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Old 2nd October 2012, 15:47   #1
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Default My Skoda Rapid Elegance. And a comparison with the Palio & Baleno

The first car that I really wanted was the Palio 1.6, it was everything I wanted in our budget. I was in tenth grade, the Scorpio had just launched and we had booked it. The quoted waiting list was three months and we were bored of waiting, In the meantime I forced my dad to have a test drive of the Palio. We immediately cancelled the booking for the Scorpio and took delivery of a galaxy black 1.6 GTX.
My Skoda Rapid Elegance. And a comparison with the Palio & Baleno-img_20121002_132227.jpg

What followed was 10 years and 60,000+ kms of great driving fun. The only upgrade the car needed was the tyres. We got Yoko avs-es 100's and leather seats. Maintenance is expensive, and thanks to Team-BHP found Gowri automobiles and Venkatesh. Without his help we would have given up on the car long ago, one of my favourite horror stories was when we gave the car to T.A.S.S for a clutch change they managed to get rid of fifth gear... This car is still the family favourite.

My Skoda Rapid Elegance. And a comparison with the Palio & Baleno-img_20121002_132244.jpg

My Skoda Rapid Elegance. And a comparison with the Palio & Baleno-img_20121002_132320.jpg

My friend picked up a really well maintained 2003 Baleno for about 1.6 Lakh . I drive that car more than anyone else and clocked up about 20,000 kms on it. Great car with really good tyres (potenza GIII's) and ICE. This was my primary car for the past 2 years. We also have a Santro (I don't like disclosing this to strangers).

We were looking for a diesel from the past couple of years, finance or lack of family approval always meant the plans were shelved. After I finished my B.E the situation became a bit desperate as I was clocking 2k+ kms every month. We test drove almost everything under 20 Lakh that promised to be FTD and diesel.

Maruti Swift : This was the one, until I discovered that the ergonomics were ruined by the plastic trim under the steering wheel. It always hit my shin whatever I did. I also had a minor crash with the car due to my foot slipping off the brakes due to the design on my test drive at RNS.
Liked everything else about the car.

Figo: Really nice car with good throttle response + handling + gearbox and the steering feel is brilliant. What put me off was the lack of outright power.
For instance the slope under the Windsor Manor bridge was a struggle with a full load of five people in the car.

Fiesta: Same as Figo. Looks like Ford designs their car's to a set DNA / standard. I hated the dashboard and interiors, looks like one of those casio watches that have too many buttons. Was the most fun to drive out of the sedans except for the weight of the car which dampens the acceleration, what's the point of 'boron steel' if you cant get the weight down. Doesn't feel like it has the go to match the handling. The steering wheel is lovely to hold though, miss that in my Rapid.

XUV: Dad was very keen on this again but I was strongly against it due to the reputation first gen Scorpio's had. I was proved right going by the niggles reported on the forum.

Linea T-jet: What a car! Was so thrilled with it. Except that the gearbox was a bit notchy. Ruled out due to my monthly running. Available for 8l OTR or less in BLR.

Skoda Laura TSI: A big step above the T-jet, mainly due to the ergonomics and feel (except for the steering). Again ruled out. If fuel pricing policy was sane in India, this would have been the car. 1st gear wheelspins on demand was an absolute joy. The wide low stance helps with body roll even though suspension is soft.

VW Jetta: Drove the DSG diesel, liked it a lot initially but got bored of the paddle shifts during the test drive. Very overpriced. The car felt big and soft. Didn't like the way it pitched during braking. Feels like VW tuned this one exclusively to the chauffeur driven market.

VW Vento: Had two test drives of the Vento, liked it for the black interiors but wasn't worth the lakh extra. VW Palace Cross sales person was slightly off his rocker, asked me to stand on top of an open door of the car to show how much better than the rapid the quality was. Not sure why but I complied with his request and had a laugh about it later.

