New Skoda Rapid Review - With a fresh lease of life

New Skoda Rapid Review – With a fresh lease of life

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Its no longer a sedan that’ll pass by on the road and be unnoticed. Its no longer a design that only the adults might appreciate. Its no longer a car that can be considered understated. The Skoda Rapid has finally upped its appeal to grab all attention and be reckoned for all that it has been deserving all this time since 2011.

The almost five year old curvy design has been chiseled out for sharp and edgy looks that appear to have been inherited from the larger Skoda brothers, the Octavia and the Superb. The addition of mild aggression in the front fascia design seems well balanced in merging into the rest of the body that’s been preserved, at the same time the boldness hasn’t affected the executive appeal of the C-segment sedan. The new Rapid now looks more like the European Rapid and Fabia.

The Skoda Rapid facelift features just the usual amount of changes that a typical facelift operation would include. This comprises of a new grille, new headlamps with horizontal LED DRLs, slightly different bumper, wider air-dam grille, larger fog lamps, new alloy wheels, relocation of turn indicators to ORVM caps, addition of a shark fin antenna, tweaked rear bumper (to include a stepped design), and a boot-lip spoiler. An elegant new highlight on the new Skoda Rapid facelift is the partial chrome cover on the door handles that cover just the top portion; it’s subtle but stylish.

Apart from the physical embellishments, the new colour choices on the Skoda Rapid facelift are a boon to the customers. The list has Candy White, Brilliant Silver, Cappuccino Beige, Carbon Steel, Silk Blue and Flash Red.

Stepping inside the new Rapid one would be surprised to see the highly familiar black and beige dual-tone colour theme in place of Rapid’s customary brown and beige scheme. This makes the Czech sedan highly reminiscent of its German twin. There are some new features though, like the power-folding mirrors, rain sensing wipers, cruise control, and a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system with MirrorLink, Bluetooth, reverse/parking sensors and GPS Navigation. As for luxury and comfort, the addition of art-leather centre armrest, AmberGlow footwell lights, and chrome decors are to be noted.

The new Rapid has finally dropped the old 1.5-litre TDI diesel engine in favour of Volkswagen’s updated 1.5 TDI that’s already on board the VW Vento, Polo and Ameo.

It is tuned to produce 110 PS of maximum power at 4,000 rpm and 250 Nm of peak torque between 1,500 and 2,500 rpm. The transmission options on the new Rapid diesel include a 5-speed manual gearbox and the acclaimed 7-speed DSG automatic transmission. The former has an ARAI certified mileage of 21.13 kmpl while the Rapid diesel DSG mileage is said to be 21.72 kmpl.

The Rapid petrol continues with the same old 1.6 MPI engine, with the choice of a 5-speed manual or a 6-speed DSG auto. They have mileage ratings of 15.41 kmpl and 14.84 kmpl respectively. This engine produces 105 PS at 5,200-5,250 rpm and 153 Nm at 3,750-3,800 rpm.

While the new 1.5 TDI is generally known to be very refined and peppy, we were surprised to experience that it was a little less enthusiastic than the petrol version despite what the specs sheet says. There wasn’t any shortcoming on the refinement part though. The car was super smooth, and we had a long debate as to which one was really the diesel variant when we drove both the cars back to back without looking at the variant badging. The petrol model again won our hearts when we judged the exhaust note. It was distinctly sportier than the diesel’s.

There are various selling points for the Rapid, but what we appreciate the most is the impeccable handling. It is miles apart in its class. Even until the electronics intervene (like ABS and Electronic Stability Control), the Rapid can be pushed to a greater limit compared to its rivals. The body control is simply amazing, and is augmented by equally competitive suspension system. The steering system complements the two with its precision and feedback, thereby making the Skoda Rapid totally a driver’s car. Needless to say, the braking is spot on.

Yet, when you have your family on board, they wouldn’t be compromising on comfort that is usually traded for superior handling. There is sufficient room for three adults at the back, with good leg- and shoulder-room. With DSG available on both variants now the Rapid makes for a very good family car that goes to office across traffic during weekdays and out of town across state-lines during weekends.

