On the 25th of September, 2014, Skoda India will add more zing to its best selling car in India, the Rapid C-Segment sedan. The car will receive minor stylistic updates and major mechanical changes, giving it enough ammunition to keep buyers interested until a more comprehensively facelifted Rapid arrives a year down the line.
In terms of cosmetic changes, Skoda will offer a Black Edition kit for the Rapid sedan, at a cost of about 20,000 rupees. This kit will be offered only with the Elegance trims of the car, and will involve black finish for the front grille, smoked projector headlamps, alloy wheels, wing mirror housings and roof. Interiors will remain unchanged though.
In terms of mechanical changes, the Rapid Facelift will gain a 1.5 liter-4 cylinder TDI turbo diesel engine that outputs 103 Bhp-250 Nm, and a 7 speed DQ200 DSG dual clutch automatic gearbox. These mechanical changes will make the Rapid Diesel Automatic the most technologically advanced car in its class when it comes to the powertrain on offer.
However, these changes on the Rapid are confusing to say the least, considering the fact that the Volkswagen group is aiming for higher differentiation between its badge engineered models, in this case the Vento and the Rapid. Since the Vento also gains the 1.5 TDI-Dual Clutch gearbox, offering similar options on the Rapid will make both cars more identical than ever before.
At this point, it would be worthwhile remembering that Skoda did not offer the 1.2 TSI turbo petrol-7 Speed automatic gearbox option on the Rapid even though Volkswagen offered this combination on the Vento, in order to maintain a clear demarcation between the two C-Segment sedans. This sense of differentiation will be undone with the Rapid Diesel Automatic. Enthusiasts though, have every reason to rejoice, as the Rapid Diesel Automatic will be priced lower than the Vento DSG.
Talking prices, the facelifted Rapid Facelift’s diesel automatic variant is expected to be priced a lakh rupees higher than the equivalent, manual gearbox equipped variant. The addition of the DQ200 dual clutch automatic gearbox will come as a slight disappointment to enthusiasts who seek to modify the car for extracting more performance. Remaps and tuning boxes will strictly be out of bounds as far as the Rapid Diesel Automatic is concerned, given the fact that the DQ200 gearbox is limited to a peak torque handling capacity of 250 Nm.
The Rapid 1.5 TDI, with its 250 Nm torque output, it right at the limit of what the DQ200 gearbox can take. The gearbox has been plagued with gremlins around the world, which prompted the Volkswagen group to issues apologies, and in many cases, extended warranties. In India, the Volkswagen group changed the oil specification for the DSG dual clutch gearbox, from synthetic to mineral, which is said to have resolved issues with the gearbox. All said, stay away from remaps and tuning boxes on the Rapid Diesel Automatic.
Image courtesy Motoroids