2017 Skoda Rapid Review Test Drive
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2017 Skoda Rapid Review

Car Tested: 2017 Skoda Rapid; Road Test No. 768; Test Location: Mussoorie

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 9.45 – 14.80 Lakhs

The facelifted Rapid now looks like a mini-Octavia with the latest Skoda family front profile

Usually German cars’ mid-life facelifts are very mild and hard to notice but this time around Skoda has updated the Rapid with a comprehensive facelift. This is the second update since its launch in India but the previous one had very minute changes. The C-Segment sedan has got a new front profile, longer list of features and a more powerful diesel engine that we’ve recently seen in the Volkswagen Ameo. We went all the way to Mussoorie to see what’s new on offer.

Motor Quest: Skoda launched the India-spec Rapid in 2011 which shares most of its parts and technology with the Volkswagen Vento. The Rapid for the international market revealed in 2012 is a totally different sedan which has different styling, interior and features.

The revised bumpers and lip spoiler add to the sharp appearance

Exteriors – Skoda has given the Rapid their family look, specially the front profile. The butterfly grille, sleeker projector lamps with DRLs and revised bumpers makes it look fresh. While the front gets substantial changes, the side profile and rear profile remain more or less the same. The alloys are carried over from the pre-facelift model, there are chrome highlighted door handles, boot spoiler and smoke out tail lamps. Nevertheless, the Rapid now looks much more appealing than before.

The darker upper tone of the dashboard lifts the mood of the interior

Interiors – The interior layout of the Rapid is unchanged but the dual-tone dashboard now replaces brown trim on top with black. There are some leatherette elements in the cabin such as the steering wheel, gearknob, handbrake lever, etc. The quality, fit and finish is without doubt excellent and feels like a typical German car. The instrument cluster looks a bit dated though while the steering is great to hold.

The touchscreen makes the centre console look complete and new

The quality is fantastic and the new features on offer make the Rapid’s interior more convenient than before

The biggest change with the latest updates is the new 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system that comes with MirrorLink technology that syncs your smartphone with inbuilt apps. The sound quality of the audio system is quite satisfying. You still miss out on features like keyless entry and push button start, sunroof, auto headlamps, rear parking camera, etc. What you get though is cruise control, rain sensing wipers, reach and rake adjustable steering, cooled glovebox and footwell lighting.

The rear seats of the Rapid are best suited for two adults

The Skoda Rapid is mostly meant for people who love to be behind the wheel and for those who have a small family. The seats are very comfortable both at the front and the back but rear seat legroom is just average compared to some other cars in this segment. You also can’t fit three adults abreast with ease because of the big transmission hump in the middle. The boot is big and accommodating though with 460-litres of luggage capacity.

The more powerful diesel engine now offers stronger performance

Performance – Skoda is offering the new Rapid with both petrol and diesel engine options including the same 1.6-litre MPI petrol motor and the updated 1.5-litre TDI diesel engine. We drove the latter that now has a bigger turbocharger and produces 110 PS with 5 PS increase in power output. You can actually feel the strong performance and the way it pulls in the mid-range is super fun. There is some lag under 2000 RPM but post that it just picks up pace relentlessly until the redline.

The 7-speed DSG is super quick in shifting cogs and efficient too

The engine has enough punch and the gearbox has been nicely matched

The 5-speed manual is slick and fun to use but the heavenly dual-clutch DSG 7-speed transmission takes care of fun and practicality both. We wish it had steering mounted paddle shifts. The DSG is super quick to respond to your throttle inputs and when you push the lever to the left for shifting manually, it is more satisfying. On the sharp twisties on our way to Mussoorie, the DSG was quite fun to play with and is efficient too returning a claimed mileage of 21.72 km/l. 0-100 km/hr sprint in the diesel DSG is claimed to be 10.7 seconds with 190.8 km/hr top speed and with manual it’s 10.3 seconds having a top speed of 188 km/hr.

The Rapid’s USP is its body control and planted feel on the highways

Driving Dynamics – Pick any car from the entire Skoda lineup and it shines in this department. Same is the case with the Rapid. It offers excellent ride at high speeds with super confidence on the highways. It is well composed on undulations as well but patchy roads with deep potholes makes it thud loudly. The handling is very satisfying, it is eager to take corners hard and maintains its line without any drama. The steering feel is rich, giving you precise feedback about the wheels. The brakes offer good stopping power but it’s almost 2017 now and manufacturers should start offering rear discs for that extra edge on safety.

Skoda’s new 4 year service care programme is quite luring

Safety and After Sales Service – Talking about safety, Skoda India is offering ABS and dual front airbags as standard across all the trims of the new Rapid. You also get Hill Hold Control and Electronic Stability Control with the DSG transmission. Skoda has had a bad reputation in India when it comes to after sales but they’ve come a long way in making the process transparent and reliable. They are also offering 4 year service car programme as standard with the new Rapid that covers 4 years warranty, 4 years of roadside assistance and an optional 4 year service package.

The Rapid now makes good sense to buy in the C-Segment space

Verdict – The Skoda Rapid was previously overshadowed by its VW sibling, the Vento. But now in its updated avatar, the Rapid looks quite appealing and fresh relatively. That along with more features, powerful diesel engine and Skoda’s latest 4 year service care programme, the Rapid is definitely worth considering if you’re looking out for a C-Segment sedan.

Skoda has give it substantial changes to stand against its VW sibling

What’s Cool

* Freshened up front-end makes it look like mini Octavia
* The black and beige tone now looks much more premium
* More features makes it a convenient cabin to be in
* The diesel DSG combo is a perfect recipe for fun and comfort
* 4 year Skoda service care programme looks promising

What’s Not So Cool

* There are very few changes on the side and rear profile
* No push button start, auto headlamps, sunroof, rear camera
* Rear seat space scores low compared to some other cars in this segment

The new Rapid can get some volumes to the Czech carmaker

Alternatives: Maruti Ciaz, Hyundai Verna, Honda City, Volkswagen Vento

Further Reading

2017 Skoda Rapid Video Review