It all started when grandfather visits to hospital increased. Tiago being occupied by sister for her college runs, a car was needed at home in 'emergency' situations. We had sold our Manza due to lack of airbags and after Tiago purchase it wasn't much driven. Having owned some boring cars (Read: not FTD) in past, I needed dad to enjoy driving, so one more point was added in our requirements list.
With this in mind, I had my requirements sorted out:
- Good on safety
- Fun To Drive (FTD)
- Value For Money (VFM)
Nice to-have list:
- Feature loaded
- Automatic transmission
With safety and FTD, I started with Germans. Test drove the VW Ameo DSG and instantly fell in love with it. We were going to close the deal but later thought that we might go for road trip, so boot space and good legroom were needed.
So now we were looking for cars in C2 segment. Cars we checked:
- Maruti Ciaz:
With Ciaz shifting from regular Maruti dealers to Nexa showroom, it was selling with some delicious discount, ZDI+ variant was even less than Ameo Highline DSG .
Dad did not like the looks of the car, plus the 1.3L fiat sourced multijet engine performance wasn't up to the mark, so it was rejected
- Honda City:
Drove the diesel one, with reliability in it favour and long list of feature and best rear seat (in this segment IMHO) it was a serious contender. But then the pricing played a spoil-sport.
- Honda WR-V:
This being the latest block on sub-4m crossover (or beefed-up hatchback), ticked most of the boxes. But the weird rear styling, puny rear- headrest and long waiting period, we had to reject it.
- VW Vento:
Had considered both TSi and TDi both mated to DSG. We rejected it without TD as pricing played a negative role. At price of Highline TSi DSG, we were getting top variant of Skoda Rapid TDI DSG and Vento TDi DSG was just 2 lakhs more than it which I wasn't able to digest.
- Skoda Rapid:
TD it twice and both time it never failed us to impress us. With GST around the corner we were getting so good deals which made price sweeter. This made to the final list but we were stuck in dilemma (more on this later)
Have to admit that Tata have spoiled us with the amount of features it has, so our expectation increased, we now were planning to top variant, Style. The difference between Style and Style LE were soft-touch boot opening, reverse camera and 16" alloys (instead of 15" boring alloys), but price difference was pretty steep at 40K. Discussion with dad made us finalize Style LE.
Now comes the dilemma of which engine option to choose from. As the car was needed only for emergency and occasional inter-state trips, our first preference was MPi AT (Petrol), TD it once and there was nothing excited about this engine and GB, it was just a fuel guzzler which at end of sedate TD showed 3.9 kmpl! But it being 2+ lakhs cheaper than diesel DSG plus TC GB being more reliable, dad preferred to book MPI AT.
We booked 1.6L MPi AT Style LE, also requested SA to hold it for couple of days. A quick calculation and talk with Bhpian RavenAvi and TAIger TSIVipul made the booking shift to 1.5L TDi Style LE.
It wasn’t as smooth as I had to fight for waiving off Depot Charges (Rs. 9750), but lost and eventually had to pay it. Not good.
PDI and Delivery
Car had reached stockyard, but due to my sister's hectic schedule we were able to do PDI after 2 days. Decoded VIN and it was straight out from bake, it was May 2017 . Except two minor issues, we were not able to find any fault with car.
Delivery was delayed by a month as the car had to come from Pune, still it took some serious time. Had booked from Autobahn in Andheri. Experience was nothing close to what Deogiri Auto offered me at time of buying my Tata Tiago.
Had taken delivery on auspicious day of Guru Purnima, 9th July, 2017. We had taken delivery on temporary registration number. After two days Rapid got its permanent registration number.
