Skoda Rapid Rider: The Affordable ‘Large’ Car Takes a Dig at Compact Sedans
- Published On: 29 July 2019
- 9 min read
Skoda’s Indian innings has not been too interesting in the past few years. Their best-selling product is the Rapid but that manages just about 750 units per month an average which puts it far behind other sedans in the market.
Skoda’s Indian innings has not been too interesting in the past few years. Their best-selling product is the Rapid but that manages just about 750 units per month an average which puts it far behind other sedans in the market. However, the company has taken the ‘value for money’ path seriously and launched the cut price Rider editor that retails at just Rs 6.99 lakh, ex-showroom Delhi.
This not only makes it the most affordable mid-size or C segment sedan in India, but it also gives it a chance lock horns with smaller sedans or the sub 4m compact sedans like the Honda Amaze and the market leader, the Maruti Dzire. So, which of the three products should you be looking at and why? This is the question that we answer in the next few paragraphs. For reference of price, we will be comparing the Rapid Rider with the S MT version of the Amaze and VXI version of the Dzire.
The Dzire and Amaze are sub 4-meter compact sedans and meet the specifications for small cars in India in order to gain tax benefits. However, this also means the Rapid overshadows them, being a longer and a proper looking sedan. It's a good 40cm longer and this gives it higher street cred. It also comes with taller 15-inch wheels that wear wider 185mm tyres and by the looks of it, seems to have better ground clearance as well.
None of the cars come with alloy wheels here as these are not top of the line versions. The Dzire and Amaze do manage to look better up front due to a modern design and the Rapid sure needs a serious update in this department we feel.
The Rapid first. Step inside and you instantly like the dual tone color theme which is a mix of black and brown. The speedometer console and air-con controls look old school but do the job quite well. There is ample space up front for large adults but the Rapid gives you a solid build quality. This is missing in most of the other sub 4m compact sedans in the market. At the back, there is ample space for 3 adults but we must admit, the Dzire and the Amaze shock you with the amount of space these smaller cars manage to scoop out.
The Dzire Vxi also gives you a dual tone theme with added advantage of a faux wooden inserts at places. The dials look better, you are offered steering controls and it offers slightly more space at the back.
The Amaze S MT also offers a dual tone theme but what makes it special is the airiness and space on offer. Among all the three cars, if space is what you seek, pick the Amaze. It also offers a digital display for the air-con. The rear seats are not only spacious but also offer the best comfort of the lot.
However, in terms of boot space, the Rapid wins the game thanks to its extended length. At 460 liters, it offers as much as 20% more space than the Dzire and about 10% extra room than the Amaze.
Engine and Performance
This is where the Rapid has a clean win over its shorter rivals. We will start with the numbers first. The Rapid Rider offers a 33% larger capacity petrol engine that puts out 27% and 17% higher power than the Dzire and Amaze petrol motors. Not only this, even the torque is about 35% and 39% more.
So, do these numbers really transform into better real-world performance. In a word, yes! Drive the Rapid and two cars back to back and you will be surprised with the punch that is available right from 1200 rpm onwards. This means for city runs where you need to drive the car in the same gear over a range of speed, the Rapid does a far better job. Even in terms of flat out acceleration, the Rapid leaves other two in the dust.
That said, the Amaze and the Dzire do the job well for their segment with the latter being a tad better at slow speeds while the former offers better high rpm performance.
All the three cars that we are discussing here come with a 5-speed manual gearbox as standard. One area where the Rapid lacks is in terms of fuel economy. As per ARAI certification, the Rapid delivers just 15.4 kmpl as compared to 21.2 kmpl for the Dzire and 19.5 kmpl for the Amaze.
Ride and Handling
Skoda is known to make cars that handle well and the Rapid is no different. Of the three, from an enthusiast's perspective, the Rapid will keep owners happy and smiling. The steering is light and yet you get enough feedback to feel confident when driving it fast. Even the ride quality at higher speeds is fairly good though for city runs, both the Amaze and the Dzire fare much better.
The Dzire Vxi has 165mm wide tyres with an aspect ratio of 80 and this means a taller side wall. This in turn allows it to absorb pot holes and undulations far better. The Amaze too is in the same league. This means if you want utter comfort and not driving pleasure, look at these two offerings.
The Final Call
The Maruti Dzire Vxi and Honda Amaze S are priced neck to neck being about Rs 25,000 cheaper than the Rapid Rider. Skoda’s biggest trump card here is the fact that it is allowing consumers to experience a C segment sedan at the cost of a sub4m compact product. The Rapid looks bigger, has well-built interiors, handles better and offers performance that is hard to match. We like the way Skoda makes their cars and the Rapid is a proof of that.
However, the Dzire and Amaze have their own strong points. For example, the Dzire, being India’s largest selling sedan, has the highest resale value here. It offers Maruti’s peace of mind, has spacious interiors and a very fuel-efficient motor. The Amaze trumps in terms of cabin space and comfort factor. In terms of safety, all three cars offer dual front airbags and ABS as standard.
In a nutshell, if you are an enthusiast, the Rapid Rider should be your pick. For those looking at comfort and a car that will be chauffeur driven at times, the Amaze and Dzire won't disappoint you either.