I researched for about a couple of months, test drove a dozen of cars before buying this one, since I wanted an automatic transmission, and DSG being the best technology option, I zeroed down on Skoda Rapid and Vento. Both the cars being same except for the brand name, I settled for Rapid AT as it was a lac rupees cheaper than Vento.
After driving Mahindra Scorpio M2DI for 8 years, this car feels like a breeze and the automatic DSG is pretty comfortable in bumper to bumper traffic and even when driving generally. Even on hills the downshifts on the decent seems like a fairly advanced feature. The kick down feature for instant surge of power and acceleration is a boon especially on the hills while overtaking on ascent. The shifts are pretty fast and you are always in power and obviously the higher torque always helps.
When driving at ease the car gives a mileage of 25 plus (Surprising though as even Skoda claims a maximum mileage of 21.66 kmpl). And even when you push it reasonably hard or drive fast uphill it gives a mileage of 16-18 kmpl on an average. City driving gives a similar 15 -17.
The car seems to be sluggish at low RPMs but once you hit the highway and reve to higher RPMs, this car changes its character altogether. The more you push her, the better she responds. I have personally taken it to 160 kmph and even at that point of time it was willing do much more. The best part is that you are always in control and you have sufficient power at your disposal to do more. Steering feedback is amazing and gives you a lot of confidence (I never took my Scorpio beyond 120 kmph)
Only problem with this car is the suspension. Stiff suspension setup is ok since it keeps you stable at high speeds but you really need to avoid bad roads (which you cannot do in Indian conditions). This car really cries on bad roads. I recently drove from Chandigarh to Corbett National Park near Nanital ? a drive of almost 1000 KM back and forth, the National highway performance was as expected excellent but unexpected bumps, pot holes and un- marked speed breakers on the UP State Highways did not inspire much confidence especially when your car does not handle them well. (Maybe I am reacting too much because I naturally compare with my old vehicle which happened to be an SUV)
The Skoda service guys seem pretty disciplined, I think Skoda has done their homework on this because their online reviews seem to be all over the place. The service staff always seems eager to please you and always keeps on stressing to provide a very positive feedback when you would get a review call from the HO post service. Very recently got a major part changed under warranty without any fuss.
To sum up, Skoda Rapid is a pretty decent overall package at the price point, it has a great engine and a good solid built. Has safety features such as ABS, EBD, Hydraulic Brake assist, Hill hold assist and Electronic Stability Control. If the suspension can be fine-tuned for bad Indian roads, this car has everything to make it the segment leader.
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