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. For information on contact details of Skoda car dealers in Mumbai
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 Exteriors
The Rapid’s fascia is completely new. A new chrome-outlined grille and angular headlamps bring it more in line with its bigger brothers, the Octavia and the Superb. Below the grille sits a redesigned bumper, with a large, honey-combed lower air intake, prominent air dam and fog lamps. In profile, the Rapid has not changed at all, and the only revision round the back is the lightly redesigned bumper and tailgate-mounted chrome strip. Other nouveau embellishments include the projector headlights with “jewel-shadow” daytime running lights as Skoda calls them and chrome moulding on the door handles. On the whole, the clean lines and sharp edges make the Rapid look fresh, purposeful and contemporary.
Other changes include a new 110hp diesel engine and some equipment upgrades. As earlier, the Rapid will be available in three trims – Active, Ambition and Style, with petrol as well as diesel, and manual as well as automatic options.
Skoda Rapid Interiors
The dashboard is identical to the earlier Rapid’s, which in turn is shared with the VW Vento. The dash design is restrained, but everything is where you expect it to be. Taking centre stage is a new large and reasonably crisp 6.5-inch touchscreen that comes with USB, AUX and Bluetooth support as well as MirrorLink connectivity. Other new equipment include rain-sensing wipers and electronically-folding exterior mirrors, which help bridge the gap between the Rapid and better-equipped rivals. Skoda’s trademark ‘clever features’ are manifest in the form of a cardholder clip in the centre console to hold all your toll passes and the likes.
The Rapid is reasonably comfortable to sit in. The front seats are generally comfortable, with side-bolstering to hold you in place, and a large-enough seat cushion to support your thighs. Their lumbar section, however, feels a bit hollow and might irk you on longer drives. The rear seats are firm and supportive, offering adequate thigh support and legroom and good amounts of knee room; you won’t get the same sense of space as rivals like the Honda City and Maruti Ciaz, though. Frontal visibility for rear passengers is also not the best on account of the large front seats. However, the provision of a front, as well as rear armrest, is appreciated.Other notable equipment include a tilt-and-telescopic steering adjust, automatically-dimming rear-view mirror, cruise control, cooled glovebox, climate control, rear AC vent, one-touch power windows and remote-controlled opening and closing of windows. Certain features are prominently missing, though, such as a rear camera and an engine start/stop button.
Skoda Rapid Performance
A major change however, is the addition of the seven-speed automatic DSG transmission. This is the same one found on the Octavia and also the VW Vento. The Rapid is powered by a 103bhp four cylinder diesel unit and mated to the new DSG transmission. The Rapid Black Edition is a pleasure to drive car with the DSG transmission. No more shuffling through gears or having to press the heavy clutch, which is painful in city driving. Just shift the transmission to the “D” position and let the car do all the work. The shifts are seamless and there is not too much turbo-lag. The Rapid Black Edition is easy to drive and is comfortable too. Power wise the Skoda responds well to changes in the throttle position as well as deciding which gear to be in. One aspect that should be highlighted is that the seven-speed dual clutch DSG transmission provides a better fuel efficiency than then manual car. At 22.1km/l the Rapid Black Edition is extremely fuel efficient, all because of two extra cogs in the gears.
Skoda Rapid Driving Dynamics
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
Talking about safety, Skoda India is offering ABS and dual front airbags as standard across all the trims of the new Rapid. You also get Hill Hold Control and Electronic Stability Control with the DSG transmission. Skoda has had a bad reputation in India when it comes to after sales but they’ve come a long way in making the process transparent and reliable. They are also offering 4 year service car programme as standard with the new Rapid that covers 4 years warranty, 4 years of roadside assistance and an optional 4 year service package.
Skoda Rapid Price
Skoda Rapid Ex-Showroom Price in Pune ranges from 8,47,599/- (Rapid 1.6 MPI Active Petrol) to 13,22,964/- (Rapid 1.5 TDI CR Style AT). Get best offers for Skoda Rapid from Skoda Dealers in Pune. Check price of Rapid in Pune
Skoda Rapid Bottomline
When viewed as a whole, there is a strong case to be made for the facelifted Rapid – it looks fresher and drives very well. While those looking for a family car might find more value in rivals like the Honda City or the Maruti Ciaz, those who are likely to spend most of their time behind the wheel will enjoy the punchy, relatively-more-involving drive of the Rapid.