From driving both sets of German twins, I can only conclude that Skoda have got suspension tuning for India right compared to VW. Maybe VW will catch up in the next couple of model updates. Both VW's had tendency to pitch a lot more than the equivalent Skoda.

Dealership experience:

Had a couple of test drives of the rapid, one of them a relatively long one.
Vinayaka skoda was pleasant to deal with. Ms.Prabha was our sales person who did a very good job. Finished paying the advance. We have a particular number for our family cars. Pretty much all the numbers in Bangalore's RTO's for that number are ours. The dealership was charging 25k for this instead of 20k (official rate), that caused a little friction. This was smoothed over by me skipping work and doing all the running around. Was surprised to note that I was not harassed in anyway and process in the RTO and Commissioner of Transport's office was smooth and painless.

Loan was processed at our favourite nationalised bank and everything was ready. Had already done the PDI a week before the loan clearance. August manufactured car (Thanks to Wildon's thread).

Took delivery, headed straight to local Ganesha temple and the car was officially home.
The OTR worked out to 11.625 lakhs (Price increased a couple of days after we booked the car).
Included skoda shield and zero depreciation insurance.

The next couple of days were spent ferrying around relatives for a wedding which gave the car the perfect run in.
Manual recommends no full throttle and less than 3500 rpm for the first 1000 kms.

Other than the usual city driving, my job requires that I travel to Ramanagara often. Plus one business trip to Kerala and a recent trip to Chikmagalur to visit a friend.
Current ODO reading is 4000 kms approx.

It's now fair to say that I know how the car behaves in a variety of situations.

Positives:
  • Great engine- lots of midrange and close ratio gearbox makes it a dream overtaking machine
  • Good ergonomics makes the driving position easy to find, steering rake and reach adjustment very helpful
  • Nice gearbox feel, slightly notchy to fifth and back
  • Light coloured interiors make it feel more airy than the Vento
  • Instrument cluster is very easy to read
  • MID tells you when to shift up for best F.E
  • Clutch not as heavy as I expected based on reviews (take that back, getting harder with more kms on the clock)
  • Brakes are fantastic with great bite and feel. ABS has kicked in only once till now on sand and makes a lot of noise.
  • Straight Line stability is much better than either the Palio or Baleno
  • Love the headlamp switch, very high quality
  • Allows you to overtake in any gear as long as you are above 1500 rpm
  • Front seat has reasonable side bolstering, not as good as fiesta or the Baleno, better than the Palio
  • 2nd gear wheelspin on demand on loose surfaces
  • No torque steer during above wheelspin
  • Ride is soft and nice for the city
  • Fuel efficiency of around 14 in city and 18 on the highway (110-120 kmph)
  • Lovely alloy wheel design
  • Lots of understeer == can't mess it up easily (Maybe it's the tyres but the front washes wide whenever you try to hustle it through a corner, definitely not a Palio or Swift where the tail comes into play)
  • Apollo tyres are ok with braking, rubbish with everything else
  • lovely climate control and rear a/c vents make a big difference

Negatives:
  • Handling is rubbish, you can feel the engine weight in the front of the car (This makes the front bob and pitch when you hit a bump mid corner, not pleasant)
  • Bouncy ride at high speeds (80kph+)
  • Non-independent rear suspension makes mid corner bumps very scary (both Palio and Baleno have independent suspensions, makes a big difference)
  • Essentially the handling is a disappointment compared to the Palio
  • High speed ride is bad compared to Palio or Baleno (better damping in both cars)
  • Body roll is present and since you sit high compared to the Baleno you can't push it as hard even though there might be more mechanical grip, Palio if you know how to drive it is surprisingly flat
  • Rear suspension noise (reported all over the forum)
  • Chronic understeer == no tail wagging fun in the ghats.
  • Steering feel is non-existant. Push the car at your own risk (Weird that the steering weighs up correctly when you are scrubbing the front tyres and understeering into the hedge...)
  • Some of the trim is cheap.. The drivers armrest squeaks and creaks whenever you put any weight on it.
  • Cannot keep up with the Palio in the ghats, but very few cars can...
  • Center A/C vents cannot go low enough, always hits my eyes whatever I do.
  • Stock ICE is terrible.
  • Lots of glare reflected from top of dashboard towards drivers face, causes eye strain if driving in the afternoon.
  • Light coloured interiors gets dirty and the top of the dashboard reflects onto the windscreen, making driving in tree lined roads a tough job.
  • Buttons on keyfob hard to press.
  • Stock headlamps are terrible.

