2014 Skoda Rapid Review
Car Tested: 2014 Skoda Rapid
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 8.28 – 11.95 lakhs
The Skoda Rapid is a fun car to drive and offers practicality at an attractive price.
Competition in the C-segment is as intense as ever with rivals doing their best to highlight their products to prospective customers. Post the arrival of Honda’s game changing new generation City, the segment has seen a massive topsy-turvy. The oldest car in this class is now back on the top, resulting in all other players doing something or the other to get back sales. Hyundai has been shuffling its variant lineup of the Verna left, right and centre while Ford and Nissan are set to launch a facelift of the Fiesta and Sunny respectively. Volkswagen too will update the Vento soon (with a new 1.5-litre diesel engine) while the German automaker recently put on sale the Vento Preferred Edition. Skoda too launched the Rapid Ultima Edition along with updating the 2014 model with a few changes. We sample the 2014 Skoda Rapid to see what’s different.
On the exterior front, the Rapid now adorns the new Skoda logo on the front, rear and wheels (that’s six new logos on the outside of the car). The new Skoda logo is finished in black and chrome and looks really classy. The bigger change though is the addition of projector headlights on the top-end Elegance variant which drastically improves illumination. The 2014 Skoda Rapid is available in four variants – Active, Ambition, Ambition Plus and Elegance. The rest of the car looks the same from the outside which is in sync with Skoda’s design philosophy.
The changes are more substancial on the inside, starting with the new steering wheel which takes inspiration from the new Octavia. However the one in the Octavia is a 4-spoke unit but the 2014 Skoda Rapid gets a 3-spoke steering (the old Rapid also had a 4-spoke design). Not only does the new steering (with the new Skoda logo) look more appealing, it feels better to hold too and Skoda has given the car steering mounted audio controls which are easy to use on the go. Other changes include the addition of Bluetooth connectivity, updated on-board computer and a leather package. More equipment is now offered across the range, the Ambition variant gets a driver side airbag while the Ambion Plus now gets dual airbags. Except the base Active, all variants get ABS (the manual transmissioned Ambtion doesn’t).
Skoda hasn’t made any mechanical changes to the Rapid and thus the same pair of petrol and diesel engines continue to power the car. Both the engines are 1.6-litre units, belting out 105 BHP of power but the diesel has more torque on offer with 250 Nm, while the petrol motor churns out 153 Nm. While both engines are paired to a 5-speed manual gearbox, the petrol also comes with a 6-speed automatic. While the Rapid’s doppelganger has ditched the 1.6-litre powerplant (in automatic guise) for a more efficient and torquey 1.2-litre TSI mill, Skoda is yet to make this move and we expect them to do so later this year. The 1.6-litre diesel engine is a gem, revving all the way to 5500 RPM and doing the 0-100 km/hr dash in just 10.15 seconds as per our VBOX runs. This engine will make way for the new 1.5-litre diesel engine which will be seen on the Volkswagen Vento by the year end.
As expected from Skoda cars, the Rapid is no different in terms of the fun factor. Both engines have a lot of grunt and you can truly enjoy yourself driving these cars fast, hitting the redline in every gear. In spite of the pedal to the metal driving we engaged in with the diesel Rapid, the vehicle continued to return close to 14 km/l. The dynamics also put an instant smile on our faces, the handling is sharp and the Rapid is eager to dive into corners with aplomb. The steering offers good feedback too and ride quality is on the stiffer side but quite pliant on most road surfaces. The brakes are sharp and the Rapid has more than enough stopping power for quickly coming to a halt.
The 2014 Skoda Rapid isn’t a facelift or a major update in any way. The changes are mostly cosmetic and not a world apart, in no way adding to the driving experience as nothing mechanical has been altered. However Skoda has now added more equipment to its best seller and more features are now offered on lower trims which surely amplifies the value for money quotient of this Czech automobile. Those looking for a solid and well engineered car in the C-segment and don’t want to compromise on the driving experience, the Skoda Rapid still makes a strong case for itself.
The 2014 Skoda Rapid retains the strong qualities of the pre-2014 model, offering terrific performance, engaging handling, good space and a VFM proposition to buyers.
* Engaging Dynamics
What’s Not So Cool
* No 1.2 TSI AT