You cannot fault Skoda Rapid if it has some identical design aspects to Volkswagen Vento, after all Skoda comes under Volkswagen group so somewhere the lines of R&D are likely to be blurred. And also it has borrowed liberally from its own Fabia. So you got a mishmash car here but let’s see if it stands ground on its own.
For trivia lovers here is a short history of Skoda Rapid. The first generation of Skoda Rapid was launched in mid 80′s and though Skoda sedans had a not so pleasant history those days, Rapid managed to change the opinion and also was termed “poor man’s porsche” and then was phased out in 1990. The brand name was brought back to life with the launch of all-new Rapid in late 2011, though this time heavily influenced by VW Vento and Fabia.
First let’s see where Rapid is inspired by Vento and Fabia:
Fabia influence: On a quick glance the front of Rapid looks literally borrowed from Fabia – A similar looking bonnet along with headlamps, grill and fog lamps.
Vento influence: Move to the sides, the Rapid looks all similar to Vento , though in rear Skoda has done a bit to make the similarities at bay with a new tail lamp and bumper. Even you notice a design change to the boot.
Don’t mistake it to Fabia, it is Rapid’s front close-up!
A Fabia lifted front headlamp but Rapid sports its own new tail lamp that fits well into its design parameters.
The side profile of Rapid is nothing but VW Vento for you.
Though Skoda has done its part to the rear. A new tail lamp. Did you notice the diagonal lines near the number plates that gives a prism effect? A small design aspect that actually gives life to the rear design. Also, Rapid sports a new bumper design.
Overall the looks of Skoda Rapid is conservative at the same time commanding. It would appeal to a large section of people for its understated but still a very corporate no-nonsense feel and presence it imbibes. Rapid is not flamboyant in design but very grounded and assuring.
Now let’s step in. You feel a familiar air inside. Yes, the Vento similarity is carried forward. Rapid sports a dual tone interior with a shade of brown and ivory brightening the inside. The dashboard and the instrument cluster are conventional in design and placement yet practical.
The top variant comes with the music bay and sports a digital display and also front and rear speakers. Unfortunately for gadget freaks, the music system would be quiet a disappointment with no USB input nor steering mounted controls.
A/c is a standard fixture in all the variants though only the top variant comes with a automatic air conditioning with electronic climate control and the other two has do with manual adjustment.
The top variant has electrically adjustable external mirrors while the other two has internal manual adjustments.
Front and rear power windows are standard fixture in all the variants.
The 4 spoke steering wheel is a direct lift from Fabia. It is easy on hands, soft and comfortable. Surprisingly, the steering mounted controls are missing even in the top end variant. Gladly all the variants comes with complete steering adjustments for both height and length.
Coming to the instrument cluster sports a dual pod with a small digital display in the middle. Not a flamboyant design though. The multi-function display offers Travelling time, Distance travelled, Average speed, Immediate consumption, Average consumption, Travel distance before refuelling, Service Interval, Outside temperature, Clock and sports a green glow.
You get a spacious glove box. Check out the ivory color that gives the Rapid’s interior quiet a bright and vibrant feel. There are bottle holders in the front doors and storage compartment in the front and rear doors. Also the front and rear holds a cup holder with flip. The front and rear also has a storage compartment in their respective central console and central armrest.
You get a 460 litres boot space which is decent enough.
The top variant sports a 15″ alloy wheel while you got to settle with 14″ regular wheels with full wheel cover.
Rapid comes in Petrol and Diesel engine and in 3 variants – Active, Ambition and Elegance. Active being the base variant and Elegance the top variant. And also the top two variants of the Petrol version comes with automatic transmission.
It comes in5 colors: Brilliant Silver, Candy white, Cappuccino beige, Deep black pearl and Flash Red.
No surprises, the Rapid shares the same engine that VW Vento enjoys.
Powering the Rapid (petrol) is a liquid cooled, DOHC 1.6 L petrol engine delivering 105 Bhp @ 5250 rpm and max torque of 153 npm @ 3800 rpm.
And the diesel engine is again a liquid cooled turbo charged 1.6 L engine that delivers 105 bhp @ 4400 rpm and 250 Nm torque @ 2500 rpm.
Going by the figures, it is quiet evident the diesel Rapid is peppier and fun to ride and also if I have to put my bucks, the diesel variant it would be!
Having said this, both the cars handles well and gives a good performance, though the diesel scores more brownies. Between both thanks to the weight ratio and the torque ratio diesel also scores well on the suspension and it handles the bad roads butter smooth. In short both the petrol and diesel instills a sense of confidence and assurance thanks to good handling and road performance with the diesel nipping ahead of the petrol variant on the rating scale.
Coming to the automatic transmission, which is limited to the Ambition and Elegance versions of ONLY the petrol variant, it comes with a 6-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission. You got 3 driving modes: Normal driving mode, Sporty driving mode and tiptronic which enables manually changing gear mode.
The main differences between the Rapid variants:
Pricing of Skoda Rapid:
On a final note, Skoda has delivered a promising car that behaves well, well grounded and looks conventional yet gives an assuring stance. Though not loaded with top of the notch features, it compensates it with good riding, handling and performance. In Rapid, Skoda has a car that might help it make rapid strides on Indian market.