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Old 5th November 2015, 17:01   #1
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Default My Skoda Rapid Spaceback (Australia) - 1.4L TSI with 7 speed DSG

My obsession with cars that look good and drive well will never fade a bit. After driving a Fiat (Palio) in India for more than six years, I needed a car with similar feel in Australia too. Soul of the car - finalised. This also reduced number of brands under consideration. Pretty much all Asian cars were out, except Subaru and Mazda.

As far as body style is concerned, I like hatchbacks. Larger the better. Body style of the car finalised too. Colour was a no-brainer. Both my wife and I love red.

Because of various sports-related injuries to my left ankle, I preferred an automatic. At the same time, I did not want such ancient technologies are hydraulic torque converter gearboxes or naturally aspirated engines.

I set a budget of A$25000 (drive-away) and started my search. I always prefer new cars, even though the used car market in Australia is very reliable.

My preferred brand is Fiat. Unfortunately, Fiat doesn't really have large hatchbacks on offer. 500 is promoted heavily, in both Fiat and Abarth guises. Punto and Bravo are no longer available. Next option is Alfa Romeo MiTo, but it is too small. Giulietta is almost perfect, except the price. The automatic almost reaches A$40,000. Even with such a brand name and so many features, I felt it was way too expensive for its worth.

With no suitable Fiat cars on offer, I had to look elsewhere. I could only find Mazda 3 with 1.5 NA engine. Of course, I didn't try hard to find more about Mazda. I found Subaru Impreza too expensive, but I guess that's the price you pay for AWD and so-called reliability.

Then I came across this ad of Skoda Rapid. The local dealer Solitaire Skoda was trying to sell a few Limited Edition models, which were manufactured early in 2015, and imported somewhere around the middle of the year. They were offering the following benefits for a drive away price of $25990:
- 5 years road side assistance
- 5 years manufacturer warranty
- Courtesy car
- 3 years free service
- $1000 Caltex fuel card
- 100% finance with 1.2% interest

The car itself has the following features:
- awesome safety kit: six airbags, ABS with EBD, ESP, all 4 disc brakes
- 17 inch Savio alloys
- panoramic glass roof
- fog lights
- daytime running lights (boring ones)
- Bluetooth, telephony
- halogen low beams
- cruise control
- 60:40 split rear seat
- seat belt reminder, even for front passenger
- vanity mirrors on both visors
- electrically adjustable ORVMs
- rear parking sensors
- driver seat height adjust (I think even passenger seat height can be adjusted)
- rake and reach steering

What's missing?
- Sat Nav
- 5th alloy
- auto folding ORVMs
- corner assist in fog lights
- LED DRLs
- automatic climate control
- remote on second key
- cooled glove compartment

The experience at the showroom was great. Solitaire has Volkswagen cars in the same showroom too, and obviously, Skoda occupies just about 1/3rd of the showroom. The sales manager, Mr Sean Martin, was very friendly and courteous. He said I could take the test drive for as long as I want. But I didn't have to drive for long. Within 10-15 minutes, I was convinced that I wanted this car.

After returning the test drive car, I told them I need to think about it. A few days later, Mr. Martin sent me an email. So I started my bargain. After some email exchanges, he reduced the price to $25488. Not a big discount, but the deal was already great!

The following weekend, I booked the car by paying $500. I also ordered for special number plates, which took 10 more working days.

Since collecting the car on a weekday was not possible, I requested for a Saturday delivery. Mr. Martin requested me to be at the showroom by 8 AM, so that I can drive the car out by 9 AM. After that, he'd get busy with prospective customers.

On the day of the delivery, I was at the showroom at 7.40 AM, and Mr. Martin was already there. After signing a few papers and having some coffee, he configured some of the features of the car for my preferences (radio, bluetooth, seat height, steering level etc). He also told me a lot about using the stereo. Then he said, "being a computer engineer, I am sure you are tech savvy. I am sure you can figure out the rest of the stuff".

I just smiled and nodded. When it comes to gizmos and gadgets, I don't know anyone who is worse than me. But I didn't want to admit it to him


My Skoda Rapid Spaceback (Australia) - 1.4L TSI with 7 speed DSG-20151116025256.jpg

My Skoda Rapid Spaceback (Australia) - 1.4L TSI with 7 speed DSG-agp0nddtln7nqubwcucememnrio0bhl5eulzegzoxatv.jpg

My Skoda Rapid Spaceback (Australia) - 1.4L TSI with 7 speed DSG-ai5ub51gdouacksciskfregr5wgz9net1sqy3ppc3zg9.jpg

My Skoda Rapid Spaceback (Australia) - 1.4L TSI with 7 speed DSG-al3b4xufzb21jvdlc9vx1w7zslhq73gvf20svocnjrg.jpg

