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Skoda Rapid Performance & First Drive

Skoda Rapid Overview

The Rapid has always been a steady performer for Skoda. While the big boys from the Czech automaker’s portfolio that is, the Octavia and the Superb always stole the limelight, it was the Rapid that steadily contributed volumes. With the demise of the Fabia brand in India, the sedan has been the most affordable Skoda on sale, for a couple of years.

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With the competition picking up steam, Skoda thought it was wise to give the Rapid a nip and tuck, and prep it for yet another stint at the market. What’s changed? Let’s take a look:Is the Rapid in its best avatar yet? The answer to that is a resounding yes.The biggest shortcomings – a bland design and lack of features – have been fixed, which makes it all the more desirable. Check EMI Calculator for Skoda Rapid at Fincarz.

Skoda Rapid Exterior & Style

The Rapid was a good-looking car but at the time where models are refreshed every two years, its design had become quite dated. It is a good thing then as the new design focuses on straight lines than the curvy panels of its predecessor. While the Rapid looked like the sedan derivative of the Fabia, the new one echoes styling cues from the new generation Skodas, namely the Octavia and the Superb.

The changes revolve mainly around the front, where the headlamps, bumper, grill and bonnet are new. The new face, especially the grille, echoes the current signature design theme of the new Skoda family. The headlamp has a projector setup with daytime running LED lamps that shut down when the turn indicators are on, like the bigger Audis. The blacked-out theme with the chrome accents and LEDs give it that bejewelled look like the more premium Octavia. It also gets a fog lamp cover like its larger cousin. The front bumper is now wider with squared-off accents and a wider air dam that gives the car a sporty visage. While wheelbase remains the same, the length has increased by 27mm thanks to the revised bumpers.

While the body shell remains unchanged, the side profile gets updates in the form of a new 5-spoke alloy and new ORVMs with integrated LED turn indicators. There is a touch of chrome on the exterior in the form of subtle accents on the door handles and a chrome strip on the boot lip. The rear gets revised tail lamps that now feature a smoked-out effect and a larger bumper with a subtle spoiler on the boot. Overall, the new Rapid looks suave, like a scaled-down Octavia. The robust feel of the VW family continues to be experienced here courtesy of a galvanized body that is corrosion-resistant with laser welds used for exceptional stiffness. The Rapid gets an 11-stage paint job that gives the car a high-quality glossy sheen.

Skoda Rapid Interior & Space

Inside the new Rapid features a similar layout to its predecessor; however, Skoda has improved the equipment levels to bring the car at par with the competition. The 6.5-inch infotainment system is new and easily one of the crisper units around. The touchscreen’s sensitivity is far better than what you experience in competition, like the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz. Pairing your smartphone is easy, and you can use the MirrorLink feature to simulate your phone’s screen on the infotainment system’s display.

The new steering wheel looks good and is one of my favourites among the updates. The chunky leather-wrapped steering rim feels good to hold, and the buttons on it are quite intuitive to operate. I also feel the scroll-type button to adjust the volume is another thoughtful touch.Skoda has opted for an ebony/beige combination to upholster the cabin and it looks quite neat. There are other noteworthy features too, such as an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, climate control, cooled glovebox, cruise control and remote-operated power windows. Skoda could have got the extra mile and offered a reverse camera to complete the equipment list.

The front seats offer decent levels of comfort; however, a little more underthigh support would’ve been welcome. The rear bench is comfortable and you won’t really want to be chauffeured in the car. That said, cars like the Ciaz or City offer far more space, and if you are looking solely for rear space, the Rapid doesn’t fit the bill. The 460-litre boot though is generous and is enough to haul your shopping or weekend luggage.

Skoda Rapid Engine & Gearbox

Engine options remain unchanged for the Rapid, and include a 1.6-litre petrol engine, and a 1.5-litre oil burner. Both engines are available with a 5-speed manual transmission, and optional automatic transmissions – 6-speed torque converter for the petrol and a 7-speed dual-clutch for the diesel. For more details on Skoda Rapidor check bpas

Petrol

The 1.6-litre ‘MPi’ engine has been among Skoda’s most reliable motors, powering a sizeable chunk of their global portfolio. The four-cylinder engine feels well suited for the size and bulk of the Rapid, and rarely feels out of breath. While it has 105PS and 153Nm on tap, it isn’t exactly a sprightly performer. While maximum shove is available in a relatively narrow band post 3500rpm, peak power is developed only near the redline.

