Trading the 1.5-litre diesel and the 1.6-litre petrol in the updated Rapid is a single petrol engine option. The engine in question is the new trump card from the Volkswagen Group (SAVWIPL) in India – the 1.0-litre TSI direct-injection turbo-petrol unit. It makes 109bhp at 5,000rpm and an impressive 175Nm of torque accessible from 1,750rpm. Apart from the six-speed manual, the Rapid now also comes with a six-speed torque converter which we are driving here.
Crank up the engine by twisting the key (no push-button start here) and the motor settles into a silent idle. There’re a few vibrations felt on idling but nothing as serious as you’d usually associate with a three-cylinder motor, which is commendable.
Slot the lever into D and let go of the brake pedal, and the Rapid gets off the line with seamless progress. Although, sometimes it might catch you unaware by lurching forward if the brake pedal is released all of a sudden. Once on the move, the motor builds up speed seamlessly and there’s a good amount of mid and low-end grunt to keep up with the city traffic. We noticed that the motor wants to hover around the 2,000rpm and so the automatic gearbox upshifts quickly to keep the needle around that mark. So, while driving it at city speeds, there’s no noticeable lag.
But this is a high-revving motor. So, if you burry your right foot, the gearbox will hold on to the gear until the 6,000rpm redline. And the gain in speed is quick and exciting. Triple-digit speeds arrive rapidly, no puns intended. But you aren’t heaved back into the seat and you’d notice no jerks from the automatic gearbox as it works its way up the cogs. On the other hand, to maintain highway speeds, the motor will leisurely tick over between 1,500-2,500rpm, with enough power in reserve to overtake slow-moving vehicles. And even in kickdown, the gearbox responds to the driver’s inputs almost immediately, without much lag. Extend the gear shifter into the S mode and you’d notice that the gearbox now holds gear a bit higher than usual. This results in a slightly sharper throttle response.
However, for the purists who swear by the older dual-clutch DSG automatic might find this torque converter slightly slow in comparison. But for someone driving this automatic for the first time, there won’t be any complaints whatsoever. Sure, the DCT would have complemented this 1.0-litre turbo-petrol motor even more, but the torque converter does the job equally well with its seamless nature, quick response, sans any jerk or delay. What’s more, it is also significantly more affordable than the DSG, making the Rapid more accessible to new car buyers and to buyers upgrading to a sedan from a smaller hatchback segment.