Skoda Rapid Review
Spacious and ComfortableThursday, October 17, 2013
The Skoda Rapid’s combined science and technology comes from the concept of the Volkswagen Vento. However, when it comes to performance, the Rapid is completely different than the Vento. Even with the practicality of its price, the Rapid is still a great performer with a good amount of features for both its petrol and diesel variants. In fact, the vehicle was awarded the Premium Compact Sedan Award by ET-ZigWheels in 2011. Rapid is a C+ segment sedan manufactured by Skoda. The Skoda Rapid is indeed a great addition to the C+ sedan car segment. Most of its parts are from the Vento’s platform including the gearbox, the diesel and petrol engines and the suspension.
Initially, it was thought to be launched as the 'Lauretta' but the company surprised the car industry when they launched it as the ‘Rapid’ in India. The Rapid will compete with the likes of the New Hyundai Verna, the Honda City, the New Ford Fiesta, the Tata Indigo Manza, the Volkswagen Vento, and Fiat Linea and to some extent with the Chevrolet Aveo. With the launch of the Rapid, Skoda India has made a critical decision. With the company’s vision to strengthen its existence in the extremely competitive C+ segment, they have launched the Rapid with confidence that the sedan will be the benchmark of Skoda cars in India. The company’s goal is to make the Rapid the bestselling vehicle in its segment in India. With the high quality design and unique fresh features, the Skoda Rapid seems it will greatly penetrate and can potentially overrun the other cars in the C+ segment.
Fast Facts About Skoda Rapid
- Skoda Rapid is available in both petrol and diesel
- The main rival cars are Volkswagen Vento, Honda City, Fiat Linea, New Hyundai Verna Fluidic, New Ford Fiesta and Nissan Sunny
- Based on the platform of Vento and shares most of the parts with it including the engine, gearbox and suspension.
- Petrol engine is 1598cc, 4 Cylinder, 8 Valve - 105 Bhp power and 153 Nm torque
- Diesel engine is 1598cc, 4 Cylinder, 8 Valve - 105 Bhp power and 250 Nm torque
- Available in six variants:
Active Plus petrol, Ambition Plus petrol, Ambition Plus petrol Automatic, Elegance petrol, Elegance automatic, Active Plus diesel, Ambition Plus diesel and Elegance diesel
- Available in five attractive shades: Deep Black, Candy White, Flash Red, Brilliant Silver and Cappuccino Beige
- Feature dual SRS airbags and ABS (Anti-lock Braking System)
Skoda Rapid Exterior
As mentioned above the Skoda Rapid gets it design from the Volkswagen Vento, but to keep the cost a bit lower it really features a basic and simple design. The design of the Skoda Rapid is set in a muscular frame. It has solid and prominent exteriors with a symbolic nose and large, stretched and leveled headlamps that have been aerodynamically designed with halogen lighting giving the sedan a delightful look. Its outside rear-view mirrors are ideally positioned and the chrome finished centre grille which runs across the front of the sedan has black slats placed below the band forms. The Rapid also has a new bonnet and square shaped huge fog lamps. The front bumper has wide air dam placed under it. It also includes rear park sensors with recessed tail lamps.
The third brake lights use high quality LED bulbs while the rear windscreen defogger includes a timer. To add a different look to the rear, the boot lid has an angular press with two dents on a prism shaped attachment on both sides of the registration plate’s slot. The side outline of the Rapid is quite similar to the VW Vento and the beltline is very sophisticated and delightful to look. The door handles which also has the same color as the body of the vehicle, the tinted window frames, the antenna on the roof and the body color wing mirrors are all similar features you will find in the mid and top Skoda variants. The B-pillar of the door includes a black polished décor and the rear quarter glass is also based from the design of the Vento. Overall, the exterior of the Skoda Rapid looks luxurious and elegant in its own way despite being similar to the Vento.
Skoda Rapid Interior
The interiors of the Skoda Rapid cater to a perfect harmony of space, comfort and convenience. Each part has been ergonomically-designed with elegance and comfort. Its classy interiors include chrome finished inner door handles and front centre console. The gear shifter, AC duct sliders and the hand-brakes’ locking button also have this chrome finish. The leather made steering wheel includes a chrome insert giving it a richer look. The steering also includes height and sight adjustment features that are present in all Rapid variants. Some parts of the interior such as the instrument cluster and music system is based on the design concept from Fabia. The instrument cluster has two informative dials displaying a green back light from the inside. The green lights that are reflected from the dials give a charming look to the instrument cluster. The center panel features the computer which includes a clock, digital fuel meter, distance to empty (DTE) and trip meters. This centre console increases the usability and practicality of the Rapid.
