Skoda India will update its best selling car, the Rapid sedan, with a new turbo diesel engine in the form of the 1.5 liter-4 cylinder TDI motor, on the 25th of September. The Volkswagen Vento sedan, upon which the Rapid is badge engineered, will receive a mild facelift and the new 1.5 liter TDI diesel engine a day earlier, on the 24th.
The 1.5 liter TDI motor on the Rapid will feature state of tune that is similar to that on the Vento, with peak power rated at 103 Bhp and peak torque rated at 250 Nm. A five speed manual gearbox will be standard with this engine. The Rapid will also be offered with a 1.6 liter MPI (103 Bhp-153 Nm), naturally aspirated petrol engine.
While Volkswagen will offer a 6 speed DSG dual clutch automatic gearbox on the Vento Diesel Facelift, we don’t see Skoda doing the same with the Rapid Diesel given the fact that both companies are working towards greater differentiation of their brand engineered offerings.
In this light, the Rapid Diesel is likely to be positioned as a budget sedan alternate under the Volkswagen group umbrella, with Skoda cars continuing to be pegged a notch below equivalent Volkswagen cars. Expect the Rapid Diesel 1.5 TDI to start off with a strong price tag as the engine will be produced in India, at Volkswagen’s Chakan factory, from the end of this year.
Apart from the new 1.5 liter TDI turbo diesel engine, the Rapid sedan is expected to gain updated interiors and mild detailing changes on the outside. Something akin to the Rapid Black Edition that was recently launched in the UK market could be on the cards for the Indian Rapid as well.
A more comprehensive facelift for the Rapid sedan will come sometime in late 2015 or early 2016, with the car’s top hat showing significant changes that differentiate it from the Vento sedan. The facelifted Rapid sedan will continue to be Skoda India’s entry level product here, what with the brand saying no to the 2015 Fabia hatchback’s India launch.