The all new Skoda Rapid launched just before the F1 Indian Grand Prix. Known as the successor to the Octavia, the infamous ‘Lauretta’ was christened as the Rapid in India. The Rapid not only shares the platform with the Vento but is rolled out of the same Chakan facility.
Skoda Rapid Quick Specificications:
|No. of cylinders||4|
|Transmission||Manual 5-speed fully synchronized|
All that matters:
- Amalgamation of Skoda Fabia and VW Vento
- New front bumper and front fenders distinguish Rapid from Fabia
- A kink on both sides of rear number plate distinguishes Rapid from the Vento
- Tail lights of Rapid have the familiar ‘C’ look of the Skoda and are different from the Vento
- Front overhang of the Rapid is greater than the Fabia
- Side on, the Rapid and the Vento get the same side panels
- Window glasses and windscreen are exactly the same as Vento’s and even have VW engraving on them. STRANGE!
- 15’ alloy wheels on the top end Elegance look smart
- Skoda manages one of the best and tightest shut lines in the business. Thanks to VWs sister concern
- ORVMs don’t get side indicators on them. A norm these days even on cars of a segment lower
- Doors open wide and an angle of close to 90° makes for easy ingress
- Skoda’s doors shut extremely well with a thud Skoda is well known for. Doors are in fact weighted very well, they’re neither too light nor too heavy. Just about perfect
- The top end variant with 15’ alloys looks decidedly sporty, especially in shades of black and red.
- Fog lamps are very effective
- Very accommodating
- Driver’s seat can be adjusted for height but not for lumbar
- Seating five people becomes tougher as the transmission tunnel along with the rear A/C vents eat up useful leg room for the rear centre passenger
- Driver elbow rest can be adjusted at various angles and is easy to operate
- Rear armrest is wide enough for two people to place hands but doesn’t have cup-holder in it
- Driver armrest has storage space good enough to keep wallet, change and phones handy
- Dashboard is upholstered in two tones of light brown and beige instead of Vento’s grey and beige combo
- Dashboard storage space is large though there are not many cubbyholes to keep a lot of goodies handy
- Plastics used are of excellent quality
- On the centre console is the 2-DIN music system along with the air con controls
- Space on the lower side of the extreme right A/C vent has been left blank making it look unfinished
- Generally there lies a cubbyhole there to store toll receipts and change. Blank space looks awkward
Steering Wheel and Centre Console:
- Steering wheel feels nice and sporty to hold but not even the top end variant gets a leather wrapped steering wheel
- Steering wheel lacks controls for the music system
- Steering can be adjusted for rake as well reach
- Steering is awesomely weighed, light at city speeds and heavy enough at highway speeds
- Centre console has a tachometer and a speedometer along with a trip computer
- The trip computer is extremely informative and is very easy to navigate from the right side stalk tip
- The instrument cluster is backlit in a pre-independence light green shade that makes the dashboard look ugly. Any other colour would have done wonders to liven up the interiors but this green
- Well placed boot lid opener
- Lack of dead pedal
- Footwell could have had more room. Tall drivers might hit centre console frequently
- Ergo lever is an awesome addition. Chauffer driven people will love it
- Stereo buttons might fade soon. At least a remote control should have been there to operate the music system
- Front windscreen looks a little smaller than usual. Leads to the feeling of lack of room
- Non-fabricated door panels on the C-pillars look cheap in body-coloured paint finish
- Knee room aplenty for rear passengers even when the front seats are fully pushed back
- Stalks feel great to operate
- Switching the child lock was impossible although there was a switch for the same
- No vanity illumination
- One thing that bothers me the most is where the hell is the Skoda-VW family horn? It does duty on the Polo, Vento, Jetta, Passat, Laura, and Superb. Why not a Rapid then?
Engine and transmission:
The 1598cc 4-cyl engine is the same doing duty on the Vento. It is a gem of an engine with all the torque coming in handy from low RPMs. The engine feels eager in responses and doesn’t have any turbo lag of sorts. It is so involving that pedal to metal action is a sure shot. The car leaves dark marks on road on sudden throttle inputs even in the third gear; such is the engine’s response. On the mileage front, serene driving returns close to 14.5 kmpl in city while pedal to metal action could drop you to lower 10s. On the highway when cruising, it returned decent 20kmpl. The transmission on the other hand leaves some room for improvement. The throws are long and not precise. I can’t imagine I’m saying this for Skoda after driving a Laura RS recently. The engine is too good for the transmission it seems.
Ride and Handling:
The people at Skoda have cracked it this time. The ride and handling compromise is one of the finest in the market today and it definitely sets the benchmark for diesels. The ride is supple over almost anything. Rashest of potholes are only heard inside, that too not harsh. The handling is acceptable at all sane speeds. The steering is responsive and quick and the car is flickable. It’s a great chassis mated to an awesomely tuned and refined suspension setup.
Overall the car is good. Placed just below the Vento it calls for a more VFM package than a Vento save for the fact that Vento is a tad finer in terms of refinement and quality. The car lacks space for three at the back, a USB player, steering controls, rear parking sensors and feels feature deprived if compared to a Verna Fluidic. To pull the market away from a Vento or a Verna seems a fair bit of challenge considering the prices are almost similar model to model. And putting in mind Skoda’s after sales, well the game shifts further away from them. It will be hard work for Skoda to get things right and displace the Vento and Verna from the upper crest.
This is not the end.
Wait for our complete Review on the Skoda Rapid Test Drive!
Skoda Rapid Official Website: Click Here