My Skoda Rapid Elegance. And a comparison with the Palio & Baleno-img_20120911_093814.jpg

My Skoda Rapid Elegance. And a comparison with the Palio & Baleno-img_20121014_145533.jpg

In conclusion: It's a very nice car to cruise in, lots of straight line speed but no cornering talent.
In the ghats the torque is fun but the understeer spoils the party.
Mechanical grip is good, but very hard to keep the car balanced on the throttle.
Not a true blue enthusiasts car, like the Palio was.
Will be a good buy for express-way driving. Will keep you guys updated as the car ages.

Cheers,

Last edited by GTO : 18th October 2012 at 13:09. Reason: Paragraph Spacing
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Old 18th October 2012, 13:10   #2
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Default Re: My Skoda Rapid Elegance. And a comparison with the Palio & Baleno

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Initial Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 18th October 2012, 13:30   #3
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Default Re: My Skoda Rapid Elegance. And a comparison with the Palio & Baleno

Hello Diesel Convert,
Congrats on your New Skoda Rapid !
Nice writing style.
Waiting to hear more about your new ride !
Post some pics of the interiors too.
Do keep the thread updated.
Drive Safe !
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Old 18th October 2012, 13:48   #4
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Default Re: My Skoda Rapid Elegance. And a comparison with the Palio & Baleno

Post deleted by the Team-BHP Support : Please do NOT post one-liners that add little or no informational value to the thread. We need your co-operation to maintain the overall quality of this forum.

Please read our rules before proceeding any further.

Last edited by GTO : 18th October 2012 at 16:08.
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Old 18th October 2012, 14:00   #5
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Default

Diesel_convert
Congratulations on your Rapid. Looks elegant in that shade and you have drafted a brilliant unbiased review drafting out all positives and negatives.

I own a Vento and a Linea and can very well relate to your sentiments, i wont say the rapid/vento have rubbish handling but ride and handling is Fiat's forte and only Ford comes close to it. Its something other manufacturers wont be able to match.

Linea's handling is class apart, very prominent after a back to back drive in both the cars but it has its negatives as well.

Have fun with your Rapid.

Last edited by coolboy007 : 18th October 2012 at 14:02.
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Old 18th October 2012, 14:16   #6
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Default Re: My Skoda Rapid Elegance. And a comparison with the Palio & Baleno

Your views about the handling is quite surprising. Have Skoda altered the suspension or something? The rapid was praised all round for stability and stuff.
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Old 18th October 2012, 15:03   #7
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Default Re: My Skoda Rapid Elegance. And a comparison with the Palio & Baleno

Congrats on you Rapid, diesel_convert. Nice shade looks better in person than in the picture.

Believe Rapid has a more stiffer suspension compared to Vento. Between the two hows the ride quality like.

Do post some interior shots. Wish you a long hassle free ownership
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Old 18th October 2012, 17:42   #8
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Default Re: My Skoda Rapid Elegance. And a comparison with the Palio & Baleno

Congrats Diesel_convert wish you happy miles ahead with the Rapid.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Diesel_convert View Post
we gave the car to T.A.S.S for a clutch change they managed to get rid of fifth gear... This car is still the family favourite.
What exactly was the problem? slips back to neutral or, refuses to engage to 5th?
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Old 18th October 2012, 18:32   #9
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Smile Re: My Skoda Rapid Elegance. And a comparison with the Palio & Baleno

Quote:
Originally Posted by VishnuNarayanan View Post
Hello Diesel Convert,
Congrats on your New Skoda Rapid !
Nice writing style.
Waiting to hear more about your new ride !
Post some pics of the interiors too.
Do keep the thread updated.
Drive Safe !
Thank you for the encouragement to write. Yes will put up pictures after I clean up the interior a bit, lots of cd's and other rubbish lying around in the car.

