Skoda Rapid is the new entry level sedan launched by Czech auto making giant, Skoda. The company shared the platform with its sister concern, Volkswagen, while developing this vehicle. Therefore, the new C+ sedan from the stables of Skoda bears many similarities to VW Vento, which is considered as its biggest competitor in the market. It is fully manufactured in India and the company plans to take it foreign markets soon, depending upon the initial domestic success.
Rapid in India was highly anticipated by auto experts as all parties were curious regarding what this new car will bring to the table. The company assimilated the car with a powerful engine that has already been tested by buyers in the Vento, though Skoda Rapid price in India will be the USP of the vehicle. With a price tag ranging vastly, from Rs. 6.75 lacs to Rs. 9.19 lacs, the company hopes to cater a wide demographic and make this vehicle a cash cow in its own right.
As a performer, the car has been able to endear to auto aficionados despite the fact that competitors like VW Vento, Honda City, Ford Fiesta, Maruti Suzuki SX4 and Fiat Linea offer better performance. The looks of the car will work favourably for the company, which made subtle changes to the rear, tried refurbishing the front and left the side profile and interiors almost untouched while altering the Vento to create Rapid car.
Skoda Rapid Launch History
Skoda Auto India launched the new sedan, Rapid, in a bid to strengthen its position in the booming Indian auto market. The Czech car maker chose to officially unveil the car on November 16, 2011 in New Delhi, the national capital of India. The car rolled out of the Chakan, Maharashtra plant after just 9 days into production, a feat that will find few matches in coming time.
Skoda Rapid Variants
Skoda Auto India launched three variants of Rapid in India, all available in petrol and diesel versions. All six models bear manual system, while two petrol variants can be bought with optional automatic transmission mechanism. These variants are detailed below:
| Variants || Details |
| Active || This is the base variant, available with petrol and diesel engine and assimilated with only a manual transmission mechanism. The car has manual air conditioning with adjustable rear vents, anti-glare rear view mirrors, rear defogger and engine defogger. |
| Ambition || The second variant is available in diesel and petrol versions, with optional automatic transmission. Apart from the standard features of Active, this model has remote central door locking, Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), front rear fog lamps, rear centre armrest, driver airbags, body coloured ORVMs and height adjustable driver seat. |
| Elegance || The top end model, Elegance is also available with petrol and diesel engines and optional automatic transmission mechanism. The distinguishing features of this car are the 2-DIN audio system, electrically adjustable external mirrors, Multi Function Display (MFD), driver and front passenger airbags and Climatronic automatic air conditioning system. |
Skoda Rapid Pricing
As an entry-level sedan, Skoda Rapid car aims to endear buyers with a price tag that makes it accessible to the masses. Therefore, the company has placed the three manual transmission petrol variants within the price bracket of Rs. 6.75 to Rs. 8 lacs. The Skoda Rapid price in India for its two automatic transmission petrol variants ranges between Rs. 8.10 lacs to Rs. 9 lacs. On the other hand, the three manual transmission diesel variants can be availed within the price range of Rs. 7.95 lacs to Rs. 9.19 lacs.
Skoda Rapid Review
Skoda Rapid is a car that offers Indian buyers complete value for their money, with features that suit its price tag. The interiors and exteriors car have been lifted from that of Volkswagen Vento, its sibling and biggest competitor. Skoda Auto India has succeeded in presenting a fuel efficient, stylish and reliable car that appeals to the Indian audiences. The company will hope to capitalise upon the success of Vento, which has become a favourite of the masses in India.
The new Skoda Rapid in India is available in six petrol and diesel versions, with two additional variants possessing optional automatic transmission systems. Advanced safety features, excellent entertainment and information systems and class leading comfort and convenience features will propel the sales of Rapid cars in the domestic market. However, the biggest proponent of its success will undoubtedly be the Skoda Rapid price, which has been kept among the lowest in the segment.
Skoda Rapid Used Car Market
As a recently launched vehicle, Skoda Rapid has no used car market, and the situation will remain the same for quite some time.
