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Skoda launched the Rapid sedan in the Indian market back in 2011. Since then the Rapid has been one of the best selling cars from the company's portfolio in India. Since 2011 the Rapid has got a few facelifts, but the second generation Rapid is yet to launch, which will most probably be some time next year.
We got our hands on the 2020 Skoda Rapid Monte Carlo TSI for a few days and drove it in the city and on the highways. The top-of-the-line Monte Carlo edition gets a few extra elements that the regular Rapid TSI and here is what we have to say about it.
First things first, the Flash Red colour of the test car that we got was looking extremely good. However, all the blacked-out accents around the car were enhancing the Rapid's sporty nature. At the front, the car gets sleek looking blacked-out headlight units that feature a projector for the low beam and a reflector for the high beam. It also gets some chrome inserts inside the headlight and LED DRLs are extremely bright. The car also gets fog lights that also act as cornering lights. However, the lighting setup is halogen, which we think, should have been LED as this is a special edition.
The front also features a blacked-out grille with black inserts all around it. The only chrome the car gets in the front is the logo. Other than that, the sharp lines and creases the Rapid gets on its hood makes it look sporty from the front.
Moving on to the side, the thing that will grab your attention on the spot are those 16-inch dual tone alloy wheels. They are wrapped in 195/55/R16 MRF rubbers and the design and size go well with the overall car. The tyres provide a lot of grip on high speeds and the car feels planted around corners as well.
Surprisingly the car does not feature keyless entry, which is kind of sad. It also gets the MONTE CARLO badge on either side on the B-pillar and the roof and the ORVMs are finished in gloss black, which blend perfectly with the red paint scheme. Again, there is no chrome garnishing around the windows. It also features a shark fin antenna.
Moving to the rear profile of the Rapid, here the car gets some amount of chrome present in the form of badges. To enhance the sporty nature of the car, the company has fitted the sedan with a black boot-lip spoiler, which provides slight downforce at high speeds.
The taillights of the 2020 Rapid Monte Carlo looks dated, first of all, it is an all halogen unit and second, the company should have made it slightly sharper and sleek so that it could blend well with the rest of the elements. It also gets a reverse parking camera and sensors. The camera features adaptive guidelines that will make parking at tight spaces easy.
Now here is where the Monte Carlo edition gets the most number of changes as compared to the regular Rapid. As soon as you will enter the cabin, you will notice that everything is blacked out, from the dashboard, steering wheel, door panels etc. Whereas on the regular Rapid, you get dual-tone interiors. However, a single tone interior looks extremely sporty.
Speaking about the seats, the front two seats feature the MONTE CARLO badge right under the headrest and also get red inserts and stitching to enhance the sportiness. Yes, the seats are very comfortable and manually adjusted. However, only the driver's side gets a seat height adjuster.
The second row can easily accommodate three passengers, but two will be extremely comfortable as the floor is not completely flat. Also, if two people are travelling then they can deploy the centre armrest for more comfort. The windows of the Rapid had already got the factory tinted glass and for more privacy, Skoda has fitted the rear windows with the removable sunshades.
The AC on the Rapid works like a charm and since the sedan gets rear AC vents and the sunshades, the cabin cools down faster on a hot day. The company has also provided two cushions for the rear passengers that also have the MONTE CARLO badge engraved on it.
The car gets a flat-bottom steering wheel that is wrapped in leather and has got red stitching all around it. It also features steering mounted controls on the left-hand side that controls the infotainment system and one can also receive and disconnect calls from there.
Speaking about the infotainment system, the Rapid Monte Carlo gets an 8-inch touchscreen that Skoda likes to all the Android-Radio. Surprisingly the system does not get AndroidAuto or Apple CarPlay, but you can mirror your phone. It is basically a tablet, that has all the features of an android phone. There is a dedicated sim card slot holder, through which one can access the internet.
In today's time, a lot of people get the aftermarket Android systems installed in their cars and watch videos when they are stuck in stop and go traffic, which is extremely dangerous. Skoda has added the safety feature that only allows the video to play if the handbrake has been pulled up.
The instrument cluster on the 2020 Rapid is pretty basic. It gets a MID screen that gives out some information about the car like the temperature, trips, distance to empty, clock, mileage and many more. Flanked on either side of the MID screen are the analogue speedometer and the tachometer. However, the car features automatic wipers and headlights and also gets cruise control.
There is plenty of storage space inside the car such as bottle holders and cup holders present on the doors and in front of the gear lever. It also gets a cool glovebox. The Rapid gets a 460-litre boot that is big enough to accommodate luggage for four people. In need for more space? Just fold the 60:40 split seat down and there you have it. Since this is the Monte Carlo edition, we expected the interiors to feature soft tough materials, but instead, it gets good quality plastic fittings.
Engine & Handling
The Rapid Monte Carol is powered by the 1-litre TSI engine. The motor is a 999cc, three-cylinder, turbo petrol unit that pumps out 108bhp of power and 175Nm of peak torque. The engine is mated to a six-speed manual gearbox (Automatic is expected to arrive soon). Since the car weighs under 1200 kgs, it feels nimble, thanks to the forced induction motor that makes the Rapid feel quick off the line and surprisingly the car pulls well till the redline.
The turbo has very little lag, but once it kicks in the car just shoots. If you are planning to launch the car and dump the clutch while your foot is on the gas in the first gear, there will be a lot of wheel spin since there is no traction control. However, with a wider set of tyres, this issue can be sorted to an extent. There is ABS to watch your back and the stock tyres provide a lot of bite while braking hard. The front gets a disc setup while the rear is a drum. We wished that the front brake callipers were painted in red.
The suspension setup on the Rapid Monte Carlo is set up slightly on the stiffer side, as the company tuned it to meet the expectation of both worlds. However, when we were doing triple-digit speeds, the car felt slightly wobbly. Show the car some corners and you will be impressed by how well it can handle. But at the same time, cornering at high speeds can affect the handling of the car because of the slight body roll.
The steering is pretty responsive and shifting lanes is not a problem. Want to overtake someone, just shift down one gear and you are good to go. The sifts between the gears is short which gives it a sporty feel while shifting, just like a shot-shifter gearbox. Also, the clutch is extremely light which makes it easy to manoeuvre through the city's stop and go traffic.
As far as the mileage figures are concerned, the Rapid TSI delivered around 12 to 14 km/l in the city. Whereas on the highway, the figures fluctuated between 18 to 20 km/l. So on a full tank, i.e. 55 litres, the car can easily go upwards of the 500 km mark. The Rapid Monte Carlo really impressed us with these kinds of figures.
The Rapid Monte Carlo carries a price tag of Rs 11.76 lakh ex-showroom, which is not a bad deal for a sedan that looks sporty and drives well too. However, there are a few features that this top of the line sedan misses out on such as keyless entry and probably a sunroof. The suspension could have been slightly on the stiffer side and the rear end of the car could have been tweaked as it looks dated.
Other than that we really like the power delivery of the Rapid TSI and its overall looks, in short, the sedan offers the best of both worlds. The Rapid Monte Carlo goes up against the likes of the Volkswagen Vento, Hyundai Verna, Maruti Suzuki Ciaz, Honda City and Toyota Yaris in the Indian market.