New 2016 Skoda Rapid Facelift 1.5 Diesel DSG Review : Rejuvenated!

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Finally, the Skoda Rapid has received its well deserved update and now dons a new, contemporary look. The new treatment makes it look 2016 and a part of the, now ever more good-looking Skoda family. The Rapid has always been a handsome sedan, though it carried more than just a passing resemblance with the Fabia’s face. For this new version, the Rapid has not only dropped the Fabia face but also has got new added features to its list of goodies along with an updated diesel engine.

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With the scenic landscape of the foothills of the Himalayas as the backdrop we set out for our drive of the new Skoda Rapid from Dehradun airport to Mussorie. It was an almost 80 km drive climbing through twists and turns of the hills. The variant we drove was the top-end Style diesel powered Skoda Rapid that had all the fancy features and tech loaded up to its brim. Equipped with a capable diesel engine under the hood and a 7-speed DSG Automatic transmission we took off to the mountains. The feeling was reminiscent of our recent Ameo memories, and why wouldn’t it be, as the Rapid gets the same engine and gearbox combination.

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2016 Skoda Rapid Facelift Design

The refreshed face imparts a downtown feel to the new Rapid. Starting from the illumination setup up front, the curvy (unexciting) headlamp units are replaced with a much sharper and Vento-like module on either side. They call it the Quartz-cut headlights. They are decorated with chrome eyelashes and Jewel-shadow LED DRLs. While the top end trim gets the fancy projector lens tech and DRLs, the base and the mid level trim has to make do with halogen headlights. Between the lights is the newly designed radiator grille called the Butterfly grille that has become the signature of the brand’s latest offerings.

The multi slat grille gets a chrome outline, something like what we see on the Rapid’s elder siblings – Octavia and the Superb. The bumper has been redesigned with a wide air dam and relatively smaller foglamp on either side. The creases ornamenting the bonnet have been redone as well. The overall front beautification has really uplifted the game for the new Rapid in the looks department.

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The revised front fascia

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The bodywork on the side has received no changes, so the shoulder crease is the same; the whole run from the front fender to the rear wheel arch remains unchanged as well. However, the ORVMs get turn indicators and the door handles get a chrome garnish. The B pillar gets a Gloss Black decor. Also, unlike the 14inch rims on the base trim of the previous model the all the variants of the new Rapid will now ride on 15 inchers. The Active will get steel wheels and the Ambition and the top-end Style with get alloys.

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Coming to the rear, the Rapid gets a smoked outline on the tail illumination cluster. The boot lid gets a minimalist spoiler and is underlined by a chrome moulding. The rear bumper gets a subtle revision.

No radical changes have been made to the rear profile. We would have loved to see some alterations made there so the Rapid’s Vento-like rear could be better differentiated.

The Skoda Rapid is now available in six colour options – Cappucino Beige, Carbon Steel, Brilliant Silver, Candy White, Flash Red, and Silk Blue shared with the VW Ameo.

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2016 Skoda Rapid Facelift Interior

Get inside the new Rapid and much of the stuff is same as before, including the steering wheel, instrument cluster, controls, and ergonomics. Speaking of the differences, Skoda has pumped up the centre console with a 6.5 touchscreen infotainment system. It comes with Mirrorlink that allows you to connect your Smartphone with it via Bluetooth. The steering can be adjusted for both reach and rake. Rear AC vents have been fitted just behind the centre armrest for the convenience of the passengers sitting at the back.

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The new Rapid gets a cooled Glove box with a dedicated pocket for holding a pair of sunglasses. All four headrests are adjustable and the rear seats get a centre armrest as well. New additions include Rain sensing wipers, a feature that was brought to the affordable segments by the Ameo. There is an AmberGlow illumination for the driver and passenger footwell.

The dual tone, Ebony-Sand, interiors promote a more contrasting theme over the brown and beige combination on the previous model. The driver seat has manual adjustments. The new rear view mirror is equipped with auto dimming function and is anti glare but the placement of the unit is a bit odd. While seated on the driver’s seat, the mirror blocks a part of the vision, not by much though. Standard dual front airbags are up on offer. We also get anti-pinch power windows for front as well as rear.

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No fuss about the seats, they are all good and comfy. Every knob and button is in reach.  The armrest is a bit low and bothers when you have to pull up the handbrake lever.

