Does the Skoda Rapid diesel stand a chance against the Hyundai Verna diesel?

The Hyundai Verna is the current sales leader among sedans in the Rs. 7 lakh to Rs. 10 lakh category and for good reason. The car offers fantastic value for money as most variants of the Verna are loaded with features and are good performers too. Obviously, the diesel variants are most-wanted, with frequent petrol price hikes in the last few months. Here, we compare the diesel variants of both Rapid and Verna and tell you which one is is the better car.

The Skoda Rapid, which for most part shares its mechanicals with the Volkswagen Vento, is now the latest entrant into the mid-size segment. The Rapid is slightly cheaper than the Hyundai Verna, variant for variant, and offers a decent mix of comfort, performance and handling.

verna vs rapid comparison

The Hyundai Verna has 10 variants, with four engine choices (1.4 litre petrol, 1.6 litre petrol and 1.4 litre diesel and 1.6 litre diesel), as well as an automatic option each on the petrol and diesel. The Rapid has eight variants, with two engine choices a petrol and a diesel. Overall, if you had a budget of Rs. 8 lakh to Rs. 10 lakh for a good diesel sedan, which one is a better pick?

Driving and handling

The 1.6 litre CRDi Hyundai Verna has a clear advantage in terms of power specifications over the Rapid. The Verna’s 1.6 litre diesel engine puts out 126 bhp at 4,000 rpm and 265 Nm of torque between 1900 to 2750 rpm. The 1.4-litre variant of the Verna diesel that’s available only as a base variant puts out 89 bhp of power and 220 Nm of torque. Both these engines are mated to a six-speed manual transmission, while the top-end Verna also has an option of a 4-speed automatic. Also see: Skoda Rapid diesel road test

skoda rapid diesel road test photo

In the 1.6 Verna, there’s a bit of turbo lag initially, but after you cross 1800 rpm the car pulls ahead eagerly. In a straight line, the Verna is clearly much better than the Rapid. However, when it comes to handling, the Verna gets a bit iffy. When thrown into corners the Verna tends to pitch quite a bit. Steering feedback too is not very direct and feels a bit disconnected. Also read: Hyundai Verna diesel road test

The Skoda Rapid has a 1.6 litre diesel engine that puts out 104 bhp of power at 4,400 rpm and 250 Nm of torque at 1500-2500 rpm. There’s a distinct kick in its acceleration that you can feel pushing you back in your seat as the car crosses 2000 rpm. The electronic steering weighs up nicely and the car feels quite planted around corners, with its slightly stiffer suspension set up.

If you’re looking for outright speed and pick up, the Verna is faster than the Rapid. But in terms of handling the Rapid feels better than the Verna.

Space and comfort

In terms of interior space the Hyundai Verna and the Rapid offer good comfort on the interiors. Luggage space too is more or less similar with the Verna offering a 454 litre boot and the Rapid a 460 litre boot. Both cars are rather low slung, which means you have to sink into them. In the Verna the rear seat could do with better under-thigh support.

skoda rapid diesel interior photo
Photo: The Skoda rapid's interior is a familiar blend of Skoda and Volkswagen styles

However, the Verna’s rear seat can seat three people in better comfort than the Rapid can, as the latter has a larger transmission tunnel intrusion than the Verna. But if you’re looking for a chauffeur driven car, the Rapid has a better rear seat for two passengers. The Rapid also has a slightly stiffer suspension, which is great for handling, but can unsettle passengers over rough patches. The Verna has a softer setup than the Rapid and absorbs bumps quite well.

hyundai verna interiors photo
Photo: The black and beige interior of the Verna is plush

In terms of overall space and comfort, the Verna has a small advantage over the Rapid in terms of ride comfort, but the Rapid has a better rear seat.

Looks

When it comes to looks, the Rapid and the Verna cater to completely different tastes. The Rapid has a traditional Fabia front-end, typical of Skoda design language, while the profile of the car is identical to the Volkswagen Vento, on whose platform it has been based. Even at the rear, only the tail-lamps and a small change to the boot lid differentiate it from the Vento.

The Hyundai Verna, on the other hand, has taken a radical stand on styling. Its sharp curves and cuts all around the body make it look far more sporty that the rather staid Rapid. It depends on what you’re looking for in a car – do you want a car with flair or prefer a car that’s straightforward and blends in with the crowd?

If you want to blend in, the Rapid offers the perfect camouflage. But if you want to be noticed, the Hyundai Verna has the right curves for it.

Features

When it comes to features the Hyundai Verna completely eclipses the Rapid, except in a couple of key areas.  The Hyundai Verna is loaded with gizmos in the top-end model – six airbags, power-fold mirrors, Bluetooth phone control, steering audio controls, USB, Aux-in music system, rear-view camera, parking sensors are some of the things the Verna has that the Rapid doesn’t.

But there are two interesting features that figure in all variants of the Rapid – the Ergo lever, which makes it easy for the rear-seat passenger to adjust legroom by moving the front passenger seat forward and adjustable rear-AC vents which clearly increase the comfort factor for rear-seat passengers.  So, if you’re car is going to be chauffeur driven you would probably value these features.

Otherwise, the Hyundai Verna is clearly much better than the Skoda Rapid when it comes to features.

Price, mileage and overall value for money

The Skoda Rapid is priced slightly lower than the Hyundai Verna. The base variant of the Skoda Rapid diesel is priced at Rs. 7.95 lakh, ex-showroom Delhi, while the top-end variant of the Rapid is priced at Rs. 9.19 lakh. The Hyundai Verna diesel with the 1.4 litre engine (base variant) is priced at Rs. 8.09 lakh ex-showroom Delhi, while the top-end Hyundai Verna 1.6 SXO CRDi is priced at Rs. 10.05 lakh for the manual transmission, while the diesel is priced at Rs. 10.75 lakh.

If you take the variant of the Verna that has only two airbags – the 1.6 CRDI SX, it’s priced just Rs. 15,000 more than the Rapid. Going by the number of features that the Verna offers, it’s clearly much better value for money than the Rapid.

In terms of mileage as well, the Hyundai Verna has a higher claimed mileage figure than the Rapid. The Verna 1.6 diesel has a claimed mileage of 22.5 kmpl, while the Rapid has a claimed figure of just over 20 kmpl. In real world conditions, the Verna gives about 16 kmpl in city conditions, and the figures are similar for the Rapid.

Overall, in terms of value for money and mileage, the Verna is better than the Rapid.

Pros and Cons

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Verdict

Overall, the Hyundai Verna offers more value for money, has more attention-grabbing looks and a more powerful engine. It’s also loaded with features and is a car that really makes sense if you’re going to be driving a lot. The Skoda Rapid, however, may make a good choice as a chauffeur driven car as it has a more comfortable back seat (if only two people are sitting at the rear), and also has rear AC vents. It also has a more traditional styling that may appeal to slightly older buyers.

We think the Hyundai Verna diesel is still the strongest in this segment and the Rapid, though it’s a well-built car, can’t really match up on all counts.

Tech Specs comparison

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