Skoda Rapid

    The Rapid is a VW Vento under the skin. So how different is it?

    Published on Dec 05, 2011 05:50:00 PM


    The cabin, like the exterior, is derived from the Vento with plenty of Skoda overtones. The basic architecture of the dash is the Vento’s and the simple layout, slender central console and the large glove-box with the poor-fitting lid are all shared. Also carried over unaltered from the VW are the headlight switch, climate control, and the low quality air-con vents that, as we’ve found, have a tendency to break easily. And the seats are identical too. The front seats have good bolstering and thigh support, making them comfortable on long drives, the steering can be adjusted for height and reach and the driver’s seat can be raised and lowered too. So finding a good driving position is easy. The Rapid however comes

    with slightly coarser seat fabric and some missing chrome highlights, such as the ones found around the VW’s vents.

    There are plenty of Skoda parts on the inside though, and these change the character of the cabin quite a bit. Skoda’s chrome-lined steering wheel looks and feels good, the gearlever is similar to the one on the Fabia, the instrument panel comes from the Czech Republic rather than Germany and there is a Skoda audio system as well. Unlike VW, which uses a deep shade of brown, Skoda uses black for all these bits and that does cause some amount of dissonance in the cabin. Still, if you are not familiar with the Vento, you’ll find that these Skoda parts actually blend surprisingly well. Except for the gearlever, which looks like the chrome has been added as an afterthought.

    With its extended wheelbase and additional width, the rear seat of the Rapid is also a good place to be. There’s plenty of legroom, the seat is wide and you get a nice airy feel when sitting in the rear. And the seat is reasonably comfortable too. You climb out feeling fresh even after a long drive and this is also true if you are tall. But it could have been nicer. You sit a bit low, the backrest is a bit vertical and there is that huge tunnel in the centre of the cabin, which makes it difficult to get in and out if you are the third passenger in the back. Still, like the Vento, you get the large rear air-con vent and that clever lever that allows you to push the front passenger seat forward.

    The Rapid is sold in three variants — Active, Ambition and Elegance. The Active gets body-coloured bumpers, central locking, power windows and air-conditioning. The Ambition adds ABS, driver airbag, remote locking and driver’s seat height adjustment. The Elegance, the one you see here, has alloy wheels, climate control, a CD player with aux-in, electrically adjustable mirrors and a front passenger airbag. 



    Skoda Cars

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