Skoda has just given its best-selling car in India a key safety upgrade. The top-end Rapid sedan is now available with 4 airbags. The two additional curtain airbags – supplement the driver and passenger airbags – and offer better crash protection to the driver and front passenger. However, for the airbags to be effective, the occupants of the car must ensure that they wear seatbelts.
The additional airbags are available in the top-end style variant of the car, which gets petrol and diesel engine options. The petrol powered Rapid Style starts from Rs. 10.61 lakhs while the diesel powered one starts from Rs. 12.42 lakhs, ex-showroom Delhi.
The petrol powered Rapid uses a 1.6 liter, non-turbocharged engine that produces 105 Bhp of peak power and 153 Nm of peak torque. Two transmission options are on offer – a 5 speed manual and a 6 speed torque converter automatic.
The diesel engine displaces 1.5 liters and is turbocharged. It produces 108 Bhp of peak power and 250 Nm of peak torque. A 5 speed manual gearbox and a 7 speed twin clutch automatic gearbox are the two transmission options on offer. The Rapid is a badge engineered version of the Volkswagen sedan, and is priced slightly cheaper.
The car is more involving to drive than the Vento making it a top choice for driving enthusiasts. It is solidly built, safe and has good comfort levels. The downside of the car includes high (higher than the competition) maintenance costs, indifferent after sales service and poor resale value.
Competition for the Rapid comes from the Volkswagen Vento, the Honda City, the Maruti Ciaz and the Hyundai Verna. Skoda will replace the Rapid only in 2020 or beyond. The new car will use the MQB A0 platform, re-engineered to suit low cost car markets such as India and Brazil. Until then, the car will continue to be sold with minor feature addition and stylistic changes.