Skoda Rapid, a sedan from the house of Czech company Skoda Auto, was launched in India on 16th November 2011 in the 'C' segment. Skoda Auto registered sales of 6,84,226 cars in 2009 and 85,000 units in the month of March 2011. Though the sedans built by Skoda suffered poor reputation for the build quality and handling, the car buckled the trend, coming to be described as "the poor man's Porsche" and later on as one that "handles like a Porsche" by the Auto Car and Motor Magazine. Skoda has currently come a long way, gaining steadily in popularity, as a classy car, with the Garde and convertible models enjoying high popularity.
Though the Rapid is styled on the same platform as the Volkswagen Vento, the good looking car has been carefully styled according to varying tastes of customers.
In India, Skoda Rapid will be available in five petrol variants and three diesel variants. The Active Plus, Ambition Plus and Elegance Plus variants will be available in both petrol and diesel versions while the Skoda Ambition Plus Automatic and Elegance Plus Automatic variants will be available only in the petrol version. Skoda Rapid allows a choice of five colour shades, Deep Black Pearl, Candy White, Flash Red, Brilliant Silver and Cappuccino Beige. In India, Skoda manufactures the Rapid at the plant of Volkswagen at Chakan, near Pune.
Skoda Rapid offers a choice of petrol and diesel engines, both of which are the same as that used in the Volkswagen Vento. Though both the versions contribute to the same power and capacity, the torque differentials between the two versions are massive. Both the versions have 4-cylinders and 16-valves and a capacity of 1598 cc, contributing maximum bhp of 105. Maximum torque of 153 Nm @ 3800 rpm is produced in the petrol version while the diesel engine has a maximum torque of 250 Nm @ 1500-2500 rpm.
Both the petrol and diesel versions of the Rapid are found to be more fuel efficient than the Vento, as the Skoda engines are fine tuned. The lower weight of the Rapid also helps in achieving the desired fuel efficiency. The Ambition Plus and Elegance Plus variants of the Rapid Petrol have an option for an automatic gearbox.
Similar to the Vento, Rapid offers a choice of 5-speed manual and 6-speed automatic transmissions. The auto box will be featured only in the top petrol variant. Rapid is equipped with McPherson, compound link crank axle suspension. The car drives effortlessly with light steering with a slightly hard edge when going over larger bumps. The handling comfort though, will more than compensate for the slight stiffness.
Rapid is described as the Volkswagen Vento, reintroduced with a Skoda label. Skoda Rapid shares most of the body parts, including its doors and windows, with the Vento. About 90 percent of the interiors of the car also appear to be the same. Even the grilles featured in the front portion appear to be the same in both the models. The base Active Plus and Ambition Plus variants of the car are equipped with a manually regulated air conditioner while the top end variant has electronically regulated climate control feature. The Rapid will have factory fitted 2 DIN audio player on the top of the line Elegance variant with AUX input and also with SD/MMC car reader connectivity options.
Rapid features manual central locking, door mirrors and driver seat adjustment facilities. The car uses dual-tone upholstery, a brightly illuminated information cluster, driver assist, centralised console, adjustable seats, headrests, armrests, tilt steering, spacious legroom and headroom. The Good looking Rapid has a bonnet that is designed in a pouted design with huge fog lamps. The rear portion of the Rapid comprises new tail lamps with C shaped glow on brake lamps. The car also features rear parking sensors and rear bumpers. The strong and sturdy exteriors are blended with the most luxurious and comfortable interiors which look elegant and plush. Other features of the car include a large glove box, a powerful music system, an instrument cluster with a 4-spoke steering wheel and telescopic adjustments. The high-end Skoda Rapid models are equipped with dual SRS airbags and an Anti-lock Braking System while all the models are equipped with seat belts. The car also features halogen headlights with manual leveling and child proof rear door locking which ensure safety and security.