The AC has an automatic climate control feature that is located under the audio system. The gear shift selector has an automatic and a manual feature that makes it different from the VW Vento. The Rapid also has a huge glove box that is made of superior plastic. The Skoda Rapid has a seating capacity of five people with seats having lower back support. The decent and light colored materials give the vehicle a look of elegance. Its driver’s seat has adjustable height and a center arm rest with a small storage space underneath. The front seats are convenient and flexible while the rear seats have stronger cushioning. The rear seat includes legroom which allows the rear passenger to stretch out by simply adjusting the front seat from the rear seat through an ergo-lever. The fold-able center arm rest and adjustable headrest provide added comfort for the passengers. The boot space is 460 liters which is more than enough for tall passengers. The manual dimming inside mirror, front reading centre lights, reading spot lamps and illumination of the luggage compartment have added to the exquisite looks of the Rapid interiors and provides comfort and convenience to all is passengers. Despite the Rapid’s compact size, it has sufficient headroom, legroom and shoulder room for both front and rear passengers thereby comfort and convenience are definitely not taken for granted in this design.
Comfort and Convenience
In order to make it compatible with the Indian market, Skoda has put in interesting comfort features for the Rapid. Included in the comfort features of the Rapid are the ORVMs which can be adjusted internally, adjustable power steering, ORVMs with power fold feature, power windows, central locking and front seats that can be adjusted. It also has a spacious and comfortable five person seating capacity and an armrest for both the driver’s seat and the middle of the rear seats. The arm rest provides comfort when shifting gears and are also adjustable if the driver wants to keep his both hands on the steering wheel. The headrests, adjustable driver’s seat with lower back support are also added comfort features of this Sedan. The MFD display is also an added convenience to know the distance travelled, travelling time, average speed, average and immediate consumption, service interval, travel distance before refueling, the outside temperature and the clock. The Rapid does not have an auto lock feature for its power windows but it has a one touch up and down lock feature. The boot lid can be remotely released while the cup-holders are present both in front and rear seats. Other comfort features include: bounce-back system and tinted windows. With the combination of muscular exteriors and thoughtful interiors, it provides a perfect balance between space and comfort, which makes the Rapid reportedly delightful to drive.
Dashboard and Storage
The Skoda Rapid has a beautiful dark and light beige colored dashboard giving it a nice feel for the occupants. The dashboard includes all advanced features including the instrument cluster, glove box, music system and air conditioning. The cabin area has a lot of storage bins while the door pads have bottle holders included on the front and rear seats. For easy storage of liquids, there are front and rear cup holders with foldable frames present. There are also rear parcel shelves, folding roof handles and a coat hook. There is a vanity mirror placed in the left of the driver’s sun visor. The centre console and rear armrest’s storage compartments are also present. The added accessories of the Rapid are the lights-on acoustic signal, a lot of cubbyholes and storage pockets on the backrest of the front seat.
Music System of Skoda Rapid
The Rapid’s high-end variants have a 2 DIN audio system with radio unit. The radio unit includes MP3/CD with radio unit with AUX socket and a total of 4 speakers for front and back. There is a security code feature on the audio system of the top Rapid variants. On the other hand, the base variants of the Rapid have a 1-DIN audio system with 2 speakers, cable and connector. For more entertainment options, the music system of all Rapid variants has a SD-MMC data card reader.
Engine and Gearbox
The Skoda Rapid integrates the same 1.6 L petrol or diesel engine with dual transmission modes (Auto/Manual) of the VW Vento. As with the VW Vento, it has a 4 cylinder engine. The diesel variant has a 1.6 liter TDi unit that can generate 105 Bhp of power at 4400 rpm with 250 Nm of torque at 1500-2500 rpm. On the other hand, the petrol variant has a 1.6 litre MPI unit that can deliver 105 Bhp of power at 5250 rpm with a torque of 153 Nm at 3800 rpm on tap. Both engines follow the BSIV emission standard. The diesel engine includes a 5 speed manual gearbox while the petrol includes a 5 speed manual and an automatic 6 speed transmission with Tiptronic manual gear changing options. Both engines have 16 valves that are placed across and in front the engine base. The TDi unit is superior while the in-cabin insulation works very well. The gear shift is precise with gear ratios that are only a little different from the Vento’s.
