August 22, 2019

Skoda Rapid Hatchback First Drive Review

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Skoda Rapid Overview

At first, it is difficult to comprehend why Skoda is crying out hoarse over the ‘new’ Rapid. Sure, it looks new – at least from the front – and has some interesting features added to it, but let’s face it: this is a five-year-old car. Look closely though and you will find that the Rapid, especially in the drivetrain configuration we have tested here, is still one of the best sedans you can have for the price.

The Skoda Rapid facelift is also significant for the company in India – Skoda India was involved in almost every facet of the development of this car. From the conceptualisation, to the pre-production planning, localisation of parts, production and after-sales service – Skoda India has made many changes to the Rapid to make it more competitive in the market.

Skoda Rapid Exteriors

The car now gets the new family face that brings it in line with the other sedans namely, the Octavia and the Superb. You get the multi-slatted grille with a chrome border that makes the car look not only better but also more mature.

Adding some sharpness are the new quartz-cut projector headlights. Adding some more drama is the chrome eyelash blending in with the jewel-shadow LED daytime running lights. It might sound complex but it does look good. The bumper has been revised as well with redesigned fog lights and now incorporating a lip spoiler s well.

The side profile remains the same barring the inclusion of the new 15-inch ‘Matone’ alloy wheels and chrome moulding on the deck lid and door handles. At the rear you now get C-shaped smoked tail lights and an integrated spoiler.Overall the Rapid looks much sharper and definitely in line to take on the fresh competition.

Skoda Rapid Interiors

Unlike the exterior, the cabin layout in the Rapid facelift stays more or less the same. So you get the same ergonomically designed dashboard from the Vento and everything falls to hand easily. Traditionally Skoda have always been quite generous with equipment levels and this top-spec Style variant is no different. That said, it still misses the push start-stop button and a reversing camera. However, you do get rear parking sensors and premium features like rain-sensing wipers, auto headlamps, electronically retractable OVRMs, auto-dimming IRVM, one-touch all-four power windows with anti-pinch and cruise control, which are absent in most of its rivals. The biggest addition is the 6.5-inch touch screen system. This capacitive touch display is clear, quick enough and is easy to scroll through. The audio system, which gets Skoda’s new Mirrorlink system, does the job well while the speakers have a good sound output. Dual front airbags and ABS are standard safety features across the trims.

Thanks to the tilt and telescopic steering wheel adjustment, finding a comfortable driving position is easy. The front seats are comfortable with good side bolstering and generous thigh support. Similar is the case in the second row, which offers great space and a well-designed bench. Thanks to the flat floor, generous knee room and wide cabin three people can sit here in good comfort. The Rapid like before is very practical and it boasts of thoughtfully designed storage spaces and loads of cup and bottle holders too. On paper the 460-litre boot sounds a bit less, but it is well shaped and can take your weekend’s luggage with ease. Ergonomically the only grouse we had with the Rapid was the front centre armrest, which is placed too high and fouls with your elbow every time you make a gearshift. Like before the overall quality of materials in the cabin is good and everything feels well screwed together.

Skoda Rapid Transmission

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. To know more information on Skoda Rapid check Wwrdheritage

The suspension set-up remains the same, but then we have always appreciated the Rapid’s ride and handling. The suspension soaks up bumps and bad sections very well and it’s only the sharp edged ones that filter in.The handling is pretty good too and throwing the Rapid around corners can be plenty of fun. There is good grip available and the steering offers decent levels of feedback too.

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 Rapid is offered with dual front airbags as standard, the front and rear headrests are adjustable and there are three-point seatbelts for four passengers. Front disc brakes, ABS, EBD also add an additional layer of safety.​

Skoda Rapid Cost in Hyderabad

Skoda Rapid On Road Price is 9,57,878/- and Ex-showroom Price is 7,99,599/- in Hyderabad. Skoda Rapid comes in 1 colours, namely Candy White. Skoda Rapid comes with FWD with 1598 CC Displacement and 4 Cylinders with Maximum Power 103 bhp@5200-5250 rpm and Peak Torque 153 Nm@3750-3800 rpm DRIVE TRAIN FWD and reaches 100 KMPH at N/A . Skoda Rapid comes with Manual Transmission with FWD .Check for Rapid price in Hyderabad at Tryaldrive.

Skoda Rapid Final Thought

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.

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