, Ambition and Style. It’s pricing starts from Rs. 10.96 lakh and goes up to Rs. 13.92 lakh. Rapid Edition is based on the top-end style variant of the normal Skoda Rapid and that’s why it costs 30,000 extra. Skoda Rapid presently takes on more accomplished rivals including Honda City, Volkswagen Vento, Maruti Suzuki Ciaz and Hyundai Verna in the segment.

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