Acceleration and Performance
As mentioned, the Skoda rapid comes in both petrol and diesel variants. The petrol version can deliver a 12 to 14 km per liter mileage from its automatic version and a 12 km per liter in the city and 16 km per liter mileage on the highway for the manual version. On the other hand, the diesel variants can deliver a 13.4 km per liter mileage under extreme driving conditions and a 16 km per liter mileage for regular driving conditions. Due to the powerful engine producing a great amount of torque, the Rapid delivers excellent and effortless acceleration. In just 12.4 seconds, the Rapid can deliver an acceleration of 0-100 kmph. Its manual gearbox allows for the better acceleration of the Rapid. The diesel variants tend to deliver lower acceleration than the petrol variants but provide smoother acceleration on city roads because of its great torque at low rpm. Both diesel and petrol variants are expected to deliver a maximum speed of around 170 kmph to 185 kmph.
Safety Features of Skoda Rapid
The Skoda Rapid has two airbags for the driver and the front passenger, an Anti-lock Braking System, Height adjustable 3 point seat belts, front fog lamps, high stop LED center brake, Engine Immobilizer with floating code and central door locking and Electronic Brake Force Distribution. However, not all Rapid variants has the above mentioned safety features. The top end variants have a security code feature on their audio system. Its Ambition variant has front and rear fog lamps and dual rate brake assists with remote control features on fold-able keys, doors, windows and the boot lid. Its base Active variant has a defogger with timer on the rear windshield, high-level LED third brake light, additional two 3-point outer seat-belt and centre lap belt in the rear, Anti-glare interior rear view mirror, rough road package, rear window locking, child-proof rear door, door-ajar warning indicator, dual tone horn and emergency triangle in the luggage compartment.
Suspension and Braking
Braking for both the diesel and petrol variants is aided by ABS and Brake Assist. Disc Brakes are also included on the front wheels while drum brakes are on the rear wheels. The front discs on the wheels will do the tough work of stopping the car when the brakes are applied. The Rapid’s suspension setup is different than that of the VW Vento. It has a front MacPherson type strut suspension system that also includes a stabilizer bar with a partly independent type trailing arm on the rear with shocker suspensions. The suspension does the hard work on all kinds of road surfaces providing fewer jerks that can be felt inside the car. It is said to have a decent ground clearance with the chassis only scraping over the board speed-breakers that faces most of the humps on the road.
Ride and Handling
The power steering is adjustable which makes it easy to manage the high speed turns on twisting roads. The Rapid sports 5 spoke alloy wheels are extensively lighter and more stable providing a harmonious and excellent driving experience. However, some experts say that the ride on the Rapid is more rigid at lower speeds over broken roads but smoothens when riding at a higher speed on the highways.
The Skoda Rapid is available in five eye-catching shades: Candy White, Deep Black, Flash Red, Cappuccino Beige and Brilliant Silver.
The Skoda Rapid offers great variants within this segment. The variants include:
Active Plus petrol, Ambition Plus petrol, Ambition Plus petrol Automatic, Elegance petrol, Elegance automatic, Active Plus diesel, Ambition Plus diesel and Elegance diesel. In addition to the routine features, the top-model of Rapid features 2-DIN music system with AUX-in and USB port, alloy wheels, fog lights, automatic climate control system, ABS and dual SRS airbags.
Value for Money
Being positioned in the C segment, the manufacturers of the Rapid made an aggressive market strategy to grab the shares of its competitors. With its design and performance very similar to the Vento, the Rapid is more affordably priced than the Vento. Skoda cut down costs in producing the Rapid by cutting some features present in Vento. Nevertheless, the style and great performance are still present in the Skoda Rapid which makes it good value for money.
As a family car, the Rapid is compact in size and allocates enough space to make it ideal for city drives and long journeys. Its uniquely smart and stylish design makes the Rapid a perfect balance of comfort and convenience which sets it apart from the Fabia and the Laura. With its affordable price, plush interiors and exceptional design it seems to be satisfying to many. Overall, the Skoda Rapid is a great offering with affordable pricing that is destined to be good competition in the C+ segment. With an alluring design, ample space, superb safety features and advanced technology, other manufacturers of cars in this segment may have some trouble on their hands.