Skoda Rapid First Look Impression

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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 Exterior & Style

Finally, the Rapid now conforms to the company’s new design language. The headlamps, front grille, bonnet, front bumper are all new. The ‘Crystalline’ design theme includes the new sleek blacked-out headlights; in the top-of-the-line Style trim, these get projector headlamps and LED daylight running lamps (DRLs). The headlamps certainly add a ‘wow’ factor to the design; the DRLs are another head-turner (our test unit was in the dull Carbon Steel colour). Together with the indicators, which are a pair of amber bulbs, they aid maximum visibility.

The grille on the Rapid also follows the company’s new design philosophy; it has a butterfly’s wing-like structure, the new Skoda logo sits on a power bulge on the bonnet rather than with the grille. The 19 vertical slats on the grille add a premium look; the chrome surround adds a bit of flair without being too garish.The front bumper is all new and complements the angular design that Skoda has set for the Rapid. The air dam now extends from side-to-side, connecting the two rectangular fog-lamp housing. There is a noticeable lip that juts out at the bottom.

What is a cause for concern here is the fact that the fog lamp housing is not recessed in the front bumper. The design flaw could lead to these being the first victims of small day-to-day bumper incidents. Each fog lamp costs a minimum of Rs 1000 to replace, excluding taxes and labour.We are nitpicking here, but the new headlamps could have been sleeker; when looked at from dead ahead, they seem to be too large for the car. The overall effect also makes the tyres look slimmer than usual – and those are 185mm section tyres!

The excitement about the new design fades a little as you move to the side; The Rapid’s similarity to the Volkswagen Vento is clear. The chrome window-sill inserts, chrome door-handle inserts and 15-inch ‘Matone’ alloy wheels appear to have been added to help differentiate the two, though, the results aren’t exactly successful.

Move to the rear and you get the feeling that Skoda just gave up. You could criticise them for the decision to not update the rear; but the fact that all Skoda cars are designed at their HQ in Mladá Boleslav, Czech Republic could have increased the costs prohibitively. The smoked effect tail lamps are a familiar sight. So is the boot lid with the aggressive cuts around the number plate holder. New visual features here include a boot-lip spoiler, the new Skoda logo, a chrome strip along the bottom edge of the boot-lid and some new creases on the rear bumper.

Skoda Rapid Interior & Space

Well for starters, it looks pretty much the same. And that’s because the dashboard layout remains the same. But once you get into the driving seat, the new details start to stand out. I like the ebony-sand dual tone combo on the dash and the fact that everything feels so well built together.

The most important addition on the inside though is the 6.5 inch colour touch screen infotainment system. You get the usual USB, AUX and Bluetooth with the addition of MirrorLink connectivity. There’s more too. You get rain sensing wipers, the steering wheel is adjustable for height and reach, the glovebox is cooled, climate control along with rear aircon vents and cruise control.Check for Skoda Rapid in Bioinformatica

A nice utility touch is the addition of a cardholder clip to keep the toll receipts or change. It’s only when you try to fire up the engine that you suddenly realise the absence of a start/stop button and a rear view camera when you want to back up. Other than that the front seats are pretty comfortable. We drove it for over three hours at a stretch and found enough support in the right places to be comfortable.

There is enough legroom at the rear too, maybe not as much as the Honda City or the Ciaz, but nothing to complain about. The boot has more than adequate space at 460 litres and will swallow plenty of luggage for those weekend trips.

The only grouse that each one of us had with the boot was that there is no boot opening button on the boot and one has to pull on a little button near the driver’s door or use the key-fob. The Rapid’s interior are a much better place to be in now however it will take more than just the addition of a touch screen infotainment system and additional features to get up to speed with the more modern and not to mention swanky competition.

Skoda Rapid Engine & Transmission

We reviewed the new 1.5-litre TDI diesel paired to a five-speed manual. It also can be had with an optional seven-speed DSG transmission. Then there is also a petrol variant powered by a 1.6-litre MPI unit mated to either a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox. Start the Rapid facelift’s updated diesel engine, and it settles down to the same clattery idle as before. Thanks to the update, the power output has now gone up from 105bhp to 110bhp but the torque figure of 250Nm remains the same.

It clearly felt more responsive than the old unit and there is loads of pulling power from as low as 1,500rpm. Such is the flexibility of this motor that you can get away with being in a higher gear at crawling speeds, which makes it quite stress-free to drive. Go past 2,000rpm however and this motor really gets in its stride, as it pulls relentlessly to around 4,500rpm, post which the power tapers off. The five speed gearbox is quite direct but the clutch action feels too heavy and long. Thankfully the torquey motor doesn’t warrant too many gearshifts to make quick progress.

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. Apply car loan for Skoda Rapid.

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 Driving Dynamics

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 Safety & Security

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 Skoda Rapid price in Hyderabad at Autozhop.

Skoda Rapid Conclusion

Thanks to modern creature comforts, good ride and a powerful diesel engine, Skoda has surely put forth a competitive package. It still has the old cars robust build and material quality is really good too. So in a way it should be just right for most buyers even if it might not exceed expectations of some. Skoda is also revamping its after-sales service and now has well thought offers for buyers. The Rapid is being offered with a four-year warranty, road-side assist and maintenance package, all-inclusive in the ex-showroom Delhi prices that start at Rs 9.49 lakh. So the competitive pricing with added benefits does make the updated Rapid a more lucrative buy.

 

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