Skoda, the Czech manufacturer launched its updated Rapid sedan just a day after its cousin, Volkswagen Vento facelift was unleashed. Skoda produces premium cars but somehow, has not been able to get deserving success in the Indian market. The last launch we heard from Skoda, was in the form of Yeti facelift around two weeks back. Now company has launched the Rapid facelift ahead of the festive season. Rapid prices start from Rs 7.22 Lakh for Active variant to Rs 10.97 lakh for the top-of-the-line Elegance Black Package (all prices are Ex-Showroom, Delhi). The new Rapid features a new 1.5-litre diesel engine and a 7-speed DSG automatic gearbox. The new avatar will be available in four variants, including two petrol versions and two diesel. The four variants are Active, Ambition+, Elegance and the Elegance Black Package. Additionally, Skoda India will also be offering a ‘Black Package’ treatment on all the four variants to attract customer interest in the new Rapid.
Not a lot of cosmetic changes are seen, apart from minor tweaks. The new Rapid is made for the people who prefer a little sportier version of the same. Therefore, the company has introduced an accessory pack called the Black Package. It includes black alloy wheels and blackened fog and headlamps. However, one will have to pay an extra sum of Rs. 20,000 to get this package. You can also get the car's roof colored in black at any Skoda dealership, but that's not the part of standard Black Package. The black bezels for the grille, alloy wheels and ORVM covers add on to the beauty. The top Elegance trim gets 15 inch ‘bold’ alloy wheels and rest of the siblings gets steel wheels. The color options elegantly draping the Rapid are Brilliant Silver, Candy White, Cappuccino Beige, Deep Black Pearl, Flash Red and the new Toffee Brown color. The Toffee Brown color is expected to be available from the month of November.
The interior of the new Rapid gets no major upgrades except a few. There is fabric upholstery on all the four variants. Also the driver seat height and the steering wheel can be adjusted as per wish. Skoda has also updated the music system with a 2 DIN audio player with USB/AUX in/SD card compatibility. For the ease of driver, the steering has mounted controls for the music system and phone. The radio can also be remotely controlled from the phone App “Skoda Remote” available for iOS as well as for Android phones. The Bluetooth connectivity and cruise control options are available in only with the Ambition Plus and Elegance trims. Climatronic automatic air conditioning is also available only on the top-end Elegance version.
Safety features wise, the Skoda India has equipped the new Rapid with Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), EBC (Engine Braking Control), dual rate brake assist and rear parking sensors on the Ambition Plus and Elegance trims. Driver airbag is well equipped on all variants except the base model, but the front passenger airbag only comes on two higher versions, Ambition Plus and Elegance.
Mechanically, the petrol variant remains the same and continues to be powered with 1.6 litre petrol engine producing 103bhp power and 143Nm of torque. But the diesel one get updated with a new 1.5 litre engine ditching the prevailing 1.6 litre engine in present avatar. However, don't get the wrong idea that lowering the displacement would result in lesser power levels. The powerful 1.5 litre diesel engine produces 103bhp of maximum power with 250Nm of peak torque. Another favourable addition is received by the transmission system.
The ARAI mileage stats claimed by Skoda India says that the automatic diesel variant will return a mileage of 21.66kmpl while the manual diesel variant will return fuel efficiency of 21.14kmpl. The diesel engine is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission while the petrol variants too get coupled with a 5-speed manual returning mileage of 15 kmpl and a 6-speed Tiptronic or conventional automatic returning a fuel efficiency of 14.3kmpl.
The major highlight of the 2014 Rapid is the 7-speed automatic DSG transmission on the diesel variant, making it one of the most affordable diesel automatic sedan sold in the Indian market. This could be one of the decisive selling factor for the car. But there is stiff competition in the mid-size sedan segment. The new Rapid will compete against the likes of Honda City, Hyundai Verna and upcoming Maruti Ciaz.