2016 Skoda Rapid – First Drive Review
Tarun Tripathy, Tarun has competed in the Raid De Himalayas, holds a national record for endurance driving and trained in the advance levels of the Mercedes AMG driving academy.
The Rapid arrived in India in 2011 and quickly became Skoda’s top selling product in the country. Though it was always the twin sister to the Volkswagen Vento, Skoda worked hard to differentiate the Rapid and carve out its own unique selling points.
Customers responded by snapping 70% of Skoda India’s sales book over the years. But with the onslaught of nameplates such as the Ciaz, City and Vento, the Rapid had begun to look dated. To tip the scale back in its favour, Skoda has delivered a another round of updates to the Rapid.
Bumpers on both ends of the car have been revised and sharpened. A new grill and bonnet have been included alongside Octavia inspired projector headlamps, LED daytime running lights, and a rear spoiler. Interior updates include a new 6.5 inch touchscreen infotainment system and automatic windshield wipers.
For some reason though, Skoda decided to eliminate the lever that rear seat passengers used to push the co-passenger seat forward and open up more leg room. A helpful feature that made the car standout is now gone. A reverse camera continues to be conspicuous by its absence.
On the propulsion front, the 1.6 MPI petrol engine produces 103 bhp paired to 153 Nm of torque controlled by a 5 speed manual or 6 speed automatic gearbox. The diesel option includes the revised 1.5 litre TDI diesel engine that produces 110 bhp and 250 Nm of pulling power. You can have it with a 5 speed manual or 7 speed DSG unit. This is however, the same engine that does duty on the Volkswagen Ameo and Vento, and remains very potent in its driving characteristics.
While the petrol motor is pretty happy revving up the line, finding power is akin to finding Nemo. It is always a happy ending but I would rather not go out for the hunt. The diesel, on the other hand, feels much better placed to get you off the line quickly and effortlessly. It does make a racket though, as it produces all that power, but the Rapid compensates by having the ample cabin sound insulation.
Interior quality, build and finish remain largely the same. A problem that plagued the previous Rapid was the boot opening switching coming off as you operated it, and unfortunately, the story remains unchanged. Though knee room is far from the segment’s benchmark, the Rapid delivers a good level of comfort, even to my 6’ 1” frame.
Pricing is in the region of 8.3 and 11.3 lakh for the petrol options, and between INR 9.5 and 12.7 lakh for the diesel options, all ex-showroom Delhi. There is also a 4 year/ 60,000 km warranty included in the package. Do note that features like the projector headlamps and touchscreen infotainment system are only available on the top trim, and the top trim in diesel-automatic avatar can set you back by over 15 lakh on-road, which is on the expensive side of things.