Ed’s take: The interiors of the City are stylish and trendy and yet they come loaded with several new features too.
If you think that the exteriors are similar to that of the outgoing version than the interiors are absolutely new. The three dials on the instrument cluster have a blue backlit dials that even change colour to green when you drive with a light foot. The City has a touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth and another segment-first is the touchscreen for climate control as well. The space on offer in the new City is good and it has large front row seats. There is sufficient legroom and headroom. It does feel almost like a D segment sedan than a C+. Crawl into the rear seats and the knee room it offers will amaze you. The knee room on the new City is increased by 70mm when compared to the outgoing version. To our dismay, the rear head room is a bit tight and even the headrest at the rear is fixed. The boot is also extremely spacious at 510 litres of space, but the access to the boot could have better as it a tad higher.
As the car is full of tech, we will also like to address that it also has four charging points— two in the front and two at the rear. The new three-spoke steering wheel also looks stylish and upmarket than the previous generation cars. The City also gets rear AC vents, which will help to cool the cabin faster in summers as well.
Ed's take: Build quality, touch and feel of the plastics on the Rapid are good and live upto Skoda’s brand expectations. The space is also sufficient in both the rows and even the boot is large. The only thing, we wish was added are the extra bells and whistles.
The interior is the place where you shall spend most of your time and hence the ergonomics and build-quality are important, not to forget the interior space. The instrument panel of the Rapid is ergonomically designed, backed with some good quality plastic. The cabin insulation is also good.
There are acres of space for the front row passengers in all the sedans, with large and comfortable seats that offer enough thigh and back support. Crawl into the rear seats and you realize that the Rapid has sufficient room there as well, though the seats aren’t very supportive. They feel a bit flat with not much thigh support. The Rapid even gets the convenience of adjusting the co-driver seat from the rear. The boot space is also good enough.
Active: This is the base variant of the Rapid that is available only with the manual versions of the petrol and diesel. It has manual central door locking, manual AC with adjustable rear AC vents, anti glare rear view mirrors, rear defogger, rough road package, engine immobilizer, front center armrest, tilt and telescopic adjustable steering wheel, and anti pinch system.
Ambition: The Ambition comes in petrol, diesel and also the automatic petrol version. It gets central door locking, ABS, front rear fog lamps and driver airbag are added in the model. Other add-ons include body colored ORVMs and door handles, remote control with foldable key, driver seat height adjuster and rear center armrest.
Elegance: This is the top of the line version of the Rapid and is also available with all the engine options. It comes loaded with all the brownies that the Rapid will possess. Front passenger airbags are also added. A security code for audio player, AUX ports for media player and memory card, automatic climate control, electrically adjustable mirrors, MID (Mobile Internet Device). Now, it even gets projector lamps, Bluetooth and USB connectivity too.
Ed's take: The engines on offer in the Honda City are brilliant and we like the peppiness of the petrol mill. This is one of the most powerful engines in the segment and also fuel-efficient.
1.5-litre petrol: The Honda City will be offered with two engines, one is the petrol and the second is the diesel. The petrol is the 1.5-litre i-VTEC that has propelled the previous generation too. The friction on the cylinder walls has been reduced, which means that the fuel efficiency has been bumped up. The engine now produces a power of 117bhp and 145Nm of peak torque. The power delivery is linear and the engine has sufficient torque throughout the rev range. The petrol is available with a five-speed manual and CVT box too. The CVT has paddle shifts and it has a five-speed set-up if you wish to use the paddles. The gear ratios will be the same like the five-speed manual to add-on to similar power. The CVT’s drivability is good when you accelerate gradually, it is only when you accelerate hard, the response isn’t that phenomenal.
1.5-litre diesel: Honda City finally gets a diesel, and it is the same 1.5-litre i-DTEC that powers the Amaze. However, this comes mated to a six-speed manual transmission instead of the regular five, as the torque spread is better and even the higher end. Honda has done what we expected it to. The i-DTEC oil burner already had sufficient power and torque for the City, just that it needed some mechanical advantage over the Amaze. The NVH levels of the diesel engine has been reduced with better dampening material. The power delivery is linear and the turbo kicks in at about 1800rpm. The power produced is good enough for driving in the city and even on the highway.
