2017 Skoda Rapid Review — Will Skoda Witness Rapid Growth?

Read our exclusive review of the new Skoda Rapid, as we put the diesel and the petrol variants through its paces.

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Skoda recently launched the new Rapid in India, giving the midsize sedan a much-needed facelift. Launched in 2011, the Rapid has contributed to over 70 percent of sales for Skoda in India. 

The new Rapid is priced from Rs 8.34 lakh to Rs 12.78 lakh ex-showroom (Mumbai). Skoda is betting big on the Rapid, and let's take a look at what the Czech manufacturer has got in store this time.

Design

The Skoda Rapid has undergone a major cosmetic update compared to the old Rapid. The front fascia of the car now looks sleeker, thanks to the redesigned headlamp cluster, front grille, and the foglamp placement.

The character line is now sharper compared to the older generation Rapid, but the tall shoulder line has been retained, that has always complimented the Rapid. The front and side profile of the Rapid look refreshing.

Toward the rear, the impressive design language seen on the front and side fades away, as no major changes have been carried out apart from the smoked outline the tail lamp assembly gets and the newly introduced boot lip spoiler.

Engine Specification And Gearbox

The engine has been tweaked, but is limited to the diesel variant only. The 1.5-litre diesel engine is the standard power house that does its duty on the Volkswagen Ameo. The diesel Rapid now makes 108bhp and 250Nm of torque.

The petrol engine is a 1.6-litre unit carried forward from the older generation Rapid that produces 103bhp and 153Nm of torque. Both, the diesel and petrol engine come mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox and an optional automatic gearbox.

The petrol engine gets a conventional 6-speed automatic gearbox while the Diesel gets a 7-speed DSG* dual-clutch automatic that can be manually controlled via the triptonic gear lever (no paddle shifters available).

Mileage

On the mileage front, Skoda claims the petrol variant of the new Rapid returns 15.41km/l (5-speed, manual) and 14.84km/l (6-speed, automatic), while the diesel powered Rapid returns 21.13km/l (5-speed, manual) and 21.72km/l (7-speed DSG, automatic).

Ride And Handling

The petrol engine on the Rapid is a tad-bit noisy, and for a person driving the car for the first time, would be confused if the car is a petrol or a diesel variant. The manual and automatic variants are light on their feet and are surprisingly punchy to drive above 3,000rpm.

The diesel Rapid is refined, and the manual is fun to drive, while the DSG automatic was a let down.

The DSG automatic variant felt sluggish at lower speeds (below 2,000rpm) and lacked the 'sporty' factor for a vehicle with a DSG dual-clutch gearbox. The Rapid diesel is best to drive in the 2500 - 4000rpm range.

The DSG gearbox on the Rapid offers precise and seemless up-shifts, while down-shifts are hesitant.

*A direct-shift gearbox (DSG), is a dual-clutch manual gearbox which is electronically controlled (without a conventional clutch pedal in place) with full automatic or semi-manual control via the triptonic gear lever or the paddle shifters.

The Rapid handles well around corners. The steering feedback is responsive helping the car change directions with ease, giving the driver loads of confidence on twisty roads.

Features

The new Skoda Rapid's features include LED daytime running lights with projector headlamps and 15-inch wheels. The inside of the car is what truly sets the Rapid apart from its competitors.

As soon as one steps in, the dual tone interior finish catches your attention. The seats are finished in comfortable perforated leather, with height adjustable head rests.

Other details such as the semi-digital instrument console, auto dimming rear-view mirror, bottle holders for the front and rear, height and length adjustable steering wheel, and anti-pinch windows enhance the overall luxury of the car.

A very prominent feature in the new Rapid is the new 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system which is a huge upgrade from the older Rapid. The infotainment system comes with Mirrorlink technology that helps you connect your smartphone to the car.

One interesting feature of the new Skoda Rapid is the card holder located below the air conditioning vents in the front. This enables the driver to place a debit, credit or toll gate smart card that will be used frequently on long drives.

The seats offer good support and are comfortable. There is enough headroom for the average height Indian woman and man in the second row. The centre armrest tucks away into the seat and adds to the overall comfort.

With the armrest folded, the Rapid seats three adults at the rear, but with a bit of a squeeze. For two passengers, the rear seat is apt.

The new Rapid offers 460-litres of boot space, enough to accommodate an average family's luggage for a weekend getaway. The spare wheel is located in the boot, along with the necessary tools needed during an emergency.

Fact Check:

  • Honda City: 510-litres
  • Volkswagen Vento: 494-litres
  • Hyundai Verna: 465-litres

Safety

The safety features aboard the new Rapid include dual airbags in the front, ABS, Electronic Stability Control, height adjustable seat belts in the front, reverse parking sensors, and Hill Hold Control, which is an interesting feature on a car in this segment.

The Hill Hold Control, that was not offered in the older generation Rapid, helps drivers stop and start uphill, say for example going up a basement. The brakes will hold for a few seconds, helping the car go forward with ease, without rolling backwards.

Colours

The Skoda Rapid is available in six colours: Brilliant Silver, Candy White, Cappuccino Beige, Carbon Steel, Silk Blue, and Flash Red.

Warranty

The new Skoda Rapid comes with a 4 year or 1,00,000km warranty that includes 24X7 non-stop assistance. Skoda also offers a 4 year/ 60,000km maintenance package that takes care of four services. The maintenance package is priced at Rs 29,999.

Verdict

If city driving is what you are looking for, the new Rapid is a perfect pick. Controls are ergonomically placed, making the new Rapid a stress free car to drive in traffic.

If long highway travel is frequent, the automatic variant (petrol and diesel) is a good choice. For an enthusiastic driver, the manual variant of the new Skoda Rapid will be ideal (the diesel especially).

The Skoda Rapid competes with the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz, Honda City, Hyundai Verna, and the Volkswagen Vento, the Rapid's sibling.

The new facelifted Rapid may not climb to the top of the ladder, but is sure to boost sales numbers for Skoda in India.

New Skoda Rapid Pricing (Ex-showroom Mumbai)

Petrol

  • Active: Rs 8,34,906
  • Ambition: Rs 9,26,728
  • Ambition (Automatic): Rs 10,38,841
  • Style: Rs 10,44, 163
  • Style (Automatic): Rs 11,46,187

Diesel

  • Active: Rs 9,57,335
  • Ambition: Rs 10,49,157
  • Ambition (Automatic): Rs 11,71,471
  • Style: Rs 11,66,590
  • Style (Automatic): Rs 12,78,590

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Read more on: #skoda #review
Story first published: Monday, November 21, 2016, 20:44 [IST]
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