As we land at the scenic Goa International Airport little
are we aware of what lies beyond the busy baggage counters and security checks.
We exit the airport and wait for our taxi to the hotel. Skoda had planned a big
surprise for us - the new Skoda Rapid in gleaming cappuccino beige is waiting
for us to drive. The new Skoda Rapid is much like the previous version of the
car except for a few changes like a bolder looking Skoda badge and a new set of
5-spoke alloys. What really had us excited were the changes Skoda had made
under the hood.
The new Skoda Rapid now comes with a 1.5 litre TDI which
churns out 103bhp @ 4400rpm and 250Nm of torque @1500-2500rpm. The engine has
been mated to the famed 7 speed DSG gear box. One of the first points you would
notice on the new Skoda Rapid is that even though the engine is smaller than
the previous version of the car the output has not changed. The 1.5 TDI in the
Rapid has been manufactured by Bosch and Audi. It is the same engine you will
find in the new Polo and the new Vento. When driving the 1.5 TDI you can feel
the surge of power hit you in the mid range. While the Rapid is in drive mode
it will pull cleanly from 3000rpm – 4000rpm after which it begins to tail off
but if you choose to shift manually the car will pull cleanly till about
4400rpm after which the DSG does not allow you to redline and will up-shift
automatically. The new Rapid has a refreshed drive experience thanks to the new
7 speed DSG gearbox. One of the biggest advantages of owning an automatic is
the sheer level of comfort even while stuck in a traffic jam you don’t have to
worry about clutching and shifting. The DSG however is even better, it is so
smooth that you can barely feel the shifts between gears and it has been tuned
to maintain higher rpm levels in the sports mode. The Rapid however does not
seem well insulated and the noise from the 1.5 TDI does penetrate into the
cabin which can be a drawback for those with a finer taste. One of the biggest
advantages from the 1.5 TDI automatic is that it is one of the most fuel
efficient versions of the car which is currently available giving 21.66 km to
the litre. The fuel tank can hold 55 litres which gives the car a range of
almost a 1000 km. The 1.5 TDI is a very chirpy engine and feels exciting to
drive. The Rapid indeed is as engaging and thrilling as its name is.
The new Rapid much like the older version of the car handles
very well. The suspension is moderately stiff and the ride comfort of the car
like most Skoda and Volkswagen cars is really good. Be it bumpy roads or
cornering at high speeds the car simply feels planted to the ground. The front
suspension is a McPherson with lower triangular links and a torsion stabiliser.
The rear has a compound link crank-axle which tends to jump if the back seat is
empty. The brakes on the Rapid are very efficient. The front has disc brakes
with a floating calliper while the rear has drum brakes. The chassis of the
Rapid complements the drive and handling of the car and unlike the Japanese
competitors the car does not tend to float at higher speeds. The new Rapid has
185/ 60 R15 wheels, which give it a proud stance and also complement the
profile of the car. The car has a 168mm of ground clearance and has a turning circle
diameter of 10.6m. The steering on the new Skoda Rapid is a direct rack &
pinion with an electro mechanic power assist. The steering feels sporty and is
a bit on the heavier side but is very responsive none the less.
Design & Styling
The design aspect of the new Skoda Rapid is like its
previous versions and is an extended form of the Skoda Fabia. The car literally has borrowed its styling
from other cars in the VW family. The side profile of the car looks like the
Vento while the back has horizontal linings on the boot to differentiate it
from the Vento. The looks of the Rapid are of any typical Skoda however the
vehicle is not coming on the MQB platform like the new Superb and Octavia. It
has a good road presence and the design is bold and aggressive. The new Rapid
is now being launched with a Black Package. The Black Package adds to the
sporty feel of the car with new smoked projector headlamps, black painted 12
spoke alloys, black coloured ORVMs, black fog lamp housing and optional black
roof and side graphic strips. The Black Package offered on the new Skoda Rapid
gives the vehicle a very bold and sporty look. One of the new styling changes
offered on the other variants of the Rapid are a new set of 5-spoke alloys.
With decent pricing the black package on the new Skoda Rapid is an added
advantage over the VW Vento and it costs less than its sibling rival.
Features & Safety
The new Skoda Rapid comes packed with host of new features
like a magnetic card holder, cruise control, parking sensors, etc. The Rapid is
one of the few vehicles in the segment to offer a driver airbag as a standard
safety feature. Thumbs up to Skoda for such proactive measures! Apart from air
bags for the front passenger and the driver, the Rapid also comes with ABS
(Anti-lock Braking System), Dual Rate brake assist, fuel supply cut off in a
crash, over speeding warning, rear park assist, etc. Some key convenience
features on the new Skoda Rapid are a GSM sim with Bluetooth integration,
multi-function steering with telephone controls, climatronic air conditioning,
SD/ MMC card reader, USB and CD 2-Din music system, front centre armrest and
cruise control. The colour options available on the new Skoda Rapid are in
Brilliant Silver, Candy White, Cappuccino Beige, Deep Black Pearl, Flash Red
and the new Toffee Brown.
While there are not many changes on the design front of the
new Skoda Rapid barring the additions found on the Black Package, the 1.5 TDI
mated with the DSG gearbox is a real joy to drive. The engine and performance
of the new Rapid may have the same output but definitely feels refreshed in
terms of pick-up and efficiency thanks to the 7-speed DSG. Skoda has priced the
Rapid Elegance at Rs.10,84,324 (ex-showroom, Delhi) and the Elegance Black
package at 10,97,424 (ex-showroom, Delhi) which is very competitive when
compared to other vehicles in the segment and what they have to offer. One of
the drawbacks is the cabin insulation which does feel a bit noisy. The new
Skoda Rapid is a fun, sporty and practical car to drive. Do not over look this
as an option if you are planning to buy a vehicle in this segment.
NEW SKODA RAPID SPECIFICATIONS
1,498cc, TDI turbocharged diesel, in-line, 16V DOHC
7-speed automatic (DSG)
103 bhp@ 4400rpm
250 Nm@ 1500-2500rpm
Brake: Front/ Rear
Tyres: Front/ Rear
McPherson with lower triangular links 7 torsion stabiliser/ compound
Disc with inner cooling – single piston floating calliper / Drum
10,84,324 (ex-showroom, Delhi)
package-Rs 10,97,424(ex-showroom, Delhi)
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