The Skoda rapid has always been a car that has stood out in a crowd. The mid-sized sedan segment is a hotly contested one in India with so many cars vying for your attention, yet the Rapid has managed to win over its fair share of fans. This is partly because of a reliable brand like Skoda, and also because the car itself is a product to reckon with. It’s got a great engine, is very well built and is big on features as well. To make the Rapid even more appealing, the Czech car maker has come out with a special anniversary edition of the car that boasts of some exciting propositions that are bound to impress you. This edition is celebrating a 120 years of existence of Skoda as an auto company.
Skodas have always come with a very no-nonsense design. There are minimalistic design cues, and it’s this understated look that works magic on the cars, and The Rapid is no different. It gets projector headlamps and a bumper that remains unchanged. The new Anniversary Edition also gets smart decorative decals for that individualistic touch and also gets a blacked out roof. Otherwise, this edition is not drastically different from the regular Rapid we see out on the roads. The 15-inch alloy wheels are a nice contrast to an otherwise non-flashy looks and also guarantee a good ride.
Inside, the Rapid comes with some best-in-class features; these include adjustable rear AC vents and wood decor on the dash. Being a Skoda car owner also means that you are assured that there is no compromise when it comes to build quality. The fit and finish is top notch and the quality of plastics will not leave you complaining. In terms of space, the Rapid offers good legroom on both the rows which means you can have a long relaxed drive in the car. The steering wheel is multi functional and also comes with an option of cruise control. Utility is taken care off well with an adjustable centre armrest with storage space underneath as well as coat hooks on the B pillar. The car also comes with a pro-car tracking device system which ensures that the owner can stay connected to the vehicle all the time.
The car comes with a wide range of configurations — there’s an efficient diesel, or if you want to enjoy it more there’s petrol, both combined with a manual or automatic transmission. In fact, the seven speed DSG gearbox, the latest addition to the portfolio, is a joy to drive and satiates the drivers’ needs within you to enjoy driving again. It also comes with a triptronic in case you want better control of the car. Despite being an automatic, Skoda is promising good mileage on the Rapid and the car should be able to return a good 21.66 kmpl of fuel efficiency according to ARAI.
Ride & Handling
Because of its impressive build quality, the Rapid offers a very stable ride. Even at high speeds you can feel confident while being behind the wheels of this one. Plus, there’s negligible body roll. The suspension is a bit on the stiffer side and is tuned well to handle the punishing Indian road conditions. This ensures a fairly comfortable drive in the car. Safety is paramount for Skoda and there are multiple proofs of that on this Rapid. Apart from dual airbags being offered as standard, the car also comes with Hill hold control, Electronic stability control as well as Anti slip regulation. The music system too is speed sensitive — one of many thoughtful touches.
A major perception about Skoda auto in recent times in India is that its cars are not cheap to maintain. The company has tried to address the issue this time around. Besides many ownership packages, it is offering two years unlimited kilometres warranty on the engine and more importantly on spares and a three years unlimited kilometres warranty on the paint. The service interval of 15,000 km or one year is longer than most rivals and surely helps save some costs. All this coupled with a starting price Rs 6.99 lakh makes the Rapid anniversary edition a very attractive option in a segment that’s dominated by cars that cost more and offer much less.
Shams Naqvi is an anchor/producer for the News X motor show Living Cars.