Skoda Rapid Hatchback First Drive & Performance

Skoda Rapid Overview

The Rapid has always been a steady performer for Skoda. While the big boys from the Czech automaker’s portfolio that is, the Octavia and the Superb always stole the limelight, it was the Rapid that steadily contributed volumes. With the demise of the Fabia brand in India, the sedan has been the most affordable Skoda on sale, for a couple of years.With the competition picking up steam, Skoda thought it was wise to give the Rapid a nip and tuck, and prep it for yet another stint at the market. What’s changed? Let’s take a look: Book a test drive for Rapid in Hyderabad at Tryaldrive

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Skoda Rapid Exterior & Style

Skoda has given the Rapid their family look, specially the front profile. The butterfly grille, sleeker projector lamps with DRLs and revised bumpers makes it look fresh. While the front gets substantial changes, the side profile and rear profile remain more or less the same. The alloys are carried over from the pre-facelift model, there are chrome highlighted door handles, boot spoiler and smoke out tail lamps. Nevertheless, the Rapid now looks much more appealing than before.

Skoda Rapid Interior & Space

On the inside, new Rapid hasn’t changed much. The same dashboard continues on the New Skoda Rapid 2017 with black and beige interiors. The instrument cluster also is the same but now gets a white backlight instead of green. The New Skoda Rapid 2017 gets a new steering wheel which is much better than the earlier one. It has audio controls on it too. The car also gets a new touchscreen system with bluetooth and Mirrorlink. However, it does not have navigation. What also is disappointing is that it doesn’t get a reverse parking camera, despite a coloured screen. There are rear AC vents and now there is also a collapsible cup holder on it.

The overall quality of interiors have improved and that is a good sign. Space has been one of the key factors in the Rapid and it continues to offer good front and rear seat comfort. There is an armrest at the rear too.The front row has good enough space for tall people. There is no shortage of leg room or head room. Slide into the second row and there is ample of knee room and head space for the back seat too. The seats are firm, which makes it comfortable for long drives. The boot size too is large enough for a family weekend trip.

Skoda Rapid Engine & Gearbox

Engine options remain unchanged for the Rapid, and include a 1.6-litre petrol engine, and a 1.5-litre oil burner. Both engines are available with a 5-speed manual transmission, and optional automatic transmissions – 6-speed torque converter for the petrol and a 7-speed dual-clutch for the diesel.

Petrol

The 1.6-litre ‘MPi’ engine has been among Skoda’s most reliable motors, powering a sizeable chunk of their global portfolio. The four-cylinder engine feels well suited for the size and bulk of the Rapid, and rarely feels out of breath. While it has 105PS and 153Nm on tap, it isn’t exactly a sprightly performer. While maximum shove is available in a relatively narrow band post 3500rpm, peak power is developed only near the redline.

Naturally, you are usually forced to rev the motor to make the most of it. Bottom end is strong enough to let you do 20kmph in third without stuttering. The clutch is light, action is positive and the travel isn’t too long either – so traffic snarls shouldn’t be a big bother. In case you want to give the left leg a rest altogether, there’s an automatic on offer too.

The 6-speed automatic does a good job of swapping cogs. Admittedly it isn’t as good as the 7-speed DSG in the diesel, but it wouldn’t give you a reason to complain on a daily basis. Driving the petrol automatic requires a light and steady right foot, which gives the gearbox enough time to contemplate and execute gear changes. Needless to mention, it will be easier on the pocket that way too.In case you are eyeing the petrol, bear in mind the motor likes to relax. Hurrying isn’t its cup of tea, and it is far more suited chugging miles at a leisurely place.

Diesel

The Rapid gets the updated 1.5-litre TDi diesel engine that debuted with the Volkswagen Ameo compact sedan. Power is up to 110PS (from 105PS), while peak torque remains identical at 250Nm. Between the two options, the diesel is easily our pick for its outright oomph and fun to drive factor.

Paired with the 5-speed manual, the 1.5-litre motor is quite a hoot to drive. We wouldn’t blame you if you found yourself keeping the motor on the boil, exploiting all the 250Nm it has to offer. Turbo lag isn’t as perceptible as before, and if you are silly with the throttle, it will pin you to your seat as the tacho climbs past 1500rpm. The clutch on the diesel version is anything but light, though. Prolonged traffic jams will give your calves quite a workout, and we genuinely wish it was a notch lighter to help crawling in traffic.

What about the automatic? Well, it won’t make you miss a manual transmission. It is that good! Shifts are quick – both up and down – and there’s a Sport mode if you want to have some fun too. The gearbox is tuned for efficiency, and will find every little opportunity to shift up. Lay the hammer down with the right foot, and it will hold the revs all the way up to the redline. Nice!

Skoda Rapid Ride & Handling

Pick any car from the entire Skoda lineup and it shines in this department. Same is the case with the Rapid. It offers excellent ride at high speeds with super confidence on the highways. It is well composed on undulations as well but patchy roads with deep potholes makes it thud loudly. The handling is very satisfying, it is eager to take corners hard and maintains its line without any drama. The steering feel is rich, giving you precise feedback about the wheels. The brakes offer good stopping power but it’s almost 2017 now and manufacturers should start offering rear discs for that extra edge on safety.

Skoda Rapid Safety & security

Dual airbags and anti-lock brakes come as standard across all variants of the Skoda Rapid. The automatic variants goes one up, offering Hill Hold Control and the diesel-auto gets Electronic Stability Control as well. Also, in case of a crash, the Rapid automatically cuts off fuel supply.The New Skoda Rapid 2017 comes with features such as cruise control. It also gets a MirrorLink touchscreen infotainment system, which is available only in the top variant. The system has AUX, USB and Bluetooth connectivity. Automatic climate control is also offered on this sedan. On the safety front, ABS and dual front airbags are standard across all variants.

Skoda Rapid Price in Bangalore

Skoda Rapid Ex-Showroom Price in Bangalore ranges from 8,47,385/- (Rapid 1.6 MPI Active Petrol) to 13,46,008/- (Rapid 1.5 TDI CR Style AT). Get best offers for Skoda Rapid from Skoda Dealers in Bangalore. Check for Rapid price in Bangalore at Carzprice

Skoda Rapid Verdict

The Skoda Rapid was previously overshadowed by its VW sibling, the Vento. But now in its updated avatar, the Rapid looks quite appealing and fresh relatively. That along with more features, powerful diesel engine and Skoda’s latest 4 year service care programme, the Rapid is definitely worth considering if you’re looking out for a C-Segment sedan.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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