Skoda Rapid Specifications
The new Skoda Rapid is assimilated with two types of engines, namely a 1.6 L MPI petrol engine and a 1.6 L TDI diesel engine. Its 4 cylinder, 1598 cc, 16 V DOHC, in-line petrol engine is capable of churning out 105 bhp power at 5250 rpm and 153 Nm torque at 3800 rpm. This engine possesses liquid cooling system and transverse in front mechanism in the manual as well as automatic variants.
On the other hand, its 4 cylinder, 16 V DOHC, in-line 1598 cc diesel engine can produce peak power output of 105 bhp at 4400 rpm and highest torque of 250 Nm at 1500-2500 rpm. This turbocharged diesel engine also boasts of liquid cooling system, which is complemented by a high-pressure direct injection mechanism for better fuel economy.
Skoda Rapid Exteriors
Though the new Skoda Rapid bears a likeness to VW Vento, it has been designed as a Skoda vehicle through and through. The car boasts of the trademark Skoda front grille, which the Indian audiences identify with Fabia. The new bonnet, fenders and chin contribute towards giving this car a distinct front profile from that of the Vento.
The side profile of the car exhibits flowing lines that give the new Rapid a streamlined appearance. The rear of the vehicle illustrates an appealing detailing of the tail lamps, which has been incorporated with the company's trademark 'C' motif. The boot lid and the rear bumper of this car also sport changes from Vento's, thus giving a unique identity to this car.
Exterior measurements of Skoda Rapid car are mentioned below:
| Parameter || Dimensions (mm) |
| Length || 4386 |
| Width || 1699 |
| Height || 1466 |
| Wheelbase || 2552 |
| Ground Clearance || 168 |
Skoda Rapid Interiors
The cabin of this five-seater is highly reminiscent of Vento's, with the same theme being followed by both car makers. However, Rapid bears the instrument panel, gearlever, audio system and steering wheel, which is devoid of any steering-mounted controls. The mocca-onyx colouring theme is followed in the base variant, while the other two variants boast of dual tone ivory-mocha interiors.
The Czech automotive giant has provided ample comfort features in its new entry level sedan, Skoda Rapid. Adjustable driver seat, intelligent Climatronic air conditioning, front door bottle holders, collapsible cup holders and storage compartment in front armrest are some of the comfort and convenience features of the car.
Skoda Rapid is a spacious car that has been designed keeping in mind requirements of Indian car buyers. Therefore, it boasts of ample headroom, leg room, shoulder room and knee room in all variants. The car has sufficient boot space of 460 litres, which will certainly be useful for storing tremendous quantities of luggage.
Skoda Rapid Mileage, Average and Fuel Economy
The two engines of the new Skoda Rapid are able to deliver excellent mileage, one of the prerequisites of a good car. The base variant delivers fuel efficiency between 11 kmpl and 15 kmpl, depending upon road conditions. Likewise, the other petrol versions, with manual as well as automatic transmission, are able to deliver an average of 14 kmpl to 17 kmpl. On the other hand, the three diesel powered variants can successfully mileage between 16 kmpl and 20 kmpl. This kind of fuel efficiency will certainly woo the buyers and draw more and more customers towards Skoda India.
Skoda Rapid On-road Drive
In a bid to bridge the gap between its hatchback Fabia and premium sedan Laura, the Czech auto maker presented the new Skoda Rapid in India. The car has been developed exclusively for the Indian market, with pricing being a key factor for its success. Therefore, the car has been assimilated with a fully manual, fully synchronised 5-speed gear box in the petrol and diesel variants, with optional automatic transmission in two variants. Its direct rack and pinion steering with electro mechanic power steering helps drivers to traverse traffic-laden urban roads with ease, with its 10.8 m turning radius providing sufficient manoeuvrability to the vehicle.
The powerful engine of the car can successfully zoom on Indian roads, with the suspension providing it stability. The front wheel driven Rapid car has a front axle that possesses McPherson strut with lower triangular links and torsion stabiliser, while it has compound link crank axle in the rear. These contribute for a stable, refined driving experience, though the competitors can render better performance than Rapid in India.
