Skoda Rapid Long Term Review
The Skoda Rapid came and changed the game for Skoda completely. While it is more or less an identical twin of the Volkswagen Vento, the sales figure tell an impressive story. We have been using the Rapid as our daily drive for a couple of months now and are mighty impressed with this machine. After clocking nearly 3000 kms on the odometer, the Rapid continues to impress with its bullet proof built quality and precise driving dynamics.
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Mechanically similar to the Vento, the exterior styling is typical Skoda like and is a big turn on for brand loyalists. The lines running along the hood add a unique touch to this sedan. The prism cut boot reflects light, giving a unique character to this vehicle. Skoda built quality is well known and the Rapid makes it eveident that it belongs to the same family. The doors are heavy and shut with a loud thud. Though on occasions, female passengers found the doors to be too heavy for their liking, but we welcome solid quality all around.
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The interiors look airy and spacious thanks to the generous windows and beige upholstery. Surprisingly there is more headroom in the Rapid as compared to the Vento. Skoda has achieved that by mounting the seats a bit lower and tall people will certainly vouch for it. The beige seats, however, have a tendency to get dirty over a period of time. The two tone dashboard is well put together and even after 15000 kms on the odometer, there was absolutely no rattle or unusual vibration from any part of the car. Keeping in mind the state of the roads, the Rapid is built to last all such abuse. The chauffeur driven will love the feature which allows you to adjust the front passenger seat from behind by flicking a small lever. The glove box is huge and can be put to good use. It also has an integrated sunglass holder. We love the ‘one touch up’ power windows. Makes it so easy to roll up the window by a single touch, rather than holding it till it closes.
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The Skoda Rapid is positioned just below the Vento and hence it misses out on a few features we would have loved. Steering mounted audio controls and USB connectivity are sorely missed but Skoda does offer a SD card slot and an AUX port. The audio system blasts out pretty good quality overall. The air-conditioner works well too and we had a first hand experience in this hot summer. With no heat control film on hand and a generous glass area, the Rapid still manages to cool off quickly. The rear vent is appreciated even more at these times.
The 1.6-litre TDI diesel engine is a gem and you can’t stop appreciating it. This oil burner is not only frugal bit belts out superb power and torque figures. With 105 BHP of power and 250 NM of torque to play with, the Rapid is a pocket rocket and all you have to do is point and shoot. The gearbox is slick and slots the gears confidently into place. There is no notchiness and the gear ratios are well spread out for both city and highway use. The clutch is a bit heavy and it may be a cause of fatigue in bumper to bumper traffic. With so much power on hand, we still managed around 13 – 14 km/l and we reckon the mileage should improve after the car is serviced and engine oil is changed.
Getting behind the wheel, you will appreciate the well weighed steering which is pretty accurate and precise at high speeds. Ride is neutral but if you have to choose, it tilts more to the stiffer side and it’s only on the really bad roads, do you feel the undulations. However, comfort is not compromised and the passengers will vouch for that. Handling is fantastic and the Rapid loves to be pushed and the steering responds well. So well that you will only want to push harder. The chassis balance is good and the stock Apollo Tyres grip reasonably well. Stomp on the brakes, the stopping performance is very good. Even on hard braking, it stops confidentially without any dramas.
Our car is now due for service and we will be getting it serviced soon. Meanwhile, we continue to enjoy the Skoda Rapid as our everyday car.