Now gets an internationally acclaimed turbo-petrol engine and a 6-speed manual.
An outcome of a strategic badge engineering exercise between Volkswagen and Skoda back in 2011, the Rapid quickly established itself as a solid, practical midsize sedan that was nice to drive and came with quality interiors. But while the competition underwent generation changes that ensued over the years, the Rapid got a cosmetic makeover in 2016, which has been carried forward on this 2020 version as well. Still, the Rapid soldiered along, despite the competition, thanks to the ace up its sleeve – its strong diesel engine. Now, with new emission norms coming into play, the older petrol and diesel engines have made way for a leaner and a more modern 1.0-litre turbo-petrol engine and a new 6-speed manual transmission (the sole configuration on offer); an automatic will join the range in a few months. How does this small engine perform in this midsize sedan? Can it match up to its competitors with large displacement engines? We put it through our full-blown test to find out.
Cabin has a solid build and a very functional design but now feels dated.
Bearing minimal styling elements and an uncluttered design, the 2020 Rapid looks identical to the previous version, but it has aged so well, it still appears relatively fresh and modern. Like the exteriors, the interiors remain unchanged too, with a neat layout, boasting a solid build and some high quality materials. The minimalistic styling appears a bit drab compared to more modern rivals, but the black theme and red accents of this Monte Carlo variant livens things up a bit. The flat-bottomed steering wrapped in perforated leather looks racy and feels superb to hold. Other new inclusions are the seat upholstery and the 8.0-inch infotainment system, both of which look like aftermarket accessories (more on the infotainment’s functioning in a bit). Seat comfort is very good. The Rapid, however, isn’t as roomy as the Honda City or the Maruti Ciaz, and a third passenger at the rear will feel unwelcome due to the seat’s narrow width and large central tunnel; the latter isn’t a transmission tunnel, contrary to common perception, it is an element which adds torsional rigidity to the structure.