Skoda Rapid Power
The two engines of Rapid, viz. 1.6 L MPI petrol and 1.6 TDI diesel, churn out the same amount of power, though there is a huge difference in the torque generation capacities. The petrol version produces maximum power output of 105 bhp at 5500 rpm and 153 Nm torque at 3800 rpm. On the other hand, its diesel sibling offers the same power output at a tremendous 250 Nm at 1500-2500 rpm. With such power and torque, the car glides smoothly on Indian roads and provides occupants with an enjoyable driving experience.
Skoda Rapid Acceleration and Pick Up
In terms of acceleration and pick up, Skoda Rapid cars do decently, though competitors can certainly boast of better figures. The cars zoom from naught to 100 kmph within 12.5 seconds and can clock a top speed of 186 kmph. The assimilation of an efficient manual gearbox certainly helps their case, while the automatic transmission system undoubtedly makes things easier on long drives. The front disk brakes with inner cooling, single/piston floating calliper and rear drum brakes ensure that the driver has total control of the vehicle even while driving at the highest of speeds.
Skoda Rapid Safety and Security
With the advent of sedans that are replete with many safety and security features, Indian buyers have ample choices at hand. Anti-lock Braking System with Dual Rate brake assist mechanism and driver and front passenger airbags are available in the car. New Skoda Rapid joins the league of entry level sedans with engine immobiliser, comfort opening and closing of windows and central locking of all doors and boot lid as standard features.
Apart from these, the Ambition variant offers remote control with two foldable keys, remote control locking and unlocking of doors and boot lid and remote opening and closing of windows. Apart from all safety and security features of Ambition and Active, Rapid Elegance has a security code for the audio player.
Skoda Rapid Comfort and Convenience
As a value for money vehicle, Skoda Rapid car provides air conditioning, power windows, manual central locking, remote boot, remote fuel filler and rear defogger among the prominent comfort features. Some of the features that are common in all three variants are front centre armrest, height and length adjustable steering wheel and adjustable dual rear air conditioning vents on rear centre console.
Apart from these, all cars also bear dust and pollen filter, anti-pinch system front and rear electrically adjustable windows and tinted windows and windscreen. Centre reading lamps in the front, spot lights in the rear, 12 V power socket in the centre console and vanity mirror in front left sun visor are other standard features of the car.
The top end variant, Elegance, sports various features, like a unique ergolever for adjusting the front passenger seat from the rear and air conditioning with climate control. The Multi Function Display (MFD) assimilated in the high end Skoda Rapid cars shows details like distance travelled, average speed and average and immediate fuel consumption. Apart from these, this panel also displays, time, distance travelled before refuelling, travelling time, service interval and outside temperature.
Skoda Rapid Wheels
The first two variants of new Skoda Rapid, Active and Ambition, are fitted with wheels of 5.0J x 14 size and 175/70 R14 tyres. On the other hand, Elegance has 6.0J x 15 size wheels and 185/60 R15 tyres, which render excellent on-road grip to the vehicle, even in rainy condition.
Skoda Rapid Stereo and Accessories
In a decision that may put off buyers, Skoda Auto India assimilated a music system only in the top variant. The new Skoda Rapid Elegance sports a 2-DIN audio player with security code and large format display. The front and rear speakers deliver excellent sound, which enhances the driving experience of the passengers. Occupants can combine the vehicle with portable media players, SD/MMC data card reader via the auxiliary input. The other two variants, namely Skoda Rapid Active and Ambition, possess aftermarket audio preparation 1-DIN with cable and connector.
Skoda Rapid Dealers
Skoda has a wide dealership network in India, comprising 61 authorised dealerships throughout the nation. Buyers can avail Skoda Rapid cars from the following establishments:
| City || Dealership |
| New Delhi || Arshia Motors, Fahrenheit Automobiles Pvt. Ltd., Jai Auto |
| Mumbai || Autobahn Enterprises Private Limited, JMD Auto Private Limited |
| Bangalore || Tafe Access Limited, Vinayak Cars Pvt. Ltd. |
| Chennai || Gurudev Motors |
| Kolkata || Jia Auto Sales (P) Limited |
| Hyderabad || Mahavir Auto Diagnostics Private Limited |
Skoda Rapid Company Quotes
At the launch event of new Skoda Rapid, Thomas Kuehl, Member of the Board and Director of Sales and Marketing, Skoda Auto India was quoted as saying, “Skoda Auto India marks a crucial milestone in India with the launch of Rapid. We intend to strengthen our presence in the highly competitive C segment in the country with this launch. We are confident that this car will become the cornerstone for the Skoda brand in India. It's distinctly fresh, young, smart and clear-cut design makes Rapid a well-balanced car and therefore successfully fills the gap between Skoda Fabia and the current Laura.”
