Skoda Rapid Hatchback First Look Review

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Skoda Rapid Overview

The Skoda Rapid has been the Czech carmaker’s cash cow in India, accounting for nearly 70 percent of its total sales, but it’s still far from the most popular car in its segment. With a facelift, the first substantial one in five years since the car’s launch here, the Rapid has been sharpened up aesthetically, fitted with a more powerful diesel engine and equipped with added features to make it more appealing. In fact, Skoda hopes that the update will empower the Rapid’s sales number to almost double to 20,000 annual units by the end of 2017.

Skoda Rapid Design

The Rapid was a good-looking car but at the time where models are refreshed every two years, its design had become quite dated. It is a good thing then as the new design focuses on straight lines than the curvy panels of its predecessor. While the Rapid looked like the sedan derivative of the Fabia, the new one echoes styling cues from the new generation Skodas, namely the Octavia and the Superb.Check for Skoda Rapid price in Bangalore at Tryaldrive.

The changes revolve mainly around the front, where the headlamps, bumper, grill and bonnet are new. The new face, especially the grille, echoes the current signature design theme of the new Skoda family. The headlamp has a projector setup with daytime running LED lamps that shut down when the turn indicators are on, like the bigger Audis. The blacked-out theme with the chrome accents and LEDs give it that bejewelled look like the more premium Octavia. It also gets a fog lamp cover like its larger cousin. The front bumper is now wider with squared-off accents and a wider air dam that gives the car a sporty visage. While wheelbase remains the same, the length has increased by 27mm thanks to the revised bumpers.

While the body shell remains unchanged, the side profile gets updates in the form of a new 5-spoke alloy and new ORVMs with integrated LED turn indicators. There is a touch of chrome on the exterior in the form of subtle accents on the door handles and a chrome strip on the boot lip. The rear gets revised tail lamps that now feature a smoked-out effect and a larger bumper with a subtle spoiler on the boot. Overall, the new Rapid looks suave, like a scaled-down Octavia. The robust feel of the VW family continues to be experienced here courtesy of a galvanized body that is corrosion-resistant with laser welds used for exceptional stiffness. The Rapid gets an 11-stage paint job that gives the car a high-quality glossy sheen.

Skoda Rapid Cabin

Inside the new Rapid features a similar layout to its predecessor; however, Skoda has improved the equipment levels to bring the car at par with the competition. The 6.5-inch infotainment system is new and easily one of the crisper units around. The touchscreen’s sensitivity is far better than what you experience in competition, like the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz. Pairing your smartphone is easy, and you can use the MirrorLink feature to simulate your phone’s screen on the infotainment system’s display.

The new steering wheel looks good and is one of my favourites among the updates. The chunky leather-wrapped steering rim feels good to hold, and the buttons on it are quite intuitive to operate. I also feel the scroll-type button to adjust the volume is another thoughtful touch.Skoda has opted for an ebony/beige combination to upholster the cabin and it looks quite neat. There are other noteworthy features too, such as an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, climate control, cooled glovebox, cruise control and remote-operated power windows. Skoda could have got the extra mile and offered a reverse camera to complete the equipment list.

The front seats offer decent levels of comfort; however, a little more underthigh support would’ve been welcome. The rear bench is comfortable and you won’t really want to be chauffeured in the car. That said, cars like the Ciaz or City offer far more space, and if you are looking solely for rear space, the Rapid doesn’t fit the bill. The 460-litre boot though is generous and is enough to haul your shopping or weekend luggage.

Skoda Rapid Performance

The principal mechanical change in the facelifted Rapid is the new diesel engine. Well, ‘new’ might not be the most accurate term because this engine is an updated version of the 1.5-litre TDI available in the pre-facelift car. This engine, which made its debut in the VW Ameo, features a larger, locally-sourced turbocharger that allows the power to be bumped up from 105hp to 110hp. Its torque rating, at 250Nm, remains unchanged. The diesel engine is available with a 5-speed manual as well as a 7-speed automatic DSG gearbox, the former of which we are reviewing here.To know more information on Skoda Rapid visit Byteintobigdata

At idle, the TDI engine greets you with its usual clatter. It is audible at all times, which is a bit of a downer. What is good though is the performance. Loads of torque is available in the revs before the turbo kicks in, allowing you to comfortably potter around town. In fact, it’s possible to get through slow-moving traffic in third gear. Find an open stretch and step on the gas, however, and you move into a meaty mid-range. The turbo kicks in earnest at 2000rpm and from there till 4500rpm, the remarkably free-revving engine delivers a constant stream of power. You can rev till past 5000rpm but doing so makes the engine sound strained. The five-speed manual gearbox offers short, nice throws, though the clutch is on the heavier side.

The Rapid’s suspension set-up is unchanged from before, which is not a bad thing at all. The low-speed ride is sufficiently absorbent, and only the largest of potholes thumps through to the cabin. As you speed up, you notice that the very softness of the suspension that makes it absorbent also makes the car bob slightly on undulating roads, but never to a point that it feels uncomfortable. Stability, on the whole, is quite good, making the Rapid an acceptable highway cruiser.

Skoda Rapid Driving

Traditionally, the petrol variant is the sportier version but in the Rapid the petrol version seems tuned for comfort. The motor is refined with healthy torque delivered on the top reaches of the rev range. It is an eager motor and the manual is quite fun to drive with its slick gearbox that offer shorter shifts and a light responsive clutch that makes the car engaging to drive. There is also the option of a 6-speed Tiptronic automatic. A DSG box would make more sense here but would also drive up the price considerably. It is possible that Skoda might launch a 1.2-litre turbo petrol later and is saving the DSG box for that. The problem is that despite its eager nature, the 1.6 petrol mill feels like a dated unit overall if you compare it to the competition whose mills have higher levels of refinement and a more precise power delivery.

The suspension is tuned for comfort with excellent damping all around. Bad roads do not unsettle the car at the least but the trade-off is a floaty ride at high speeds. The feeling is exacerbated by a steering that lacks feel but is light and precise. Handling is quite good with impressive level of grip in corners and mild understeer setting in at the limit. The soft suspension means there is a bit of body roll in corners. The brakes have good bite but feels spongy.

Skoda Rapid 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.

Skoda Rapid Price in Bangalore

Skoda Rapid On Road Price is 9,82,273/- and Ex-showroom Price is 7,99,599/- in Bangalore. Skoda Rapid comes in 1 colours, namely Candy White. Skoda Rapid comes with FWD with 1598 CC Displacement and 4 Cylinders with Maximum Power 103 bhp@5200-5250 rpm and Peak Torque 153 Nm@3750-3800 rpm DRIVE TRAIN FWD and reaches 100 KMPH at N/A . Skoda Rapid comes with Manual Transmission with FWD .

Skoda Rapid Bottomline

Skoda has been making decent cars right from the beginning, and Rapid has been one of the company’s best-seller in India due to its exquisite appearance, premium cabin and power-packed performance. The Skoda Rapid 2017 price is also aggressive, with a lot more features added. However, the company needs to work heavily on the after-sale department as it is where Skoda is crippled. The non-availability and expensiveness of spare parts is a major issue that Skoda needs to address as early as possible, if it intends to consolidate its position in the Indian market and retail higher volumes.

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