Skoda Rapid Long Term Review
Car Tested: Skoda Rapid TDI
Kms Done: 4567 kms
Test Started at: 12135 kms
Test Concluded at: 16702 kms
Mileage: 16.19 km/l (mostly city running), 19.92 km/l (best), 12.97 km/l (worst)
Major Repair: None
Service Cost: Routine 15,000 kms at Rs. 6,832/-
The Skoda Rapid is a very fun to drive car with solid quality all around.
The Rapid has written a successful chapter for Skoda ever since it was launched, nearly two years ago. We have driven the Rapid TDI for more than 4500 kms and this sedan continues to impress us. While our initial impressions were quite positive, we find out how it is to live with the Skoda Rapid on a daily basis. We also get behind the scenes of a Skoda service centre and find out whats happens on the other side of the table.
The exteriors of the Rapid definitely give it a very premium appeal and the design language follows the same trend as the other Skoda models. The good thing is that the Skoda Rapid has its own identity unlike other badge engineered models. One minor flaw with the design is that the drivers side wiper cannot be raised without hitting the edge of the bonnet. Routinely the guys who wash the car have a tendency to put the wipers up and doing this repeatedly can scratch the paint. However, the left hand drive version should not have this issue since the wipers are placed on the opposite side.
The seats of the Skoda Rapid are comfortable and even long drives won’t cause fatigue. Quality has always been Skoda’s plus point and the same goes with how well the interiors are put together. No uneven panel gaps and even after 16,000 kms on the odometer, there was absolutely no rattling from any part of our Skoda Rapid. The light beige seats are prone to getting dirty and even with due care, the seats end up getting dirty over a period of time. It’s advisable to go in for seat covers in order to protect the upholstery from getting soiled.
If you are chauffeur driven, the rear seat is a comfortable place to be in. Headroom is sufficient for six footers and legroom is good too. If you need more, you can manually adjust the front passenger seat from behind using the smart lever. The more you sit behind, the more you are bound to appreciate this small rather useful feature. The boot is generous and will swallow your daily and weekend needs without an issue.
Audio quality is very good for a stock music system but we did miss the option of using USB as audio input. However, SD card is quite useful. Only problem is that very few audio systems are equipped with the SD Card option. We would have loved it if audio controls were offered on the steering wheel. The air conditioner cools well and even in the hot Mumbai summer, the Rapid kept us comfortable.
Power comes in the form of the 1.6-litre, 4-cylinder TDI engine. This engine needs no introduction and tips the perfect balance between power and fuel economy on the Skoda Rapid. There is no dearth of power and you can floor the pedal to extract every inch of the 105 horses which come to full form at 4400 RPM. The beauty lies in the fact that peak power comes in quite early. With 250 Nm of torque available between 1500-2500 RPM, it’s just a case of point and shoot. The engine is nothing short of a gem but gets too vocal at higher revs. Acceleration is linear and the engine revs freely to a little more than 5000 RPM.
Full pedal to the metal driving gave us a fuel economy of 12.97 km/l on the Skoda Rapid, which was our worst during the entire test. The average fuel economy during the entire duration of the test was 16.19 km/l, which is commendable from a vehicle this powerful. The best mileage on the test was 19.92 km/; on the Mumbai – Pune expressway with a boot full of luggage and four heavyweights on board. The mileage improved after the engine oil was changed at the service (more on that later). Fuel tank capacity is 55-liters but on an empty tank, we have managed to fill in nearly 60-liters. Initially we thought the pump is measuring less on the scale but it was the same with each and every pump. The fuel lines and dead space (for air) in the tank is not considered in the tank capacity and the extra fuel basically fills up these. On a full tank of diesel, the Skoda Rapid returned an impressive range of 900 – 950 kms.
Germans are known to be masters of calibrating ride and handing. The Rapid’s handling is brilliant and sure to bring a smile on your face when you are pushing it to the limit around the twisties. The steering weighs well at high speeds and feels superbly connected. Ride is fair but in the interest of handling, it tends to be a bit harsh on bad roads (which we have in plenty). On smooth tarmac, the Rapid is well composed and the odd pothole won’t bother the occupants. Brakes are good but our test car’s brake pads were worn by 15,000 kms and we sent it for service for new ones. After the service, the braking performance improved drastically. The brakes bite well and even on hard high speed braking, the Rapid stays on course without any dramas. The Apollo tyres have decent amount of grip on offer.
As far as servicing goes, there are few misconceptions going around the market as far as Skoda service is concerned. Yes, there were a lot of service related issues initially but currently things have drastically improved. If you have read our initial report (HERE), many Rapid owners have come out and claimed to be very happy with the car and service backup. To find out, we took our Rapid for its routine 15,000 kms service and dug deep to find out what goes on behind.
One of the misconceptions in the market is that Skoda service is expensive. To elaborate further, we would like to stress on two points. Firstly, Skoda (all VW Group companies) uses fully synthetic oil during routine service and secondly the service interval is 1 year/15,000 kms, whichever is earlier. So how does this translate? Quite simple. While the one time cost may be marginally more than the competition, think of it this way. Once your car has reached 30,000 kms, you need to service the car twice while the competitor will need to be serviced three times (10,000 kms service interval). Thus the landing cost will be nearly the same. The more you drive, the more you will save. Secondly, fully synthetic engine oil, though more expensive than the mineral counterpart, not only prolongs engine life, but also boosts performance and fuel efficiency. We have got exact figures for the Rapid. The cost of routine service for the Skoda Rapid per 1,05,000 kms is just Rs. 61,062/-, which equates to just 0.58 paise per kilometer.
Skoda Rapid Cost Of Service
* Engine oil per service – Rs. 4042/-
* Brake oil – Rs. 225/- per 250 ML
* Coolant – Rs. 553/- per 1.5 litres
* Oil filter – Rs. 383/-
* Diesel filter – Rs. 1287.-
* Brake pad – Rs. 1800/-
* Front bumper (without painting) – Rs. 2150/-
* Rear bumper (without painting) – Rs. 2988/-
* Headlamp assembly (each) – Rs. 3573/-
* Tail lamp assembly (each) – Rs. 1684/- (RH); Rs. 2415/- (LH)
We had been to the Autobahn service centre in Kurla with our Rapid. The service centre has a transparent glass wall in the customer lounge, from where the customer can see his vehicle being serviced. This not only aids in transparency but also wins the customer’s trust. There are more than 25 service bays and high tech equipment for quick and efficient service. The setup is done in such way, it enables the car to be serviced quickly. The 15,000 kms service for our car cost Rs 10,432 and included change of engine oil, oil filter, fuel filter, pollen filter and front brake pads.
The Skoda Rapid continues to impress us. Though it lacks a few features such as audio controls on the steering and Bluetooth phone connectivity, it more than makes up for it with its bullet proof Skoda quality and a rev happy engine which delivers brilliant performance and is still fuel efficient. The enthusiasts will love its driving dynamics and affordable service costs ensure it is not hard on your wallet. The Skoda Rapid is surely a car to consider if you are looking for a mid-sized sedan.