Skoda Auto India seem to have caught on the latchet of its parent company Volkswagen. Though VW dissuades all its sister concerns to follow its designing themes or stuff, eventually each and every product from its sister concern turns out to be a competition. Classic examples would be the VW Polo and the Skoda Fabia. Though Skoda as also the Fabia came in to India much before VW could, its eventually the Polo which is garnering all the attention and cash registers ringing for VW. Moreover, the Skoda Fabia isn’t a driver’s car as projected by some while the Polo is all a driver’s car. In between, VW extended the body of the Polo and brought in the Vento and met with the same success that Maruti met with the Swift and Dzire combination. Now, there are waiting periods for both the diesel Vento as also the Polo. Now, Skoda has thought of a strange thing and that is building a sedan from its Fabia hatch. Initial estimates say that the sedan would be named as Rapid. So, here is a preview of the Skoda Rapid in India and what all features it is expected to carry.
As for the looks, while the Vento looks exactly like the Volkswagen Polo, the Rapid would be a bit different than the Fabia. Infact, it would be a mini Laura in its looks. The Octavia wouldn’t be replaced and the Rapid would be Skoda’s answer to the Rs 5-8 lakhs sedan market. The grille would be in line with Skoda’s new design theme while the fog lamps would be bigger or similar to the one in the Superb. 15 inch wheels, as is the case of the Vento would be present. The car would definitely be distinguishable as the Rapid unlike the case where one cannot tell apart the Vento from the Polo, bang on. The rear would also carry a much polished job, similar to the likes of the Vento.
For the interiors, it is said that Skoda would introduce a start stop button, which would actually be to counter the one in the upcoming Nissan Sunny. Rest of the stuff would be carried over from the Fabia including seating position in the front, meter dials, HVAC and the likes. Considering that it would be a build to price sedan, it would not feature electrically controlled outside rear view mirrors, or electrical adjustment for the seats. What would be commendable is the build quality of this car. The rear leg room which is also good in the Vento, would be even more spacious here. Boot space is also said to be very good. No rear AC vents though here. Upholstery and equipment is yet to be decided by Skoda Auto. However, no climate control would feature into the equation. If allowed, steering mounted controls may just find their way onto the Skoda Rapid in India.
For the ride and handling package, it would be similar to what the hatch achieves and this means a good ride quality and neutral handling. NVH would be nicely damped, though, we personally feel that Skoda do a very nice job of the NVH thing as compared with VW. Steering feel would be the same as the Fabia. Heavy localization would however lower costs down and since both the Fabia and Rapid would be rolled out from the same assembly line, costs are expected to be kept down.
Regarding engine choice, there is a unanimous thing in the air that the Rapid would share the engines with the Vento, just like the Fabia does with the Polo. This means a 1.6 liter petrol engine producing 106 Bhp of power and 153 Nm of torque. The diesel on the other hand is a 1.6 liter unit producing 104 Bhp of power and 250 Nm of torque. A 5 speed manual is what gives both of these engines company. It is highly unlikely that Skoda would offer the Rapid with the 6 speed triptronic option from the Volkswagen Vento. The Rapid’s performance would come up for discussion once the model sees the daylight. Fuel efficiency would be a tad lower from the Vento, as is the case of the Polo and Fabia. This can be attributed to the heavy kerb weight of the Rapid. Braking aids would definitely be present in the form of ABS and EBD. Safety would be the usual fare of 2 airbags in the front unless Skoda plans to pull a hare out of its hat.
The Skoda Rapid price in India would start from Rs 5.5 lakhs and end at Rs 6.8 lakhs. This is an estimate and the exact pricing would only be revealed earliest by October 2011 or at the 2012 Auto Expo. This is one eagerly awaited product from Skoda.