Quote:
Originally Posted by coolboy007 View Post
Diesel_convert
Congratulations on your Rapid. Looks elegant in that shade and you have drafted a brilliant unbiased review drafting out all positives and negatives.

I own a Vento and a Linea and can very well relate to your sentiments, i wont say the rapid/vento have rubbish handling but ride and handling is Fiat's forte and only Ford comes close to it. Its something other manufacturers wont be able to match.

Linea's handling is class apart, very prominent after a back to back drive in both the cars but it has its negatives as well.

Have fun with your Rapid.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ford5 View Post
Your views about the handling is quite surprising. Have Skoda altered the suspension or something? The rapid was praised all round for stability and stuff.
Thank you, I think I exaggerated a bit when I said rubbish, but it was quite frustrating to take the car onto B-road's (Ghat's,windy uneven roads with broken tarmac, you get the drift) and discover that you can't really push the car without it becoming unsettled. I read all the reviews too and took a relatively long test drive around B'lore but this was still a surprise for me. The part about straight line stability is true, it feels very composed and doesn't weave around at high speed like the Baleno does for instance. Have taken it to some unmentionable speeds on the highways and it behaves like a champ.
What it doesn't do is encourage the driver when the going gets a bit twisty.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arup.misra View Post
Congrats on you Rapid, diesel_convert. Nice shade looks better in person than in the picture.

Believe Rapid has a more stiffer suspension compared to Vento. Between the two hows the ride quality like.

Do post some interior shots. Wish you a long hassle free ownership
Thank you, I am a terrible photographer, but yes the shade is a sensible inoffensive one that isn't black and one that doesn't clash with the chrome garnish in the front of the car.

Compared to the Vento at low speeds the ride is more settled at the rear, that is by far the biggest difference I feel. Will do, about the interior pictures.

Quote:
Originally Posted by planet_rocker View Post
Congrats Diesel_convert wish you happy miles ahead with the Rapid.



What exactly was the problem? slips back to neutral or, refuses to engage to 5th?
Thank you, the problem was the cable that connects to the gear lever has a couple of lock nuts on it(this moves the actual lever), this needs to be adjusted properly to give all gears. T.A.S.S took 2 weeks trying to sort this out, I gave up and went to Venkatesh@Gowri Automobiles, haven't looked back since.
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Old 21st November 2012, 14:17   #10
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Smile Re: My Skoda Rapid Elegance. And a comparison with the Palio & Baleno

A quick update about my car.

The trip

I took the car on a long trip to Udipi and back. On the way there visited my friend in Chickmagalur then went to Shimoga to pick up someone then drove down to Udipi from there. On the way back we came back directly to Bangalore using the Shiradi ghat route.

The drive was a mixture of terrible roads and some brilliant stretches.
Bangalore to Chikmagalur- road around Hassan has some bad stretches and the usual highway construction problems after/before Chennarayapatna.

My friends place is inside Bhadra reserve forest, about 5 kms from the Bhadra reservoir. We took the Muthodi forest road from Chikmagalur and this stretch was terrible. Said friend's dad advised us to go towards Balehonnur and take a right there towards Narsimharajapura, this was the best road advice ever given to me .

The road is given as incomplete on Google maps, but I have tried to mark it anyway. Between points C and D on the map there are two routes shown, the incomplete one is the brilliant road.

It is the best road I have driven on till date, wide flowing corners with few surprises, very little traffic and a clear view of oncoming traffic.
I averaged 60 kmph here.

The road from there to Shimoga has a lot more traffic and is not so much fun.

