With stagnating sales, Skoda will be hoping that a refreshed Rapid can put it back in the game.
We have quite a few Volkswagen Group cars in this test – the Skoda Rapid, Skoda Yeti, and Superb; we should have had a couple of VW’s, but couldn’t get our hands on them; and a trio of Audi’s too. And there’s something about each of these cars – right from the Skoda Rapid – that just gives you a sense of engineering integrity.
You get into the Rapid, and you can tell that they’ve tried to build a relatively spacious sedan to a cost – but every component still has a certain quality standard. And once you get going, this sense is reinforced even more. The new 1.5-litre diesel engine replaces the 1.6, but the new motor feel far more refined with a more linear torque curve. The Rapid – like the refreshed Vento – now also offers a DSG as an option, which makes it one of the very few diesel-automatic sedans in its segment. And this could be quite a coup. And once you drive it that sense of engineering integrity is reinforced. While better steering feel would be nice, and steering mounted paddles would be even better, the driving experience is actually extremely competent – if not especially engaging.
The face-lift is quite limited, and only affects change on the lights, bumpers, and front grille – while the interiors do get a refresh as well. The interesting bit for car buyers, though, will be the option of being able to choose a good quality, well engineered and comfortable diesel-automatic sedan to commute in everyday if they so choose.
The Rapid could well put Skoda back in with a shout...