Skoda Rapid – The best of Badge Engineering But with a Difference

When Skoda finally unleashed its player in the mid-level sedan segment with its 5 door small family car Skoda Rapid, it was almost a case study in badge engineering with the ‘sharing’ aspect taken to a totally different level much beyond the mere platform sharing practice. So much so that Skoda Rapid is almost identical to the Volkswagen Vento! However, is there more to what meets the eye and would Skoda Rapid be able to rapidly carve a niche out of itself?

Exteriors - The Vento vs. Rapid Story:
Look-wise, the Skoda Rapid looks to be a Volkswagen Vento having the Fabia front end. In fact, this all new levels of badge engineering has resulted in Rapid and Vento to be almost identical cars, which might create a little problem for the Vento Sales figure since Rapid is underpriced. However, even if each of them individually do not go on to become category leaders in their segment, nobody is complaining if the combined rapid and vento Sales outnumber Honda City and Hyundai Verna.
So on first glance it’s hard to differentiate between a Rapid and a vento with both of them having the same A, B, C pillars, but wait, when you take a closer profile look, you notice things that aren’t the same. There’s certainly more to the Rapid. The treatment of Rapid’s front end is definitely like the Fabia but may be slightly longer and not as sharply raked as the hatchback. The bonnet extends over the fenders with a redesigned front bumper as well.  The mustache grill is also slightly different to Rapid’s large nose and the strong and sturdy grill makes it look to be a more matured car. The 5 spoke alloy wheels are brilliant in visual terms and look to be chunkier than vento. The lines all over are smoothly integrated along the body of the car as is its boot, which though being a straight life from vento, but finds its distinct identity due to the taillights and crystal cut, that has the very Skoda touch. The rear bumper, boot lid and tail lights are all new with the Vento boot lid kink disappearing into a straight line in case of Rapid. Rapid sports a prism edge with the two sharp edges on either side of the number plate that ushers in the new Skoda design theme. All in all, Skoda rapid turn out to be a handsome looking sedan.

Interiors: Can you spot the difference?
Sit inside the Skoda Rapid and you’ll have deja-vu if you have ever been inside a vento or a Polo. With identical interiors with that of the Vento, only very keen observers would identify the differences in the dashboard brownish tinge and the four spoke steering wheel, which again is similar to Fabia’s. While it is extremely comfortable to grip with a surprisingly easy press-able horn despite having the inbuilt airbag, what is missing is the steering mounted control. Other slight points of difference lies in Rapid’s white console needles instead of red, different font on the dials and the every 500rpm markings on the tachometer. With a similar 2552mm wheelbase, there’s enough space and legroom in the Rapid making it comfortable for even 6 footer drivers or back passengers. The only issue might be the tall transmission tunnel that might make getting in and out a tad difficult.

Skoda Rapid Variants: Actively ambitious and elegant!
One of the main differentiating factor for a common potential buyer could be the range of variants that Skoda Rapid sports compared to the Vento. While Vento strangely has only 2 variants, Skoda has done much better by offering Rapid in 3 trim levels – Active, Ambition and Elegance. While Active is the base model, Ambition and elegance are the mid-level and highest trims respectively offered in the colorsof:
·         Flash Red
·         Deep Black Pearl
·         Brilliant Silver
·         Candy White
·         Cappuccino Beige
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