It’s not a new sight this Skoda Rapid; it’s been around for nearly a decade, receiving few upgrades from time to time. But it’s a different story this time, Skoda has equipped the Rapid with a younger, more energetic and athletic heart – an all-new 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged unit with direct injection, pumping in a fresh new breath of life into this saloon. The engine combined with the new six-speed manual transmission add so much rapidness to this package, trust me this is more addictive than your morning coffee!
Now don’t go around looking around for any cosmetic changes, there aren’t any. As a matter of fact, I’m a little disappointed to see no TSI badging on it – such a great engine deserves some credits. Nevertheless, the Flash Red colour with the contrasting black treatment does screams attention and that’s not a bad thing for a fast German sedan. It’s aged really well and although it doesn’t wear a grille as big as its door, I reckon it still looks acceptable and relevant in today’s day and time thanks to those neat and crisp design lines.
The interiors are a familiar sight as well – solid German build quality with excellent fit and finish. There’s this new eight-inch infotainment system on offer that’s basically an Android tablet hidden behind this sturdy German plastic. I really wish Skoda has offered at least one USB port in the central console, there’s one hidden in the glovebox and that gets annoyingly difficult to use. The new upholstery matches the Rapid’s flamboyant exteriors and is further complimented by the red-stitching on this new flat-bottom leather-wrapped steering wheel, all adding up to create this occasion of driving enthusiastically.
And when you do step on the gas, the heavily damped suspension setup keeps up just fine. Steering feedback could be termed best in class and while the engine does feel sluggish under the 2,000rpm mark, it really comes to life past that and likes being revved beyond. It’s a rev-happy motor that changes it’s tone from being raspy at idle to being extremely grunty as the boost builds up. Keep the turbo spooled while you upshift and this thing just flies – some would hardly even believe that it’s a one-litre three-cylinder engine!
Yes, the interiors are outdated, yes it doesn’t have a sunroof and yes, there isn’t Apple Car Play and Android Auto. The rear seats aren’t the biggest and neither are its overall dimensions. But the Rapid is much more than having a long list of features on its brochure; it’s an accessible, economical and fun car that really lets you enjoy driving and for some, that’s everything a car is supposed to do! Show it a good set of roads, extract the most ponies from the turbocharged 1.0-litre TSI engine and trust me, the Rapid will put on a wide grin on your face just like that. It’s a total hoot, and we absolutely adore it.
Engine: 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol with direct injection
Transmission: Six-speed manual transmission
Fuel tank: 55 litres
Boot space: 460 litres
Tyres: 195/55 R16
Prices: Rs 7.49 lakh onwards (ex-showroom)