2016 Skoda Rapid Facelift Engine

The new Skoda Rapid houses the updated 1.5-Litre TDI engine that was introduced in the Volkswagen Ameo. The first Rapid model was powered by a 1.6-litre TDi diesel and later the 1.5-Litre TDi was brought in. And now for better performance and efficiency the same 1.5 Litre has been tweaked to fire out more power. The updated powerplant now makes 110PS of power at 4,000 rpm while the torque has remained unchanged at 250Nm and kicks in between 1500 and 2500 rpm.

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Even if the muscle power is exactly the same as the Ameo, the 4 cylinder engine under the Rapid’s hood has to pull and move around 100 kilos more than the former. The diesel unit is strapped with a 7-Speed DSG Automatic transmission so we have Parking, Reverse, Neutral, Drive, and Sport mode. In the D mode, push the gear lever to the right and you can make manual shifts. Assisting the driver are features like standard ABS, Hill Hold Control (HHC), and ESC (for diesel automatic variant only).

2016 Skoda rapid Facelift Performance and Handling

The new 1.5 TDI is a capable diesel engine, as we have experienced on the Ameo. Twist the key (no push button start here), bring the Rapid to life and you are welcomed with some diesel rumble, which settles down quickly as the engine warms up. Inside the cabin, the insulation keeps the clatter out appreciably well. Dab the right pedal, and the engine feels responsive and energetic. With an uphill climb ahead of us, we couldn’t have asked for a better place to test the capability and convenience of this automatic diesel.

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We started off with the D mode engaged where the transmission is a little laid back, shifts early and is relatively relaxed in its quickness to swap ratios as well. Light and part throttle are handled well, and we found the Rapid to be utterly convenient to drive through the city streets of Dehradun before we started the climb. You might feel that the shifts are a smidgen slower if you stomp the pedal in D mode, but it works quite exceptionally well for the everyday, light footed driving style.

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Moving on to the high-speed highway sections while the D mode felt just fine, we subconsciously felt the need to get that extra punch and that wee bit extra alacrity from the transmission. In normal driving conditions, the D mode would shift up somewhere around the 2,500 – 3000 mark on the tacho, though all this time we felt this need to go higher up the engine speed before moving into a higher gear.

At this point, you have two options. You can either pull the driver selector all the way down and put it in S mode, where the shift points are moved higher up with the electronic brain maintaining higher engine speeds for a punchy throttle response and quick overtakes, or take matter in your own hands by dialing the manual mode.

Push the gear selector to the left and you can then select a higher of lower gear by moving the selector up or down. Both Manual and Sport mode transform the Rapid into an engaging machine. We enjoyed our way up swapping the two modes at will, with the engine tranny combo handling the car’s own weight and three aboard with elan, and titillating us with its performance along the way. For a mainstream family car, the rapid has what it takes to offer an appreciable level of performance without compromising on fuel efficiency. That 7 Speed DSG is a boon, and the combo is one of the most desirable among the crop of machines within the segment.

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On the hill climb, the Rapid performed exceptionally well. Most of the climb was executed in a comination of 2nd and 3rd gear due to the  uphill course and frequent bends and turns. It scaled through the twists without breaking a sweat. The well weighted steering was a joy to operate too with just the right amount of weight. It felt precise, while still managing to keep the jitters away from the palms. The ascent to Mussoorie was an interesting experience while the descent was even more fun!

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The suspension setup on the rapid has always been splendid, and it carries forth this USP without any change. The new Rapid offers a fine blend of great ride quality and poised handling when thrown around the bends. The broken patches of tarmac which abounded on the course, along with the winding nature of the drive helped us attest to the Rapid’s ride-handling ambidexterity without a spec of doubt. The setup here is slightly on the stiffer side to prevent body roll, but the fantastic damping keeps the jitters out. Potholes of a larger variety are converted into a muted thud, while those of a smaller demeanour are disposed with disdain.

Before you head to the verdict, here are some more details of the 2016 New Skoda Rapid Facelift through images and their captions!