The Honda City is the most fuel-efficient car because the ARAI test cycle states that this sedan returns 26 km/l. This is also thanks to the six-speed transmission that helps the City to stretch its legs on the highway without affecting the fuel efficiency. The box is slick and even the throws are positive and short.
Ed's take: The 1.6-litre diesel engine of the Rapid is far superior to its petrol brethren in performance and fuel efficiency. The power delivery is linear and it is fun to drive in the city or the highway. We recommend the diesel version of the Rapid for its sheer pleasure and economy.
With the increasing cost of petrol and higher efficiency of oil burners, manufacturers are tuning petrol cars for better mileage over performance. Similar is the case with the Rapid. The 1.6-litre engine produces 103bhp at 5250rom and a peak torque of 153Nm at 3800rpm. This 1.6-litre petrol engine has a decent turn of pace; however do not expect them to be strenuous. The NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) levels are fairly low on the petrol version.
One needs to downshift them for quick overtaking manoeuvres, as most of the power is delivered at higher revs and you feel the lack at lower speeds.
5-speed manual: 3.5/5
The 5-speed manual transmission on the 1.6-litre is smooth and the shifts are also positive. This is one of the slickest shifting gearbox in its segment and it is joy to use as well. The Skoda Rapid returns a fuel economy of 15.42kmpl in its manual avatar as per the ARAI cycle.
6-speed automatic: 3/5
The Rapid also gets the option of a six-speed tiptronic self-shifting transmission. The shifts on the Rapid are lethargic and one can rightly say “the box does blunt the engine’s performance”. We wish the Rapid came with the DSGs, but that would have increased the cost of the car. As per the ARAI test, the Rapid returns a fuel economy of 14.4kmpl.
1.6-litre diesel: 4/5
The 1.6-litre diesel engine of the Rapid churns out a power of 103bhp at 4400rpm and a maximum torque of 250Nm at 1500-3000rpm. The NVH levels aren’t low, and there is a lot of diesel clatter on this engine.
This is oil burner is a stonker of a performer and it has deep reserves of torque at low rpm. Plant your right foot and the engine surges you forward. The diesel version of the Rapid outperforms the petrol Rapid not just in fuel economy but also in performance. The 5-speed manual transmission on the 1.6-litre diesel is a delight and the shifts are also positive. This is one of the slickest shifting gearbox in its segment. The oil burner powered Skoda Rapid returns a fuel economy of 20.54kmpl in its manual avatar as per the ARAI cycle.
Ed's take: The Honda City is a bit softer than before which means better ride, however it is a bit choppy on bad roads.
The handling of the City is good, and it carries forward the existing Honda’s fun to drive image. The steering wheel is also light and easy to drive in city. The steering response has been enhanced by changing the steering ratio and this has made it even better, as before it felt a bit vague especially around a corner.
The Honda City springs on McPherson at the front and Torsion Beam at the rear. The underpinnings are stiffer on the front, especially in the diesel due to the increased weight. The rear is soft, however it is wee bit softer than our expectations. As this was pre-production model maybe that is why the set-up was a bit too soft. The ride on smooth roads and even at high speeds is decent, and the ride at the rear is more pliant in the petrol.
Ed's take: The ride on the Rapid is a tad stiff, but most of the road shocks are filtered out. The Rapid lives up to the Skoda badge in the handling department. The well-balanced chassis of the Rapid makes it joy to drive around bends, and even the response from the steering wheel is good as it weighs up well.
These sedans are built for better comfort and hence ride quality on the sedans is pretty much sorted. These cars can go through the potholes with a muted thud and the suspension absorbs most of the jounces and rebounds, keeping the occupants intact. Skoda Rapid has a tad stiffer when compared to competition.
The chassis of the Skoda Rapid is well balanced and this sedan is capable of handling turns at a higher speed. You can push it around bends without a second-thought. The tyres on the Rapid squeal when pushed to their limit— despite the there being sufficient grip. The steering wheel of the Rapid is fantastic. It is exactly how a driving enthusiast would want.