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Skoda Rapid Overview & First Drive

Skoda Rapid Overview

Skoda Rapid has been on sale since November 2011 in the Indian market and has tasted moderate success, despite the presence of several heavyweights like Honda City, Hyundai Verna and Volkswagen Vento in the same segment. With time progressing, the sales of the sedan started deteriorating as its rivals were far more advanced, up-market and affluent. It is what propelled Skoda India to introduce Skoda Rapid Facelift, which comes with several cosmetic upgrades and a subtle bump in power output. Identical to the preceding model, the Skoda Rapid 2018 is manufactured at the company’s production facility in Pune. It is present in both the petrol and diesel guises in three trim levels: Active, Ambition and Style. The Skoda Rapid Facelift exterior styling is in line with Skoda’s new design language, while the cabin boasts of a few contemporary features that weren’t seen on the predecessor.Check for Skoda Rapid price in Carzprice

Skoda Rapid Exterior

New Skoda Rapid 2018 gets a new front end which is the main cosmetic change in this car. The front grille looks identical to the Octavia and Superb and now looks like part of the new Skoda family. The headlamps are sharp and they get projectors. They even have smoked effect to make it look sporty. The hood also gets a new design with changes in lines to match the new grille. A new front bumper and even a redesigned rear bumper are other changes. The tail lamps on the New Skoda Rapid 2017 have got a design tweak too. They continue with the C-shape look, however other aspects have been changed.

Skoda Rapid Interior

The interior layout of the Rapid is unchanged but the dual-tone dashboard now replaces brown trim on top with black. There are some leatherette elements in the cabin such as the steering wheel, gearknob, handbrake lever, etc. The quality, fit and finish is without doubt excellent and feels like a typical German car. The instrument cluster looks a bit dated though while the steering is great to hold.

 The biggest change with the latest updates is the new 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system that comes with MirrorLink technology that syncs your smartphone with inbuilt apps. The sound quality of the audio system is quite satisfying. You still miss out on features like keyless entry and push button start, sunroof, auto headlamps, rear parking camera, etc. What you get though is cruise control, rain sensing wipers, reach and rake adjustable steering, cooled glovebox and footwell lighting.

 

The Skoda Rapid is mostly meant for people who love to be behind the wheel and for those who have a small family. The seats are very comfortable both at the front and the back but rear seat legroom is just average compared to some other cars in this segment. You also can’t fit three adults abreast with ease because of the big transmission hump in the middle. The boot is big and accommodating though with 460-litres of luggage capacity.

Skoda Rapid Engine & Transmission

Skoda is offering the new Rapid with both petrol and diesel engine options including the same 1.6-litre MPI petrol motor and the updated 1.5-litre TDI diesel engine. We drove the latter that now has a bigger turbocharger and produces 110 PS with 5 PS increase in power output. You can actually feel the strong performance and the way it pulls in the mid-range is super fun. There is some lag under 2000 RPM but post that it just picks up pace relentlessly until the redline.

The 5-speed manual is slick and fun to use but the heavenly dual-clutch DSG 7-speed transmission takes care of fun and practicality both. We wish it had steering mounted paddle shifts. The DSG is super quick to respond to your throttle inputs and when you push the lever to the left for shifting manually, it is more satisfying. On the sharp twisties on our way to Mussoorie, the DSG was quite fun to play with and is efficient too returning a claimed mileage of 21.72 km/l. 0-100 km/hr sprint in the diesel DSG is claimed to be 10.7 seconds with 190.8 km/hr top speed and with manual it’s 10.3 seconds having a top speed of 188 km/hr.

 

The Skoda Rapid 2018 mileage figures are pretty decent in both petrol and diesel fuel trims. The petrol manual and automatic variants deliver a mileage of 15.41 kmpl and 14.84 kmpl (both ARAI specified), respectively. The diesel variants with manual gearbox and automatic transmission return 21.13 kmpl and 21.72 kmpl (both ARAI specified), respectively.

Skoda Rapid Performance and Handling

The Skoda Rapid 2018 is a decent performer on the highways as well as narrow city roads. It sails effortlessly at high speed. The diesel automatic, particularly, is a delight to drive. It sprints to the 100 kmph mark from standstill in just 12 seconds, which is a rather good feat, considering the segment. The handling is fairly good due to the light steering wheel, which responds instantly to the driver’s fingertips

Skoda Rapid Braking and Safety

The new Skoda Rapid gets disc brakes with inner cooling, with single/piston floating caliper at the front, while drum brakes are at the helm of affairs at the rear. Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and dual airbags are offered as standard safety features across the entire variant lineup. In addition, several sophsticated safety features, such as Electronic Stability Control, Hill Hold Control, Parktonic Rear Parking Sensors, automatically-dimming rear view mirror, etc., are on offer with the top-end grades.

What do we think about Skoda Rapid?

The Skoda Rapid was always a good car overall and with the facelift it has got much better in terms of appeal and performance. The new features are good but it still has to catch up with competition. The new diesel engine is a great performer. Ride and handling dynamics still remain one of the best in class. Overall, the new Rapid is now a much more desirable car to buy, however, it does come at a premium price.

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