Naturally, you are usually forced to rev the motor to make the most of it. Bottom end is strong enough to let you do 20kmph in third without stuttering. The clutch is light, action is positive and the travel isn’t too long either – so traffic snarls shouldn’t be a big bother. In case you want to give the left leg a rest altogether, there’s an automatic on offer too.

The 6-speed automatic does a good job of swapping cogs. Admittedly it isn’t as good as the 7-speed DSG in the diesel, but it wouldn’t give you a reason to complain on a daily basis. Driving the petrol automatic requires a light and steady right foot, which gives the gearbox enough time to contemplate and execute gear changes. Needless to mention, it will be easier on the pocket that way too.In case you are eyeing the petrol, bear in mind the motor likes to relax. Hurrying isn’t its cup of tea, and it is far more suited chugging miles at a leisurely place.

Diesel

The Rapid gets the updated 1.5-litre TDi diesel engine that debuted with the Volkswagen Ameo compact sedan. Power is up to 110PS (from 105PS), while peak torque remains identical at 250Nm. Between the two options, the diesel is easily our pick for its outright oomph and fun to drive factor.

Paired with the 5-speed manual, the 1.5-litre motor is quite a hoot to drive. We wouldn’t blame you if you found yourself keeping the motor on the boil, exploiting all the 250Nm it has to offer. Turbo lag isn’t as perceptible as before, and if you are silly with the throttle, it will pin you to your seat as the tacho climbs past 1500rpm. The clutch on the diesel version is anything but light, though. Prolonged traffic jams will give your calves quite a workout, and we genuinely wish it was a notch lighter to help crawling in traffic.

What about the automatic? Well, it won’t make you miss a manual transmission. It is that good! Shifts are quick – both up and down – and there’s a Sport mode if you want to have some fun too. The gearbox is tuned for efficiency, and will find every little opportunity to shift up. Lay the hammer down with the right foot, and it will hold the revs all the way up to the redline. Nice!

Skoda Rapid Driving Dynamics

Just like the Vento, the ride has a stiff edge to it, and you will feel a bit of crashing and thudding through potholes. The upside is that ride remains rock steady at highway speeds, with next to no float or vertical movement. The suspension on the diesel variant is set up to be stiffer than the petrol, to compensate for the added weight of the engine. Naturally it feels flatter through the corners, with very little body roll seeping in.

What we weren’t too fond off, is the vague steering through the bends. There’s very little feedback from the wheel, which makes you back off a notch when entering corners. At city speeds, it is considerably heavy compared to the Hyundai Verna or even the Maruti Ciaz, and requires some muscle to go lock-to-lock.

Skoda Rapid Braking & Safety

Dual airbags and anti-lock brakes come as standard across all variants of the Skoda Rapid. The automatic variants goes one up, offering Hill Hold Control and the diesel-auto gets Electronic Stability Control as well. Also, in case of a crash, the Rapid automatically cuts off fuel supply.

Skoda Rapid Cost in Ahmedabad

Skoda Rapid On-Road Price in Ahmedabad ranges from 9,30,576 to 14,74,397 for variants Rapid 1.6 MPI Active Petrol and Rapid 1.5 TDI CR Style AT respectively. Skoda Rapid is available in 10 variants and 1 colours. Below are details of Skoda Rapid variants price in Ahmedabad. Check for Rapid price in Ahmedabad at Autozhop.

Skoda Rapid Final Word

The new Rapid has evolved into a car of many merits. It has a solid build quality, premium looks, high quality interiors, fantastic ride and a powerful diesel engine with the option of a DSG automatic. Safety is of top priority here, with ABS and airbags standard across the range. It does skimp on some features like a rear view camera or something as basic as an external boot opening button, but that will make their way on later updates. It might not be deal breakers but will surely be very irksome!

Prices for the diesel automatic start at Rs 10.06 lakh (ex Delhi) while the Petrol retails at Rs 8.78 lakh (ex-Delhi). The prices may be at the higher side compared to the Honda City and the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz and the competition may offer more features and space, but what you get with the Rapid is a feeling of premiumness and long-lasting solidity that is a cut above the rest. The diesel too is impressive and among the most involving-to-drive sedans in the market. The new Rapid is a car worthy of your attention if you are in the market for an executive sedan.

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