From Shimoga to Udipi is a well documented road on the thread "The art of travelling between Bangalore- Mangalore/Udipi"

The way back is the standard Shiradi route. The road is quite good except for a long stretch of about 30 kms before and after Gundya cross.

Map detailing routes taken

On the way back there is a nice restaurant called Ossur cafe just after Sakleshpur which gives really good Akki rotti.

We took about 10 hrs excluding breaks to get from Bangalore to Udipi (560 kms total) and about 7 hrs from Udipi to Bangalore (407 kms).

The car:

Before the drive as the car had run 5000 kms I decided to top up fluids.
Discovered that the oil was a bit low and the manual said 1 L top up.

The oil cap is really hard to remove the first time in the Rapid, I had to remove the NVH cover on top to make it easier. When I opened the cap was I in for a surprise.

My Skoda Rapid Elegance. And a comparison with the Palio & Baleno-img_20121108_221723.jpg


I was just thanking my stars as the dust / sand hadn't gone into the engine as far as I could see. After much struggling with my vacuum cleaner I removed the dust. After reading the threads about which oil to use I decided on the castrol magnatec professional b4 grade 5w40. Sourcing this was easier than I thought. It was also cheaper (Rs 630 per liter).

If anybody wants the source please PM me.

The engine took 1 liter of oil without going above the max line in the stick.

I also discovered a cheap source of nice smelling windscreen washer additive.
Metro (Yeshwanthpur) stocks Sonax additive that does its job well and even smells nicer than the VW / Skoda stuff.

I was always worried about police checking when I had just used the washer.



The car performed quite well on the trip all of the driving was at a sedate 100-110 kmph. The car ran a total 1110 kms in 4 days. MID showed mileage of about 20 kmpl, this also tallies approximately with full tank top up done after I was back (55 l of fuel).

The power in the car is quite unusable as every time you floor the throttle you see the mileage drop drastically. Anything beyond 3/4ths throttle causes you to cringe when you look at the MID.

For instance in the Balehonnur - N.R. Pura stretch where I was having fun the car gave all of 12 kmpl on relatively flat terrain. It must be said I was driving as hard as possible on a public road, shifting up at 2.5 to 3k rpm and full throttle acceleration between corners. The brakes also fade, but in a reasonable amount of time unlike the Palio.

One thing that I noticed this trip is that high speed cruising makes a big hit on fuel economy. Anything beyond 110 kmph and the MID instantaneous fuel economy figures drop to the low 15's, at a steady cruise at 100 kmph on a flat road it shows about 22 kmpl.

I discovered the reason for this in this trip, at 110 kmph in 5th gear the engine is sitting at 2500 rpm, the limit of the max torque rpm range.

Beyond this the engine is not at peak efficiency.

What it needs is a sixth gear. Video's on You tube confirm this for the Jetta blumotion which has the same engine plus a six speed gearbox.

They show 20 kmpl at 130 kmph which is impossible in this car.

Maybe Skoda can introduce an updated model with a six speed gearbox.

I am also getting used to the handling of the car. The car has plenty of mechanical grip, most corners on the road leading up to Shiradi were dismissed at 80+ kmph without needing to slow down.

The thing that is missing though is good steering feel and rear suspension that doesn't flop around during direction changes. This is most evident at high speeds when the front would have changed direction and the rear takes a while to catch up.

My earlier comments about poor damping characteristics still stand.


After this trip, I have noticed some mild plastic creaking from the rear of the car. Have not been able to find the source yet.

So far I am quite happy with the car.

My dad though disagree's completely and refuses to let go of his beloved Palio and calls the Rapid a boat...

A picture of my car with the most VFM fun to drive car ever sold in India, the m800 mpfi 4 speed 45 hp.

My Skoda Rapid Elegance. And a comparison with the Palio & Baleno-img_20121110_080507.jpg

Cheers,

Last edited by Diesel_convert : 21st November 2012 at 14:39. Reason: URL was not parsed properly
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