Engine and Drivability:
Car have till now crossed 4200 km mark. First 1000 km wasn't really able to exploit the engine and get true image of it capabilities. After crossing 1000 km and thanks to 29th August, 2017 (floods) had to drive bit hard. In Sports mode it redlined in 1st gear and in no time I reached illegal speed (thanks to Speed limit for warning me). I haven't used tiptronic mode yet as I don't really feel need of it, shifting to sports mode does the job well. In D-mode DSG GB is a bit slow to respond and tries to upshift as early as possible, also is bit lazy in case of downshifting. Though both issues are solved by shifting it to Sports mode. Don't know whether the GB is working fine or not, but when the car slows down (without pressing A and B pedal) jerk can be noticed when it shifts from D3 to D2 and from D2 to D1.
The heart of car, the engine is quite noisy though rolling up windows and 7th gear helps the matter alot. If driven sedately, I have got FE upto 18.66 kmpl as per tank full method. My city run shows anywhere between 11-12.5 kmpl by tank full method, couple of times it gave me around 14 kmpl in city. Even with left foot hard with pedal to metal on an open stretch of road car have shown around 13 kmpl.
Looks and Styling
Though looks are subjective, if I need to be unbiased this department is ruled by Hyundai Verna. For people like my dad, it suits his age and profession, but me the other side will love funky looking cars and Rapid looks a bit boring to me especially the rear. Though after fitting the Rear Diffuser and factory fitted (or rather Dealership fitted) rear boot lip spoiler have enhanced the looks by couple of points. Going with Style variant was mainly for the looks, my sis and me were privilege enough to check all variants parked beside each other and at that point of time we decided to look no elsewhere other than Style. LE (Limited Edition) which isn't really a limited edition, came with 3 more features, out of these three where 16" Clubber alloys. This gave more points to rather plain jane side profile. Front is where it looks smashing in my eyes, though halogen projector are really bad when it comes to performance.
Front, Style variants come with Halogen Projectors + DRLs (double barrel set-up).
Note: DRL's are off in this pic
Side Profile with 16" Clubber Alloys (ala Style LE)
Note: DRL's are off in this pic
Side Profile with 16" Clubber Alloys (ala Style LE)
Where I have said few sides of exterior to be boring, the interior are just a level more in terms of boring design. It seems like car of 90's, C'mon Skoda/VW we deserve few good design dashboards. A positive side to it is unlike Manza we can stick idols on it so a plus there. Though the rear parcel is too steep to store even a tissue paper box with gel pads, good or bad thing I don't know. Rest the quality feels really good, much better than Maruti Ciaz and my old Manza. I personally feel fit and finish have taken backseat and QC isn't working hard. There is some occasional rattle popping up from driver side A-Pillar after I crossed 3000 km mark. Rest due to double seal on door due to friction it causes rattle sound (this is what the SASS had told me ).
Ride Quality, Comfort, Handling ad NVH
In one word it is very harsh for city drives at low speed. I truly feel going with Style/Ambition variant (comes with 15" alloys) would have made it slightly more plusher. But as you build of speed you really thank the stiff suspension as the car remains rock solid at triple digit speeds (read: less than 120 kmph). One can also notice rear suspension to be set-up 3X softer than front.
Comfort is more or less sacrificed in this car thanks to stiff suspensions mated with 16" alloys, seats lacking lumbar support (for my height, rest all in my family feel it to be comfortable), poor legroom and lacking feel of airiness thanks to small cabin space. City still remains the benchmark here IMHO.
Handling is simply too good. Near to perfect steering, precise and acceptable feedback but lacks feel especially on corners even when taken at 130 kmph. Grip from Apollo Alnac 4G 195/55 R16 is good for corners and feels ok for driving on dry surface. Be hard on left foot or on wet roads, you will see wheel spins (thanks to ESP which controls it later) and during rainy seasons it just looses grip and seems dangerous to me especially.
NVH is pretty good, certainly not in leagues of Hyundai wherein one can't distinguish between petrol and diesel. In Rapid one can easily know a diesel engine roaring, clatter can be noticed easily. I agree with TAIger Akash1886 Sirji, that it will take time for Skoda/VW to make silent engines. Tyre noise and wind noise are under acceptable levels.