Volkswagen motor company had already announced the launch of a sedan based on the “Polo” platform, and it did launch the “Vento” or the Polo sedan. As Skoda is a part of the VW group and the “Fabia” sharing the same underpinnings with the Polo, Skoda had planned to bring a sedan which had the same dimensions and mechanicals as the Vento but at a lower price point.
Skoda called their sedan the “Rapid”. The engines are essentially the same from the Volkswagen Vento but with a slight change of tune. Now lets findout, is the performance of the car really that Rapid?? !
1) Looks & Design-
Skoda designers have only altered the front and rear portions of the car. The side profile remains the same with the same typical and sober German outlines, creases.
Skoda engineers decided to give it a look similar to its hatchback iteration, same as VW did with the Vento. The front looks the same as the Fabia, but it has a wider track. The nose of the car is the only portion which looks different from its elder sibling Vento.
The headlights are wide and distinct, giving it a more aggressive look. The fog lamps are wide and house two types of bulbs inside. Moving onto the side, it is the same as the Vento with identical doors, A,B and C pillars. The design of the grab handles is also the same as the Vendor for the parts for VW and Skoda is the same keeping in mind the cost of manufacturing, maintenance and availability. The wheel arches look very contemporary as VW group has designed the base body of the car.
The rear portion is the most attractive part of the car. The bootlid is different with sharp lines on it. The taillight cluster’s shape is the same as the Vento but the design is very typical Skoda, which provides a different characteristic. The tail-lights seem to be Laura inspired. The VW logo has been replaced with the Skoda logo and the new badges have been added such as “MPI” for the petrol and “TDI” for the diesel. These badges are placed on the upper-left side of the bootlid. Now let’s move onto to the interiors of the car.
Open the front door and you’ll be welcomed by the high quality seats and dashboard. The colour tone has been chosen a bit darker as to give the Vento a more luxurious feel as VW is the parent and more costly brand in India. The dashboard, somehow doesn’t feel as premium as the Vento.
The colour of the dashboard is liked by some and disliked by some. The seats too are darker in colour. The seats are supportive and have good under thigh support. There’s a foldable arm rest too which can intrude in the way sometimes. This is a flaw both in the Vento and the Rapid. When you put the arm rest down, the parking brake lever is accessible but with a little more effort. This makes it a bit cumbersome to operate.
On the driver’s seat though, it’s a different story. The adjustable seats are supportive and provide a good view of the road. Even though the dash board is placed high, the road is fairly visible. The seat’s material is amongst the general quality, nothing very special to it. We hope Skoda may provide better leather seats and brighter dashboard tones in the future. The Steering is typical Skoda and the It has a high quality logo and Airbag symbol on it. But it does lack steering mounted controls which are very common in a car considering a price range of 11+lakhs.
The instrument cluster looks neat and clean with bold markings and with the ancient green backlights, it does looks very plain and sometimes yes, a little boring. There’s no OOOmph factor to it. Take the example of the Verna instead, the meter pods look so distinct and clean. The instrument cluster does have some good features DTE (Distance to Empty), Range, Avg. Mileage etc. The door do house the power window switches and the ORVM control switches. The switches feel great to operate and there is no second thought to doubt.
Moving onto the rear seats, the car feels spacious. The front seats have a good travel and can be operated via a lever specially provided to move the front seats to create more leg room. The rear seats are comfortable and provide good enough under thigh support. There’s a arm rest too which lacks storage BTW. The central hump, is quiet high and can be a problem for the third passenger, so max of two passengers can sit properly in the rear seats. The door sills are perfect, not as high as the Verna where it is very difficult to look at the outside world. The sound levels are controlled too. The outside noise don’t creep in, but the diesel clatter of the TDI is little annoying sometimes.
3) Engine & Gearbox-
The Rapid has 2 engines with 3 different gearboxes.
1)1.6 MPI petrol with MT
2)1.6MPI petrol with AT
3)1.6TDI Diesel with MT
Both the engines have same horsepower, but the torque is much more in the diesel.
