Czech automobile maker Skoda launched a new version of their sedan, the Rapid, recently with prices starting from INR 8.34 lakhs (ex-showroom). The company had aimed to make the Rapid better equipped, more efficient and better value for money to give it a fighting chance against its competition. We drove this car around on the roads surrounding the foothills of the Himalayas and certainly think that the new Rapid is a really good car. In this article, we tell you why we think you should buy it.
The Skoda Rapid is still available in both petrol and diesel trims. The petrol version is powered by a 1.6 litre, 4 cylinder motor that develops 103 bhp while the diesel variant of the car has the new 1.5 litre, 4 cylinder, turbocharged engine that produces 109 bhp and 250 Nm of torque. A 5 speed manual transmission is available for both versions of the car; however, while the petrol model gets the option of a 6 speed automatic, the new diesel variant can be ordered with the brilliant 7 speed, double clutch, DSG automatic gearbox.
The Rapid is still one of the best driving cars out there in its segment. The vehicle feels satisfyingly stiff and rigid and remains quite flat while cornering. While the petrol version could do with some extra power, the diesel version of the Rapid is brilliant to drive. The turbo lag is minimal and the DSG automatic gearbox is an absolute gem with its quick shifts up and down through the ratios. The manual transmission is smooth to operate as well.
A lot of people felt that the old Rapid was too sedate in its design. As a result, Skoda has made changes to liven it up but, they have managed to preserve the understated and dignified look of the car as well. The new Rapid gets very aesthetically designed projector headlights with integrated LED daytime running lamps, new fog lamps and the Skoda family butterfly front grille. The rear is mostly the same apart from tail light shells that have new refractive elements in them and a bold strip of chrome at the bottom of the boot lid.
The inside sees barely any changes when compared to the outgoing model. The car gets a 6.5 inch touchscreen infotainment system with MirrorLink, bluetooth, USB, aux-in and SD card support, an automatic climate control system with dedicated rear vents, dual tone interior colour scheme, centre armrests at the front and rear, a cooled glove box, illuminated footwells, all power windows with auto up/down feature, cruise control, dual front airbags, ABS, rain sensing wipers, an automatically dimming interior mirror, hill hold and traction control.
With these changes, the new Skoda Rapid is as well kitted out as its rivals and, according to us, the most fun to drive car in its segment. Skoda has pumped in a ton of money to completely overhaul their sales and service network in 2017 and they have come out with fantastic after-sales schemes such as a 4 year extended warranty plan and the mySkoda smartphone app. If you are in the market to buy a car in this segment, look no further.