Rapid Rider is priced at Rs 7.49 lakh
Packs in a decent number of features, despite the low price
Pairs 110hp, 1.0-litre TSI turbo-petrol with a 6-speed manual
What is the Skoda Rapid Rider?
Updated for the BS6 era, the Skoda Rapid has ditched its punchy 1.5-litre diesel engine and ageing 1.6-litre MPI petrol unit in favour of a new-age 110hp, 1.0-litre TSI turbo-petrol (mated to a 6-speed manual). But it’s not the engine that’s the focus of this piece. It’s the Skoda sedan’s sticker price. The entry-level Rapid Rider variant is priced at a super competitive Rs 7.49 lakh (ex-showroom). That price makes it the most affordable Skoda on sale in the country, as well as the most affordable car from the Volkswagen Group with a TSI engine – more affordable than even the Volkswagen Polo TSI.
What features does the Rapid Rider get?
A look at the Rapid Rider’s price would have many presuming it skimps on far too many features, but that really isn’t the case. Sure, it doesn’t get many goodies – there are no alloy wheels, no touchscreen infotainment system and it only gets basic halogen headlights – but the Rider is by no means barebones. The Skoda Rapid Rider’s feature list includes automatic climate control, a 2-DIN music system with four speakers and Bluetooth connectivity, all four power windows with one-touch up/down operation, remote central locking, rear defogger, adjustable headrests front and rear, power-adjustable ORVMs, rake and reach adjust for the steering wheel, rear AC vents, centre armrests for the front and back, and full-wheel covers.
Safety kit includes two airbags, ABS, rear parking sensors and height-adjustable seatbelts up front. There is, however, one limitation – the Skoda Rapid Rider can only be had in Candy White or Carbon Steel.
What else can you get for the Skoda Rapid Rider’s price?
At Rs 7.49 lakh, the Rapid Rider unbelievably even undercuts the standard, entry-level Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSI by Rs 53,000, the Polo TSI Edition by Rs 40,000 and the entry-level Vento TSI – which it shares its underpinnings with – by a whopping Rs 1.36 lakh. The other midsize sedan that gets closest is the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz, but it starts at Rs 8.31 lakh – about Rs 82,000 more than the Rapid Rider. Prices of all of its other rivals – the current-gen Honda City, Hyundai Verna facelift and Toyota Yaris – start at least Rs 1.3 lakh higher.
At this price, though, buyers will have several other options that could be better suited to their needs. For those looking for a more sensible buy, this kind of money will get them a Maruti Suzuki Dzire ZXI or a Honda Amaze V MT. Both compact sedans offer more features (alloy wheels, power-folding ORVMs, steering-mounted controls and more), and each has something additional to offer – the Dzire features a touchscreen infotainment system and has a notably higher fuel efficiency figure of 23.26kpl compared to the Rapid Rider’s 18.97kpl, and the Amaze has a 420-litre boot, which comes close to matching the Rapid's 460 litres. Both compact sedans are significantly shorter than the Rapid, so they’ll fit easily into most parking spots, and will pleasantly surprise buyers with the amount of interior space they have to offer.
Buyers with little need for a large boot will find like-priced alternatives in hatchbacks like the Maruti Suzuki Baleno Alpha, Tata Altroz XZ, Toyota Glanza V and Hyundai’s Elite i20 Sportz+. As is the case with the compact sedans, the premium hatches, too, have more features to offer – all three are equipped with alloy wheels, touchscreen infotainment systems with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, voice commands, a reverse camera and auto headlights. The Altroz XZ even throws in a part-digital instrument cluster and cruise control, so for someone who wants a lot of features, a premium hatchback may come across as a more appealing buy.
Those who’d prefer to buy something with greater macho appeal and road presence could even look at buying a compact SUV for the same money as a Skoda Rapid Rider. However, it’s worth pointing out that Rs 7.49 lakh would only buy you a lower-spec version of the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza, Tata Nexon or the Hyundai Venue, all of which are light on features and aren’t the variants in high demand.
For those looking for a turbo-petrol car, Rs 21,000 more than the Rapid Rider’s price will get you a Hyundai Grand i10 Nios Turbo, which, being based on a higher-spec variant, packs in more goodies such as an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, wireless smartphone charging, alloy wheels, a reverse camera and more.
Should you buy the Skoda Rapid Rider?
Compared to the next variant in the line-up, the Ambition, the Rapid Rider costs a substantial Rs 2.50 lakh less without compromising on the basics. Skoda deserves applause for pricing the Rapid Rider this competitively – it is the most affordable turbo-petrol sedan on sale in India and promises great bang for the buck. Yes, there are more practical and better-equipped options on offer in the form of premium hatchbacks, compact sedans and even compact SUVs, but based on our first drive of the Polo 1.0 TSI, the Rapid Rider could turn out to be the most exciting car for the money.
Who said (reasonable) money can’t buy you happiness?
Do you think the Skoda Rapid Rider is a more appealing alternative to premium hatches, compact sedans and compact SUVs? Let us know in the comments.
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