The outputs for the Petrol and Diesel are as follows-
105 Bhp & 153Nm torque & 105 Bhp & 250Nm torque.
The ouputs are the same as the Vento, but lets checkout how successful are the Skoda engineers to make it differrent from the Vento.
1) Petrol with MT-
The petrol is the same motor seen on the Vento too. The motor is fairly refined but cannot be compared to the refinement of the “Honda City” or the power of the “Fiat Linea T-Jet”. The engine needs to revved to get the max out of it. The short gearings on it mean better drivability in the city. And for the info, it is faster than the Vento to the dash from 0-100Kmph. The motor gets little coarse after 4500Rpm but to get the max power, you’ll have to keep it in its power band. The first gear max’s outs at 50Kmph the second at 90Kmph resulting better less gear changes and more torque. It has 5 forward and 1 reverse gear. The 0-100 of the motor comes up in a very healthy 11.46 seconds.
2) Petrol with AT-
The Petrol motor already needs to be revved hard to get the max out of it. The auto box, it’s a real disappointment. The auto box lovers will really loathe it. The car downshifts and up-shifts on its own. The auto box is not the DSG but a single clutch trip-tronic as they call it. The gearbox takes it own sweet time to shift up or down. You’ll have to really workout on the highway to get the total juice out of it. The auto box is not very efficient either. The 0-100Kmph dash takes more than 4.30 seconds on the manual petrol. The gearbox in one word is “Lazy”.
3) Diesel with MT-
Now this is the oil-burner. The figures already do look fantastic. The VW EA 189 motor is little gruff in the mornings. But settles to a hmm after it gets heated up. The diesel motor is a revv happy motor as we know. There are lots and lots of power everywhere in the power band. The max toque comes upto from 1500Rpm itself. The turbo will really put you into your seat at 2000Rpm and beyond.
The redline of the diesel hits at 5200Rpm. The diesel mill just loves to be revved from low gears. It never feels strained. Put it into the 1st gear and there you go. There’s minimal Turbo lag which is very good for the city but there’s a problem in there too.
There’s sudden surge of power too, which can lead to sudden braking in the city. The engine is not very gruff as some old TDI motors did but the Verna’s 1.6 and the Multijet motors and even more refined. The diesel’s gearbox has been again calibrated separately for the Rapid resulting marginally better 0-100Kmph timings than the Vento. The 0-100Kmph comes up in mere 11.26 seconds.
3) Ride & Handling-
The underpinnings are same as the Vento so, the mechanical components are the same too. The independent front suspension and the non independent rear suspension are borrowed from the Vento. However the soft suspension makes it better for the passengers but the nose of the car tends to pitch on bad roads, especially when you brake hard. While the electric steering is direct and perfect, it’s little lifeless at highway speeds. As a result it lets down to the performance given on the tap. The Linea’s perfect balance between the ride and handling is still the benchmark in this segment. It is neither the Fiesta, but is surely better than the Vento in all departments. In spite of having so much torque, there’s very less torque steer on this car, allowing to open up the accelerator at every opportunity.
The wheelbase of the car is 2552mm and a ground clearance of 168mm which is sufficient for India.
The braking capability of the car is good but is let down by the suspension which tends to pitch.
Skoda has provided the car with ABS brakes and dual front airbags for safety. Other safety features include front disk brakes and collapsible steering column.
The car has 3 trim levels on which base and mid variants get 175/70/R 14 wheels and the Top of the line variant gets 185/65/R 15 wheels.
1) Automatic Climate control
2) Rear AC vents
3) Music System with SD card and CD player
4) Power windows with anti pinch system
5) ABS & Dual Airbags
The Vento is very well priced midsized sedan which is appealing and is worth the price.
5) Turning circle diameter-10.6m
6) Boot space-460L
7) Ground clearance- 168mm
8) Kerb Weight- 1145Kgs-1205Kgs
9) Fuel Tank- 55L