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 interiors of the Vento resemble that of the Polo, and at truly German. The rear seat knee room has been increased for the passengers, as the Vento will be more of a chauffeur driven vehicle.
Volkswagen have always been recognised for the extraordinary finesse that reflects from their work on the interiors of their creations, and that exceptional refinement is precisely what defines every minute detail of the cabin of Volkswagen Vento also. Be it the looks, the feel, the material quality or the fit and finish, everything about the seating area echoes the German expertise and contributes massively to making the ride pleasant and joyous for the occupants of Vento. Carved in a simple yet smart design, the interiors of this German sedan has been furnished with large, comfortable and ergonomically-contoured seats, both at the front as well as the rear end. While the seats provide excellent support for the thighs of the passengers, the larger wheelbase of the car facilitates more room for them to stretch their legs. Although the knee-room and head-room in the second row, just like the leg-room in the front row, is more than sufficient for an easy and fatigue-free ride, Vento comes with the option of adjusting the front seats from the second row itself to further enhance the knee-space.
Adding on to all these comfort features is the superb insulation that Volkswagen designers have effected in this car, imparting it with the feel of a bigger and more expensive ride. This, in combination with the telescopic steering column, which makes rake and reach adjustments possible, and the ergonomic positioning of the instrument console and control panel, makes Vento a fabulous car to travel in.
Trendline: Volkswagen Vento Trendline is the base-end variant of the sedan and carries the smallest, but in no ways unimpressive, pack of add-ons in the entire line-up. Starting from the driver's zone, here we can find power steering, low fuel warning light, adjustable steering column, tachometer and electronic multi-tripmeter besides a set of controls for remote trunk opener, rear parking sensors, rear fog lights and rear window defogger. On the convenience ground, Trendline packs up an AC/heater unit coupled to independent rear AC vents, front and rear power windows, rear seat headrest, front and rear cup holders, classy fabric upholstery, front- and rear-mounted speakers and power antenna. For safety purposes, meanwhile, this particular variant of Vento comes bearing central locking, halogen headlamps, rear seat belts, adjustable seats, engine immobilizer, airbags and centrally-mounted fuel tank.
Comfortline: One level above the Trendline stands the Comfortline version of Volkswagen Vento. Except for dropping the option of adjustable seats and substituting manually adjustable ORVMs with power-adjustable counterparts, Comfortline carries forward every trait of Trendline besides adding some of its own like rear seat centre armrest, outside temperature display, digital odometer, front fog lights, ABS, Auto Climate Control and a CD player/radio unit.
Highline: Next in line is the Highline variant, which replaces wheel covers with alloys and the fabric upholstery with leatherette for seats as well as steering. Plus, it also adds some extra perks in the form of automatic climate control, air quality control, multi-function steering wheel, ABS and driver and passenger airbags.
New Diesel Highline: The newer version of Diesel Highline brings with it some very interesting features and fitments including the likes of remote fuel lid opener, rear cabin light, height adjustable front seat belts, seat lumbar support, cigarette lighter, electric-folding RVM, rain sensing wiper and tinted glass apart from some additional safety mechanisms like Brake Assist, power door locks, child safety locks, anti-theft alarm, seat belt warning, door ajar warning, side and front impact beams, adjustable seats and key-less entry. But, at the same time, it also drops parking sensors and offers fabric instead of leather for the seats.
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 diesel is certainly the pick of the duo, not just for its efficiency, but even for its outright performance and drivability. Though the power ratings are similar, but the diesel engine’s performance more superior.
Volkswagen Vento, the beautiful sedan from the German auto-marque, comes in two engine options – a 1.6-litre petrol-mill and a 1.6-litre diesel engine. Out of the two, the oil-burner comes mated to a sole manual transmission system while the petrol variant gets to choose between manual and automatic transmissions.
Diesel 1.6-litre: To propel its diesel line-up, Volkswagen Vento employs a 1598cc 16V Common Rail diesel engine, which has evolved into its 4-cylinder self from the 3-cylinder make that drives the Polo group. Capable of cranking out a peak 104bhp at 4400rpm for a top torque of 250Nm generated over a range of 1500-2500rpm, this power-mill comes mated to a 5-speed manual transmission gearbox. Maintaining a linear power-delivery throughout the range, the engine ensures that overtaking remains easy in the city as well as on the highways and does not demand a downshift each time. The gearbox, on the other hand, makes sure that the gear-shifts continue to be smooth, slick and easy.
Although the oil-burner that works for Vento is excellent at its work, however, its NVH levels that range in the 'high' category come as a glitch in its otherwise spotless performance report. While the very start-up clatter is quite characteristic of a noisy diesel engine, even after warming up the noise, although gets reduced considerably, can still make its presence felt. As far as mileage is concerned, Volkswagen Vento Diesel returns a 17.25kmpl figure for the city roads and a 20.54kmpl for the highways.
Petrol 1.6-litre: The 1598cc 16-valve In-line petrol-feeder that works for Volkswagen Vento comes with two transmission options – manual and automatic. Engineered to churn out a maximum of 104bhp at 5250rpm for a peak torque of 153Nm pumped out at 3800rpm, this power-house, in its manual version, gets mated to a 5-speed gearbox while in the automatic version, a 6-speed transmission accompanies it in its workings. The manual transmission system that this mill shares with its diesel sibling performs equally well here, delivering smooth and slick shifts every time.
Petrol 1.2-litre automatic: The Vento also has a new engine, which is a 1.2-litre turbo petrol that produces 102bhp of power and it comes mated to a seven-speed dual clutch transmission. This is the new automatic transmission offering on the Vento and has been picked up from the Polo TSI. The power delivery is good and even the performance is better than the previous 1.6-litre automatic and it is more fuel-efficient too. This is also the first sedan to have a seven-speed automatic transmission and it will be double clutch. It returns about 11-12 km/l even when driving in city conditions.
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.
Ed's take: The ride of the Vento is a tad stiffer. This is done to improve the handling characteristics of the vehicle. The handling of the Vento is good and it carries the VW DNA.
Handling and drivability have never been a problem when it comes to Volkswagen cars and the same goes for Vento as well. Based on the Polo platform, this German sedan makes use of a McPherson Strut with Stabilizer bar for the front-end suspension whereas for the rear end, it employs a semi-independent trailing arm. Although, this suspension system does a good job of absorbing the potholes in the road, it still remains unable of keeping the occupants completely unaware of the bumps and slight jerks penetrate the cabin.
The ride gets better for the occupants of the second row, all thanks to the softer springs, thereby making Vento ideal for chauffeur-driven passengers. However, the overall ride experience continues to be on the stiff side, the benefit of which comes in handling, which gets much better than before. To assist in handling, Vento gets fitted with Apollo Aceleres, which supply a much superior grip on dry as well as wet roads. As for the electronic steering wheel, it is light and easy to use on a day-to-day basis. Driving-enthusiasts, however, would need some time to get used to it, but it's not difficult.