He continued, “The Rapid is positioned as a family car, compact enough for the city and spacious enough for longer trips. Our plans for the Rapid in India are fairly ambitious, given that we expect it to become the bestselling car in our model line-up in India, in the near future. We aim to penetrate in the competitive C segment and have an advantage over our competitors with our high quality design and unique features for the Indian market.”
Skoda Rapid Competitor Analysis
In entry level sedan segment of Indian auto industry, Skoda Rapid 2011 contends against its own sibling Volkswagen Vento. Along with that, it also competes with established models like Honda City, Hyundai Verna, Maruti Suzuki SX4, Tata Manza and Ford Fiesta. Despite close competition in the segment, the new Rapid should be able to find many takers in the domestic market.
Volkswagen Vento is touted as the biggest competition for Rapid as VW has been able to sell many units of the vehicle within a short time span. This car is available in two petrol and two diesel variants, which are powered by the same 1.6 L engines that are used in the new Rapid cars. The exterior appearance of the two cars is strikingly similar and the cabin has almost the same look, though Skoda added some of its trademark characteristics to discern the two vehicles. The key difference, which may play a role in attracting buyers, are pricing and performance, wherein Skoda takes the lead in the former while VW has the advantage in the latter.
Honda City, inarguably the most successful model in the segment, has become a favourite of those looking for a C+ sedan. Introduced in by Honda in the year 1998, Honda City is heavily appreciated for its aggressive appearance, opulent interiors and unparalleled on-road performance. Loaded with a 1497 cc engine that is propelled by i-VTEC technology, the new City has the capacity to deliver power output of 118 bhp at 6600 rpm, slightly more than Rapid.
Maruti Suzuki SX4, another close contender of Skoda Rapid, has emerged as the preferred choice of the target audience owing to the Maruti brand name and good performance. The entry level sedan from Maruti, SX4 renders excellent comfort, style and safety features to the buyers within a set budget. Anti-theft immobiliser, an illuminated key insert switch and all wheel drive system along with multi-point fuel injection (MPFI) ignition system are the highlights of this vehicle. Launched in 2007, Maruti Suzuki SX4 became the second Maruti Suzuki car to hit the international market after Swift.
New Verna Fluidic from Hyundai Motors India Limited (HMIL) is also pitted against Rapid cars. Hyundai’s fluidic design theme distinguishes this sedan from its competition and helps the Korean car maker in creating a niche for itself. It is available in several variants to cater to varied requirements of target segment, thus providing ample choice to buyers.
Skoda Rapid LPG/CNG version
There are no LPG/CNG variants of the Skoda Rapid car as of now.
Skoda Rapid Pros
By sharing the platform with VW, Skoda has come up with an excellent vehicle that provides an excellent entry level sedan to Indian buyers. Rapid shares the interior and exterior appearance with Vento, though its pricing puts the ball in its court. Availability of ample safety, security, comfort and convenience features at a decent price tag certainly work to advantage of the new Skoda Rapid. The optimum fuel efficiency, sufficient seating space, boot space and comfortable position of driver seat are some of the notable attributes of this vehicle.
Skoda Rapid Cons
Skoda's bad reputation for after sales service is one of the hurdles faced by new Rapid cars. Moreover, the cars will have to discern themselves from Vento, which already has made a place for itself among the buyers. Moreover, Volkswagen's product offers a better performance than Rapid, a fact that will be on the back of the mind of buyers.
Skoda Rapid Conclusion
Undoubtedly, Skoda Auto India has set the stage for increasing the market share by launching the new Rapid car. This vehicle has been appreciated for its stylish looks, powerful engines, decent performance and acceptable fuel economy. Though the car will have to face stiff competition in the market, it can be expected to make a distinct position for itself in the increasingly competitive Indian auto market with a number of features and decent price tag.