Skoda Rapid review: All you need to know about the 1.0 TSI model

Skoda’s Rapid has been around since 2011 – and still soldiers on, albeit, with a fresher face. Customers have loved the Czech offering from the brand for its solid build, great quality and its engines and performance. However, the major focus now being on mid-size SUVs for sedan money, most manufacturers haven’t been paying too much attention to mid-size sedans – and Skoda is one of them. The Rapid, in particular, has grown long in the tooth and all it has now is a new engine and some added features. Apart from a few facelifts in between, the Rapid remains largely the same. Gone is the old 1.6-litre, naturally-aspirated petrol and in comes a modern 1.0-litre, 3-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine. The engine in question, is light and compact and comes from the EA211 engine line-up in the VW Group, powering other VW and Skoda cars models. With manufacturers slowly and steadily calling it quits with diesel engines, the BS6-compliant 1.0-litre, direct-injection turbo petrol has a lot to live up to.

Old is gold?

The Skoda Rapid’s crisp lines may be aged but definitely give the car a typical German product’s personality. Up-ahead, it gets smoked-out headlamps, the signature butterfly grille and some lovely chrome elements on the bodywork, if you opt for the Style automatic variant, that is. It even gets 16-inch alloy wheels and is available in four different colours; the Toffee Brown being our favourite. At the rear, it all remains identical to the old car. We don’t want to call the Skoda Rapid ugly; it’s just that it is way too familiar to look at after all these years.

And the interior?

Step into the Skoda Rapid and you’ll see a beige theme used for the cabin with a regularly styled steering (the Monte Carlo version gets a flat-bottom design). The solid build quality still impresses and the quality of plastics leaves nothing to complain about. Ergonomics-wise too, it is pretty good and the design of the dashboard is simplistic and free of clutter. On the Monte Carlo variant, you get a couple of sporty-looking bits, like the perforated grip on the steering, the red stitching, red accents and Monte Carlo embossed on the headrests. The seats offer great comfort and support like always, while legroom, on the other hand, is no match for Maruti’s Ciaz and Honda’s City. However, the perfectly cushioned seats and great under-thigh support do wonders to make the cabin a better place to be in. You get storage spaces around which are very usable and the entire Rapid line-up gets tinted windows and shades for the rear window. In the middle of the dashboard sits an 8.0-inch Android-based infotainment system; the screen is legible and intuitive, but sadly, there is no Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. Users do, however, get phone screen mirroring through the EasyConnection app but we didn’t find it to be smooth in terms of the experience.

In terms of features, it is equipped with auto-dimming inside mirror, tilt-telescopic steering, climate control, rain-sensing wipers, 16-inch alloy wheels, rear AC vents, rear-view camera, LED headlights, sunroof, cooled seats and an engine start-stop button. On the safety front, it gets 6 airbags, ESP and a tyre pressure monitor.

Small turbo, great performance

Under the bonnet lies a 999cc, producing 108bhp and 175Nm of torque, paired either to a 6-speed torque-converter automatic or a 6-speed manual transmission. With this engine under the bonnet, it is one of the quickest cars in its segment and it can manage a top speed of 195kph. If acceleration and speed is what you are in pursuit of, the Skoda Rapid makes proper sense. What impressed even more was the strong mid-range – the turbo spools up, and it is bound to leave other rivals in its rear-view mirror. The car builds pace quickly and with its wide spread of torque, you manage to get the best out of the engine. The motor pulls effortlessly until its redline and enjoys being revved – and the harder you rev, the smoother it sounds. However, you do get your dose of the three-cylinder thrum. The engine is vibration-free though. At low speeds, throttle response isn’t great but in traffic, part-throttle response is good enough if you want instant acceleration. The 6-speed manual ‘box is light and the short throws make it easy to use in traffic.

Behind the wheel

The suspension remains untouched, meaning the damping is stiff, resulting in huge bumps being felt in the cabin. It does soak in the imperfections though and doesn’t feel nose-heavy anymore, thanks to the lightweight engine. At high speeds, it continues to inspire confidence and body control is excellent – and with its punchy motor, things have only gotten better. The steering weighs up nicely, giving the driver the confidence to push through a corner without thinking twice. We just hope Skoda Cars have a new Rapid on the cards for the future. Also, grab the latest info on the new cars, only at autoX.


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