2016 Skoda Rapid Features:

Exterior
Quartz-cut headlights with chrome eye lashes
Halogen headlights with Projector Lens and manual levelling
LED Daytime Running Lights within the headlight assembly
Fog lights on front and rear
High level LED third brake light
Electrically adjustable external mirrors with Side turn indicator
Electrically foldable external mirrors
Chrome trim on radiator grille
Chrome surround for radiator grille
Chrome moulding on Trunk Lid
Chrome Door Handles
Gloss black decor on B-pillar
Body colour external mirrors and door handles
Body colour bumpers
Steel wheels 15inch + full wheel cover/ 15-inch Alloy Wheels

Interior
Dual tone Ebony-Sand interiors
Chrome décor for interior door handles
Chrome décor for front centre console, gear-shift selector, locking button of hand-brake
Chrome trim on air conditioning vents and duct sliders
Chrome trim on steering wheel

Seats
Height adjustment for driver seat
Front and rear centre armrest

Upholstery
Nano Ivory fabric upholstery / Leatherette Seats upholstery
Leatherette door armrest
Leather wrapped steering wheel, gear-shift selector and hand-brake lever

Instruments
SKODA audio player, 2-DIN / Aftermarket audio preparation 1-DIN + cable + connector
6.5″ Drive Audio Player Central Infotainment System with MirrorLink Connectivity
USB, Auxiliary audio input and SD/MMC data card reader
Bluetooth audio streaming
Front and rear speakers
Audio controls on steering wheel
GSM telephone preparation with Bluetooth
Telephone controls on multi-function steering wheel
Multi function display (MFD) of Travelling time, Distance travelled, Average speed, Immediate consumption, Average consumption, Travel distance before refuelling, Service Interval, Outside temperature, Clock
Gear change indicator
Climate Control
Manual / Climatronic (auto) air conditioning
Dust and pollen filter
Adjustable dual rear air conditioning vents on rear centre console
Convenience
Front and rear electrically adjustable windows
One-touch automatic operation
Bounce-back system
Tinted windows and windscreen
Dead Pedal for Foot Rest
Reach and Height adjustable steering wheel
460 litres bootspace
Storage compartment in the front and rear doors
Bottle holders in the front doors
Cup holders on front and rear
Cooled Glove Box Compartment
Storage compartment under front centre armrest
Storage pockets on the backrest of the front seats
SmartClip card holder
Coat hook on rear roof handles and B pillars
Retaining strip on the driver sun visor
12V power socket in centre console
Front sun visors
Vanity mirror in front left sun visor
Foldable roof handles, for front and rear passengers
Lights-on acoustic signal
Remote control release of boot lid
AmberGlow footwell illumination
Reading centre lamp at the front
Reading spot lamps at the rear
Illumination of luggage compartment
Anti-glare interior rear view mirror
Automatically dimming interior rear view mirror
Rear windscreen defogger with timer

Electronic Driving Aid
ABS (Anti-lock Braking System)
Hill Hold Control (HHC) – for automatic transmission only
ESC (Electronic Stability Control) – for diesel automatic transmission only
Cruise Control

Safety
Dual Airbags
Height-adjustable three-point seatbelts at front
Two three-point outer seatbelts and centre lap belt at rear
Height adjustable head restraints at front and rear
Height adjustable head restraints at rear
Rough road package
Child-proof rear door locking
Child-proof rear window locking
Acoustic warning signal for overrun speed
Fuel supply cut-off in a crash
Door-open indicator
Emergency triangle in the luggage compartment
Dual-tone warning horn
Parktronic Sensor at rear
Automatic locking of doors on overrun speed
Automatic front wiper system with rain sensor
Engine immobiliser with floating code system
Security code for audio player

Remote Operation
Remote control with foldable key
Remote control locking and unlocking of doors and boot lid
Central locking and unlocking of doors and boot lid
Comfort opening and closing of windows
Remote control opening and closing of windows

Verdict:

The new Skoda Rapid is a well rounded package now considering the new features that have been added. There seems to be no reason not to consider the Rapid if you’re looking for a car in 10-15 lakhs price range. The car looks attractive, drives well, and comes with all the required safety features. The one complaint many readers had posted in the past, about poor quality of after sales service, Skoda India is continuously working on improving the after sales network and with the new 4 year service care package announced, they seem to have managed to hit the nail on its head.

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