Finally had a chance to test drive the new Skoda Rapid. I had given up my hopes as the sales person never got the car for test drive as per schedule during the first three appointments, which spanned over a month! That shows how much demand this car has generated in its segment in the indian market. Well, when the car finally came, it was a white colored high end diesel engine variant model called Elegance. This car was a real stunner with good looking external appearance. Especially, the white car that was bought for the test drive was looking great on sunny day!
The first thing you notice upon sitting in the driver seat is the clear view of the front which is a must to drive on Indian roads. I took a while for me to get used to the left/right turning signal lever which is on the left side as compared to the other traditional cars. Gear shift was very smooth and I was impressed with the quality of drive. Car was responding well for city traffic conditions and pick up after frequent braking was good. Though it was a diesel Turbo Engine in-line v16, there was noticeably less noise inside the cabin. Vehicle was sturdy and the suspension was smooth too over the speed breakers. Drove the car for about 3 kilometers and felt really good. Unlike other test drive cars, this car was very neatly maintained and I had no complaints about the gear shift or any other noise from within.
Air conditioning was impressive too, it was able bring the coolness to about 18 degrees in no time on a shiny high temperature afternoon. The music system was inbuilt and operation mode was through touch sensors. Panel was nothing too fancy but decent for its price. One drawback I noticed was that you can’t use the music system with a USB stick. Interiors for this top end variant of Rapid was elegant too. I was told this car comes with about 8 different color variants to choose the interiors from. The mileage as per the tech spec is about 20kmpl, but the salesman was honest enough to say the turbo engine gives about 13 kms in city driving conditions.
Coming to the safety features in Skoda Rapid, as always they have designed this car with a number of features ranging from an Engine Immobilizer with a Floating Code System. This intelligent system generates a unique code that is stored in the key every time the ignition is turned off. The next time the car is started, it checks for the same code, and freezes the engine if the correct code is not found, thereby safe-guarding the car from theft. The audio player also comes with a similar code-based security system. Other features include driver and front passenger airbags, anti-lock braking system with dual rate brake assist, front and rear fog lights and anti-pinch windows.
Manufacturer warranty is for 3 years or 1,00,000 kms which ever comes first. Also, the annual maintenance/service charge comes around Rs 9000/-, again this info was provided by the salesperson. Not sure if it is really that low as the cost of Skoda genuine spare parts is very costly. I am sure, you too have that doubt. To address this, Skoda has come out with the spare parts price list handout that is given to every person who goes on a test driving a car. Also, the same price list is maintained on the official Skoda india website too. I have my own doubts about the post sales support and service as there are very limited number of dealer and service stations. Need to get the feedback from someone who already owns a skoda car. Except this, I am fully sold for this car.
Here is the ex-showroom price information as on date for Skoda Rapid in Bangalore:
|Skoda Rapid Versions||Fuel||Transmission||Price|
|Active 1.6 MPI MT||Petrol||Manual||6,99,200|
|Ambition 1.6 MPI MT||Petrol||Manual||7,44,800|
|Elegance 1.6 MPI MT||Petrol||Manual||8,36,000|
|Ambition 1.6 MPI AT||Petrol||Automatic||8,46,133|
|Elegance 1.6 MPI AT||Petrol||Automatic||9,37,333|
|Active 1.6 TDI CR MT||Diesel||Manual||8,25,866|
|Ambition 1.6 TDI CR MT||Diesel||Manual||8,71,466|
|Elegance 1.6 TDI CR MT||Diesel||Manual||9,62,666|
Need to test drive Volkswagon Vento which is a strong competitor to this car in its segment as well as the price range. You can read through many other cars that I have test driven and reviewed so far on this blog.