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Skoda Rapid TDI driving experience

Discussion in 'Non FIAT Cars and two wheelers' started by gurjinder, Sep 11, 2012.

  1. gurjinder

    gurjinder Staff Member Janitor

    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.

    10 people like this.
  2. linealover

    linealover Regolare


    kudos-one of the honest review!!!

    ergonomics designed for "LONG ARMED SHORT LEGGED"Italians

    very new info like it starts with half crank,clutch engagement feel.

    Definitely,linea/punto brakes were designed by artist cum engineer.others cannot replicate.

    nikon and fiat has a connection.ask what?

    both has feel,both were designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro.
    2 people like this.
  3. could you also elaborate on the spatial qualities of the Rapid? i have not sat inside one yet.
  4. vijays777

    vijays777 Regolare

    Linea T-Jet
    I do accept to this review most of it , before buying linea i too test drive a rapid,
    its not comfy,petrol rapid has more lag , not a soft suspension mean to say in linea we may hear sound during pot holes but it will not filter inside cabin @ any situation. yeah diesel engine sound not doubt jee its a tractor engine only :) vento/rapid both same . in that case i can say linea is very very well tuned..
    Also when i was buying there were no goodies until rapid was launched ... but linea full equiped @ descent price,
    hope next linea is more equiped which makes us surprise more and also should market it clearly like skoda/vw do
  5. Five stars to the review Gurjinder,perhaps few photo's would have made the review even more appealing.

    Engine shake is there in Skoda Rapid but slightly less in Vento
    Regarding the Engine it must be VGT right? as it shares the same engine with Vento? some how having FGT in 13 lakh rupee OTR car is not passing the buying logic.it is about 2 lakh more than Linea top end in Bangalore.

    How was the clutch ,was it like butter smooth like Linea or harder like SX4?


    ---------- Post added at 09:39 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:16 AM ----------

    Another question is how are equipment levels compared to Linea.
  6. punto_emotion

    punto_emotion Esperto

    Grande Punto 1.3
    Thanks for the nice review!

    What I must admit is FIAT pampers its drivers in the areas of cornering stabily, precise steering feedback and SUPERB braking! On my recent long drive, couple of times got opportunity to test FIAT's braking and ABS. Once an unwarranted hump!! I was doing 100 kmph + easily and had to just slam the breaks at last moment. For a while thought gone! I will fly over the stupid hump! But boy-o-boy, Punto came to standstill without a fuss ! I wonder any other hatch could have done that! Next, while driving in village limits a group of notorious street dogs just came on the road fighting. This is the scene where ABS & precise FIAT steering helped me, could negotiate twists and turns and avoided hitting street dogs!

    No wonder why we FIATians are pampered to the core and other cars can never satisfy us :evilsmile
    1 person likes this.
  7. After reading the review I feel a properly reaped Linea will be able to atleast match if not better a VW 1.6 TDI spces.
    One of Tfi'n Bna has got the Dyno done on his Linea, I heard it as 106 BHP.
    Bna please confirm.
  8. amit

    amit Superiore

    Navi Mumbai
    This the biggest problem with Fiat's. The driving position takes weeks to get right and by then either the car goes for some service or repair and we are back to fiddling around desperately to get that position right! But, I have to say, once you get the position right, it is very comfortable - problem is you rarely get that perfect position.
    3 people like this.
  9. bna

    bna Novizio

    @ Sat-Chit-ananda

    Yup. Mine is remapped linea. So on the dyno it showed 107HP at the crank and around 92 Hp at the wheels.
    2 people like this.
  10. Thank Bna, I think you still owe a detailed thread:)

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