So, by some twist of fate, i got to drive the Rapid for quite an extended drive today over varied road conditions. Somewhere around 240 or so km's. And i thought i'll share the experience here. Forgive me if i compare the Rapid with the Linea as these comparisons kept popping up in my head during driving and writing this post. Let's start with the engine. Unlike some modern CRDI engines, the Multijet included, which can take quite a few turns of the starter motor before they start up, this VW engine starts up with around half a crank every time i started it. I like that and that's how engines should be. But then comes the noise. I simply fail to understand how a technological behemoth like VW could do such a thing. The noise is nothing short of agricultural and reminds me of the Bolero DI. It's like a slightly refined Bolero engine. Even when fully warmed up, the engine note does not change at all. Once you've got accustomed to the noise comes the very strange vibe/shake when you just stab the throttle pedal. The entire car almost rocks with the engine. I could easily reproduce this shaking with stabs at the throttle when idling. I'll reserve any further comment on this till i see another Rapid TDI doing this (If anyone or their friend/relative has a Rapid TDI, kindly try and reproduce the shake/vibe and let me know). The drivetrain and the engine on the road : The first gear is pretty much like the Linea's. Not much use apart from starting the car from a standstill. But from the second gear onwards, give the car the beans and it launches forward very strongly. Turbo lag is there but coupled with the strong torque on offer and the larger displacement of the engine, it's not really a deal breaker. It's easily liveable with, even though it's a FGT. Once on the roll, the engine revs freely and shows no signs of being the grumpy engine it was when idling. The 5th gear is taller than the Linea's , so on one hand you will feel that the engine is more relaxed when cruising (lower rev's), but on the downside you WILL need to downshift to make some quick passes, if you're doing something like 60kmph. In 5th gear at 2000rpm, the speed is 90kmph and you can keep it there with the engine feeling totally relaxed. Put the pedal to the metal and you will see the 1.6 TDI shine. It gathers pace very, very quickly. This brings me to the clutch, another sore point. The pedal travel is pretty much the same as Linea's. And that's where the similarities end. Where the Linea offers a very progressive engagement of the clutch , the Rapid is rather crude and you can pretty much feel the clutch jerking when it contacts the engine flywheel everytime. In the Linea, this has been controlled excellently. Although many will not even note this, but to me, it soured the experience somewhat. The suspension and the ride quality : The car does a great job at masking speed and you can sit at 100-120kmph all day long and not feel the speed. Bad roads are also dismissed quite nicely , but try and speed through the bumps and you will find the car feeling unsettled. This version had the 175/70 14 Aceleres and i feel the high profile played it's part in absorbing poor surfaces. Body roll is quite excessive and i tried a sweeping corner at 90kmph and did not like the feel the car gave. So, i cut down on any such adventures . All in all, it's a very capable cruiser, no doubts there. But don't take it to the twisties like you would a FIAT. The brakes deserve no special mention as they aren't special. They are a bit flat and lack bite especially when braking hard ( Or maybe FIAT has spoiled me. Linea eats up speed like Hulk). The steering is as lifeless as a rock. It is ultra light and though it does gain some weight at speeds, but remains lifeless. So no marks there. Ergonomics, interior etc Thanks to the steering being adjustable for both height and reach, i could very easily find a position with which i was comfortable. And once set, the driving position is easily better than the Linea. I've tried many combinations with the Linea but it's never perfect. Even the Palio has a better driving position. The seat has good back support but sorely lacks thigh support. The centre armrest does not bother gearchange / driving in any manner and that's something the Linea lacks as well. Now comes the interior "plastic quality". The quality of the "plastic" or whatever it is of the dashboard, door panels is pathetic. I was really disappointed by it. It has CHEAP written all over it. Being the lower end version , the steering wheel was the same material and felt cheap in hands. If the higher end model has leather wrapped steering (does it?), that would be better to hold. The switches, steering stalks in contrast are high quality items and appear to come straight out of some German sedan (VW). They feel built to last and are installed nicely. In the end, the Rapid is not a bad car. But Skoda should've refined the car up a bit more than it is at the moment. And also in the cost cutting game, they cut it a bit much in some areas which is not excusable in this segment and at this price. All in all, cars like the Rapid let us know what exactly FIAT did with the Linea. You can only appreciate perfection once you know what a flawed experience feels like. Give the Linea the 1.6 Multijet , slightly better ergonomics and it'll be perfect in every sense of the word. Cheers.