5 things you should buy the Rapid for:
- Ride quality (MPI):
Yes, believe it or not, the USP of the Rapid is its ride quality, especially in the MPI variant. The suspension is extremely comfortable, on any given surface. We even took it for mild off-roading as you can see in the pictures, and even though the suspension is tuned for good ride quality, it didn’t bottom down at any given instance. Even at high speeds, the ride stays flat. Although, the handling gets affected (more on that later), if you are going to be chauffeur driven, the Rapid MPI is the car to go for. Even the diesel (although somewhat on the stiffer side) is a comfortable mile muncher.
The 7-speed DSG gearbox is lightning quick and as a well known fact, is one of the best units to have come to our shores. The downshifts are anticipated well in advance and power delivered throughout the rev band. In fact, the manual mode is fun to use around corners, giving you quick and precise shifts when you want them. It could do with paddle shifters though.
Totally opposite to the MPI in nature, the diesel engine has loads of torque available, starting from as low as 1700rpm. Recently launched in the Ameo in this uprated state, the TDI unit has been reworked by the Indian team of engineers and makes additional 5 horses over the older one at a much accessible 4000rpm (down from 4400). In fact, if you turn the traction control off, you will experience mild torque steer and a bit of wheel spin in the lower gears. And despite being fun, it’s frugal too. On our drive from Dehradun to Mussoorie, which comprises of some twisties, a highway run and some city roads, the diesel managed to return 15kmpl.
The Rapid is one of the top handling sedans in this segment. The sorted ride and well-engineered chassis ensure you can push the sedan much harder around corners and while the electric steering doesn’t offer much feedback, it’s accurate and well weighed. It’s not a corner carving machine, but it is respectable and is definitely better than its Japanese and Korean counterparts.
The Rapid now resembles the European spec model, which is actually based on the Fabia (the Indian car is based on the Polo). The front end especially, gets the traditional Skoda butterfly grille along with Fabia-ish DRLs (they’re extremely bright, even during the day). Even the bulge on the bonnet is inspired by the older generation Superb. And we are not complaining. The Rapid is a looker, especially in the Blue and Red shades. We managed to grab a few eyeballs during our drive. However, from the rear, there’s not much to differentiate from the older car, barring the tiny spoiler and a chrome strip. Only complaint has to be the skinny 185-section wheels. This obviously is done to achieve higher efficiency buy one size up on these would have been ideal. The interior is equipped with materials that feel built to last. Even the doors close with a loud thud that the first generation Octavia was known for.