Skoda Rapid Facelift Review: Big on Style and Presence
The Skoda Rapid has got itself a much needed facelift and looks sharper than ever.
Skoda Rapid Facelift. (Photo: Siddharth Safaya/News18.com)
The Skoda Rapid has always been a handsome car and is one of the best sellers from the Czech automaker’s stable in India. It has been over five years since the introduction of the car and the company has now given it a facelift.
Currently, the car has a base price of Rs 8.27 lakh for the petrol variant and Rs 9.48 lakh for the diesel variant (all prices ex-showroom, Delhi). It continues using the 1.6-litre petrol engine from the previous generation, but the diesel engine has been retuned for better power delivery.
We tested the top of the line diesel-powered ‘Style’ variant with the 7-speed DSG gearbox which is priced at Rs 12.67 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).
The Rapid facelift has a lot to offer thanks to some of the changes that the car has received. But, the question is, do these changes make it a better value for money offering than before?
Let’s find out.
Being a facelift, one expects a few nips and tucks to the overall design of the car but in this particular case, the company has gone all the way and given it a completely refreshed front-end design.
It now has Skoda’s signature ‘Butterfly’ grille which brings it in line with the designs of the Skoda Superb and the Skoda Octavia. The bold grille is complimented by the new smoked projector headlamps and the top-spec variant also comes with Daytime Running Lights (DRLs). This, along with the new bumper design, gives the Rapid a premium feel and presence on road.
The side profile remains the same other than the addition of chrome on door handles and new alloy wheel design.
Skoda Rapid Faceilft has a similar side profile to the previous generation. (Photo: Siddharth Safaya/News18.com)
At the back, the C-shaped tail lamps have the same layout as the previous generation Rapid but now get smoked treatment and there’s an addition of a boot spoiler.
Skoda Rapid Faceilft from the back. (Photo: Siddharth Safaya/News18.com)
The changes continue on the inside of the car as well. The dual-tone interiors have been built using good quality materials. Yes, the layout might look similar but it now comes with a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system that supports AUX, Bluetooth and USB. It also comes with MirrorLink technology. There is no shortage of compartment spaces either and clever design layout by Skoda is visible by the cooled glovebox and the neatly tucked in bottle holder under the rear AC vents for rear passengers.
Skoda Rapid Interiors. (Photo: Siddharth Safaya/News18.com)
There is ample leg-room, shoulder-room and head-room even for those seated at the back and the 460-litre boot space is impressive.
The Skoda Rapid has impressive boot spcae capacity. (Photo: Siddharth Safaya/News18.com)
What we really liked the most, though, was the driving experience of the car. The suspension set up was bang on for city driving and highway commute and the chassis makes the car feel planted even at high speeds. The 1.5-litre diesel engine now comes with a bigger turbocharger which takes the total power output to 110 PS and 250 Nm of torque. All this power is spread evenly across the RPM range no matter which gear the car is being driven at.
The Skoda Rapid has a neatly tucked in cup holder underneath the rear AC vents. (Photo: Siddharth Safaya/News18.com)
It can take the potholes provided you drive over it at the right speed. The positive driving feedback is also because of the crisp 7-speed gearbox which helps in quick and smooth gear changes and the addition of cruise control is like the icing on the cake.
What’s Not So Cool?
There were a couple of things which could have made the overall experience even better.
That chassis and the wonderful DSG transmission work so well together that you would want to take the car through its paces, but once you do, the feedback from the steering wheel begins to feel a bit numb. At highway speeds, you can feel the car connect to the road but then the steering doesn’t direct that feedback to the driver as well as we would like. This is probably because the car was designed to be easy to drive in traffic, where your speeds are low, and easy to drive it is.
We tested the top-end diesel variant of the Skoda Rapid with the DSG gearbox. (Photo: Siddharth Safaya/News18.com)
The noise suppression inside the car is good but that diesel engine is audible inside the car even at idle, despite being one of the more refined units in its segment.
The Skoda Rapid competes with the likes of the Honda City, Maruti Suzuki Ciaz and its cousin – the Volkswagen Vento. Out of its competitors, the Honda City and Maruti Suzuki Ciaz have been around for a while now and the Rapid’s facelift makes it feel like the most premium offering among all of them.
The Skoda Rapid offers good stability even at highway speeds. (Photo: Siddharth Safaya/News18.com)
The Skoda Rapid falls in a segment that is a bit tricky to master. One on hand the probable buyers of the car want it to be loaded with features and comforts whereas, on the other hand, automakers are expected to price the product aggressively.
The Skoda Rapid delivers on the list of features one would from a mid-sized sedan and also has an aggressive price tag. On top of it, the car we tested delivered an impressive mileage of over 18 km/l in city traffic.
Back to the question with which we started – do these changes make it a better value for money offering than before? The answer is definite yes, and if you are looking for a car that offers great build quality and an involving driver’s experience then the Rapid is definitely worth checking out.
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