Back 2011 Skoda launched the Rapid Sedan and since then it has gone on to become the face of the Skoda brand in India. The sedan got a major facelift a few years back and now it’s back with an all new TSI heart thanks to the BS-6 norms. We drive the 2020 Skoda Rapid Monte Carlo to see what has actually changed with a new heart.
The exteriors of the 2020 Skoda Rapid remains the same and the car still looks smart and handsome. The Rapid was always ahead of its time and as a result it manages to still stay relevant with the new kids on the block. To start off the Rapid is now only available with one Petrol engine option. We have here with us the top of the line Monte Carlo trim that gets its special badging on the B Pillar, 16 inch wheels and a lip spoiler on the boot. The Rapid has always looked a smart sedan and even today the car looks very pleasing and stylish, not forgetting the heavy Skoda build quality that is so evident when you open or shut the doors, boot or the bonnet. The Rapid Monte Carlo in the Blood Red body color riding on the new design alloys looks strikingly sporty and premium.
On the inside the Skoda Rapid has always been of classic European Benchmark standards. Everything feels very solidly built using top class materials. Even though the Rapid feels a bit out of place in terms of features against the likes of the 2020 Hyundai Verna and the All New Honda City but it really shines where matters, be it the value proposition or its fun to drive factor.
Talking of the fun to drive factor The rapid in the Monte Carlo trim comes with a flat bottom steering wheel which comes wrapped in hand stitched perforated leather which provides the extra bit of satisfaction. The leather covered seats come with special racing stripes, Monte Carlo stitching and badging on them. The instrument cluster is the same and has always been very legible and pleasing to read especially with the typical Skoda styled digits. What comes in is the 7 inch touch-screen AVN unit which is basically an android tablet. The smart part on it that it is as good as having an extra mobile unit where you can access apps like YouTube Netflix also browsers In-short access all apps available on the android play store.
The only missing factor on this AVN infotainment system is that it does not come with Apple CarPlay connectivity. The second grouse that we have with the 2020 Skoda Rapid is the placement of the USB port that’s inside the glovebox to the extreme left corner. You need to stretch to your max to reach out to connect your phone and also after connecting you have to leave the phone inside the glovebox closing it and forgetting about the handset that’s getting charged inside. You also get sun blinds for the rear passengers on the Rapid Monte Carlo but since it can’t be rolled up and down with the window glass it becomes a bit inconvenient to use.
Coming to the place where you will be spending most of the time The front seats. The driver gets manual adjust for height while the front seats offer excellent support and comfort levels. The rear seating is also perfectly angled with good amount of leg space. The rear seats get adjustable twin headrests and foldable armrest along with rear AC vents and a 9V charging port. The Monte Carlo trim also comes with badged cushions to make you feel special.
Engine – Drive – Transmission
The biggest highlight on the 2020 Rapid is its all new heart. Due to the BS6 norms the earlier petrol and Diesel engines have been phased out and in comes the brand new 1 litre TSI petrol engine. This is a 3 cylinder unit which hits out 110ps of power and 175nm of torque. This engine comes mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. This is the latest BS6 engine from the Skoda Volkswagen family that is and would be powering many other models too.
This little engine is super silent at idle and feels highly refined when revved, you hear a nice sweet roar coming from the engine that is pleasing. The Clutch feels very light and the short throw gear shifter is joy to use. We fell in love using the flat bottom steering that’s is perfectly weighted and very lively.
This engine shines in all departments once you cross the 2500 RPM that’s when the turbo kicks in and the fun starts. The ride quality is easily among the best in class with the Rapid gliding over the pot holes and wet monsoon patches that we put it on. The cabin feels very well insulated and the drive feel is top class, very premium feeling.
The Skoda Rapid was always an over engineered car that has stood the test of time all these years. Now with the all new 1.0L TSI engine the Rapid gets a new lease of life. The car feels very premium and is a lot fun to drive. The biggest USP for the 2020 Skoda Rapid is its starting price that of Rs. 7.99 Lakh for the entry level Rapid Rider Plus while the top end Rapid Monte Carlo comes in at Rs. 11.79 Lakh making it as affordable as a Compact sedan or a Compact SUV or even some premium hatchbacks. If you want a cost effective proper 3 box sedan don’t look elsewhere go get the 2020 Skoda Rapid.
Review – Ritesh Madhok
Photography & Video – Govind Gadekar