What we have here is the BS6 Skoda Rapid. Currently, not the most popular body style, you’d agree, but the driving dynamics of this sedan have their charm. Something I’ve always appreciated through the years.
But that aside, what’s really new in this car is what’s under that bonnet. An all-new 1.0-litre turbo petrol motor to make this car BS6-compliant. Here, we talk about five things we liked about the Skoda Rapid, and two that we didn’t.
1: Thrilling Power Delivery
This new 1.0-litre, three-cylinder, turbo-petrol motor makes 110bhp and a rather healthy 175Nm of torque. It lays down all that power on the road through a new six-speed manual transmission. Off the mark, you can instantly spot the tachometer needle twitching to the red-line.
This rev-happy motor unleashes its output in a linear manner with hardly any three-cylinder thrum. Just level the revs over 1600rpm to keep the turbo on-boost, and enjoy the thrilling acceleration with a particularly strong mid-range. What you need to know is that it’s marginally quicker to reach 100kmph than the all-new Honda City, and a substantial 2.4 seconds quicker in the 40-100kmph in-gear drivability test (fourth gear).
2: Solid Build and Spot-on Ergonomics
Step into the new Rapid and you will appreciate the fact that the cabin is well put together, boasting of great build quality- which is what everyone truly expects from a brand like this. But that’s not all. The familiar cabin may not be deemed ‘exciting’, but the dash’s clean design-lines inadvertently give room to an uncluttered layout that smartly translates into an ergonomically well-laid-out dash. One with large buttons and accessible controls which allow one to get accustomed to, almost instantly.
3: Dynamic Handling
Another facet that you instantly take a liking to, is the steering. There’s just the right amount of heft. Neither is it too light, nor too heavy. But you can’t tag it as ‘quick’ steering as it has about two-and three-quarter turns from lock-to-lock.
And it certainly makes up for that by being quite accurate. So regardless of whether it’s you negotiating into a parking space, or maybe wriggling your way through a tight confine. Or, even for that matter, attacking a high speed bend. There’s enough response transmitted to give you the mettle to push it to its limits, without breaking a sweat.
4: Comfortable and Practical Cabin
Upfront, one can easily arrive at a comfortable driving position that’s aided not only by the adequate support from the height-adjustable seats and variable steering, but also via the ample leg, shoulder, and headroom. Even the rear bench is a pretty comfortable place to be in, thanks to the liberal knee- and foot-room, and enough shoulder room for three average-sized adults to fit.
Besides that, everything in this cabin is well within reach, be it any of the controls or even the placement of the infotainment system. Storage is also effortlessly taken care of by the cubby space in the centre console, some inside the driver’s armrest for a wallet or a phone, the generously-sized glove box, and some more in the door pad.
5: Spacious Boot
Now, when it comes to boot space, we have to admit that there’s a lot of room in the boot enclosure. Not just for three medium-sized suitcases, but all of your wife’s shopping bags, and home flora requirements too. Oh, and yes, your children’s soft toys or anything else they can come up with. Importantly, one need not struggle to lift heavy luggage far off the ground as the loading lip is low, thanks to it being a sedan. So, it scores high here.
1: Outdated looks
The BS6 Skoda Rapid continues to haul along essentially the same conservative silhouette that the car was launched with way back in 2011, and it looks undeniably outdated. In fact, it doesn’t take long for you to admit that sedan designs have come a long way- a look at the Verna or Civic proves my point. We strongly believe the Czech automaker missed a critical opportunity to paint the 2020 Rapid with some contemporary styling updates (both inside and out), to make it more attractive, especially at a time when everyone is flocking around SUVs.
2: Firm slow speed ride
The 2020 Rapid’s road manners haven’t changed from the earlier car. So, it remains mildly stiff sprung. An outcome of this damping characteristic is that at slower speeds, the ride quality can get bumpy for the occupants. And if you take into account our current monsoon-battered roads, one can expect some extra cabin movement, especially while traversing through traffic.
So there you have it, the five things we felt worked for the 2020 Skoda Rapid and the two that didn’t. After going through these pointers, we’re sure you can make up your mind if this sedan is for you. But if you want to hear it from us, this Skoda is for those who simply love to drive, and aren’t fussy about creature comforts. It has a ‘hard-to-come-by’ blend of a performance-oriented motor that’s coupled to thrilling dynamics- all at a starting price of just Rs 8.72 lakh (OTR Mumbai- Rider variant). This one’s certainly for me!
Pictures by Kapil Angane