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New 6.5 inch Drive Audio Player Central Infotainment System with MirrorLink Connectivity

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New 15 inch Matone Alloy Wheels with Apollo rubber

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Rear AC vent with a foldable up holder below it

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New Signature Butterfly front radiator grille

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C-Shaped Smoked outline around the taillights

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Chrome moulding on body painted exterior door handles

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Quartz-cut Projector Headlights with Jewel-Shadow LED Day Running Lights

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Card holder above the infotainment system

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Cruise Control

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Climatronic Automatic Air conditioning

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Cooled Glovebox compartment with dedicated sunglasses pocket

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Rain-sensing Wiper System

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Rear mounted LED stop light system

Verdict

With the introduction of the new updated Superb and Octavia, the Rapid was beginning to feel a little out of sync in terms of the brand’s design language. With the facelift and the new updated 1.5 TDi engine the new Skoda Rapid looks and feels significantly fresher than its forebear. While the available features on the car may exceed those offered by the competition on certain counts while falling short on some others, the engine-tranny combo on offer here is indisputably the best. We love that diesel engine, and it works exceptionally well in sync with that 7 speed DSG. That combo, along with Skoda’s dependable engineering makes the new Rapid one of the most comfortable as well as enjoyable cars within its segment.

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The claimed fuel efficiency of the diesel is at 21.72kmpl which is fantastic for an automatic – and there’s no compromise on performance whatsoever. So if a proper diesel automatic in the C-segment is what you are fishing for, taking a test drive of this one is absolutely indispensable.

2016 Skoda Rapid facelift Variants and Prices

The variant-wise prices of the new 2016 Skoda Rapid Facelift are as follows:

(All prices are ex-showroom Mumbai)

Petrol Manual
1.6 MPI ActiveINR 8,19,582
1.6 MPI AmbitionINR 9,09,696
1.6 MPI StyleINR 10,25,045
 

Petrol Automatic

1.6 MPI Ambition ATINR 10,19,723
1.6 MPI Style ATINR 11,25,170
 

Diesel Manual

1.5 TDI CR ActiveINR 9,39,733
1.5 TDI CR AmbitionINR 10,29,848
1.5 TDI CR StyleINR 11,45,195
 

Diesel Automatic

1.5 TDI CR Ambition ATINR 11,49,887
1.5 TDI CR Style ATINR 12,55,109

Specifications

TECHNICAL DESCRIPTION1.6 MPI/77 kW – MT1.6 MPI/77 kW – AT1.5 TDI CR/81 kW – MT1.5 TDI CR/81 kW – AT
Engine
Engine typepetrol engine, in-line, liquid cooling system, 16V DOHC, transverse in frontturbocharged diesel engine, in-line, liquid cooling system, high-pressure direct injection system, 16V DOHC, transverse in front
Cylinders4444
Displacement [cm3]15981498
Max. power/revs [kW(PS) at rpm]77(105)/5200 – 525081(110)/4000
Max. torque/revs [Nm at rpm]153/3750 – 3800250/1500-2500
Fuel consumption – rule 115 of CMVR [kmpl]15.41*14.84*21.13*21.72*
Transmission
Wheel driveFront wheel drive
Transmissionmanual 5-speed fully synchronizedautomatic 6-speed,  with Tiptronic manual gear changingmanual 5-speed fully synchronized7-Speed DSG, Automatic
Chassis
Front axleMcPherson suspension with lower triangular links and torsion stabiliser
Rear axlecompound link crank-axle
Braking systemhydraulic dual-diagonal circuit braking system vacuum assisted
Brake – frontdisc brakes with inner cooling, with single/piston floating caliper
Brake – reardrum brakes
Steering systemdirect rack and pinion steering with electro mechanic power steering
WheelsSteel wheel 6.0J x 15 (Active), Alloy wheel 6.0J x 15 (Ambition, Style)
Tyres185/60 R15 (Active, Ambition, Style)
Outside dimensions
Length [mm]4413
Width [mm]1699
Height [mm]1466
Wheel base [mm]2552
Ground clearance [mm]163
Inside dimensions
Storage capacity [l]460
Weights
Kerb weight [kg]1111-11371179-11871182-12101220-1228
Gross weight [kg]1680171017501770
Liquids
Tank capacity [l]55
Performance
Turning circle diameter [m]10.6

Here’s the image gallery of the new Skoda Rapid facelift, click the thumbnail to expand!

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