My Skoda Rapid Spaceback (Australia) - 1.4L TSI with 7 speed DSG-alltsvhk5j71t_l23apfpryozhmsz7wi58hgtcwmk3iv.jpg

My Skoda Rapid Spaceback (Australia) - 1.4L TSI with 7 speed DSG-apbgi_j8fyurnqfdfjc9cw9fpfwjfhbwl12rwbz0_yoh.jpg

If I am asked what I dislike most about the car, here is the clear winner - the design of the door:
My Skoda Rapid Spaceback (Australia) - 1.4L TSI with 7 speed DSG-aodtmh3u7ytqfjrr8v_zmtzpf1p0xeisom8f_tumagoa.jpg

Head lamp cluster - DRL remains on as long as the car is on:
My Skoda Rapid Spaceback (Australia) - 1.4L TSI with 7 speed DSG-ajijeuv09q3lcgryktlkym1wd2s1cldnp7qvyppf70h1.jpg

Rear wheel - with disc brake:
My Skoda Rapid Spaceback (Australia) - 1.4L TSI with 7 speed DSG-ajw5ij4qc7pb_upbziymyncr2otclugidyl0y6rxt2c.jpg

No indicators on the IRVMS:
My Skoda Rapid Spaceback (Australia) - 1.4L TSI with 7 speed DSG-amhvfyxg6ccb2unyaa1objdaloldmftfjvd_5l1jduym.jpg

Last edited by rohanjf : 16th November 2015 at 16:59.
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Old 7th December 2015, 15:19   #2
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Default re: My Skoda Rapid Spaceback (Australia) - 1.4L TSI with 7 speed DSG

Interiors:

- Switches for reading lamps. No sunglass holder (I don't wear one, so it doesn't matter to me)
- Prismatic IRVM, no auto-dimming
My Skoda Rapid Spaceback (Australia) - 1.4L TSI with 7 speed DSG-agv_58h083yyyelc8ievnfl7wwqcltvx4_10lmhqejo.jpg


- Seat fabric has an awesome feel. Seat fits the body snugly too.
- Hand rest has a small storage space
- Seatbelt height adjustment is given even for passenger too
My Skoda Rapid Spaceback (Australia) - 1.4L TSI with 7 speed DSG-agwkp4dzdi0l93svinqj2z6xuqwycquxd1jcyk62iraa.jpg


- Pedals, two of the three ways to mechanically connect to the car, feel good.
- There is dead pedal too, and it is convenient to use
My Skoda Rapid Spaceback (Australia) - 1.4L TSI with 7 speed DSG-ajsnhzu6joo0krnzccjymdtno7gnz0fikx5ew7kdr4v1.jpg


- HVAC (no automatic climate control)
- There are three useless buttons along with extremely useful ESP, central locking and rear defogger
My Skoda Rapid Spaceback (Australia) - 1.4L TSI with 7 speed DSG-aldpewqybdlgd4orjqnnxszarlrbdg6atkvaitips5c.jpg


- Power windows, with one touch down functionality only for driver side door
- Small pockets on the door. They have also provided a portable mobile holder
My Skoda Rapid Spaceback (Australia) - 1.4L TSI with 7 speed DSG-ap1ks4dvghay7jhzb0belqntvzfvqchyhtvlj4xe7_zu.jpg


Nothing complicated on driver's dashboard. I like the simple layout. In case you are wondering, that temperature reading is slightly less than the actual temperature! I have Vodafone, so I don't know why it shows up as OPTUS.
My Skoda Rapid Spaceback (Australia) - 1.4L TSI with 7 speed DSG-aq15mlc6xxc2ogikoislh5nis2vtj4vl4fzozhh5a2_t.jpg


Audio controls on the left side of the steering wheel:
My Skoda Rapid Spaceback (Australia) - 1.4L TSI with 7 speed DSG-arlxcri9ug63krpnf2wlbreyb0tfvrqkshowoquly3tu.jpg


- Bluetooth controls on the right side of the steering wheel (apologies for poor focus).
- Headlight switches and fog light switches are integrated into one knob on the dashboard
- There is deadlight height adjustment too
- Auto adjustment of outside rear view mirrors. No auto folding. There is an option to defog the ORVMs. I am told that this defogger automatically switches off in ten minutes
My Skoda Rapid Spaceback (Australia) - 1.4L TSI with 7 speed DSG-at5qhto0iogsaudwv1hpwt65hl3ipyril_8tq_kroyqj.jpg

Centre console has radio, CD player and Bluetooth streaming:
My Skoda Rapid Spaceback (Australia) - 1.4L TSI with 7 speed DSG-auexlzniztucuxtx7imrykx0tpoh1ddrm2mtuekd3e.jpg



Other things:
- There are USB and AUX ports too. I never used AUX port in my Palio in India for seven years, so I don't think I will use it in Rapid. While I used USB all the time in India, I don't think I will need it here. The radio channel shown on the console plays exactly the kind of music I love (rock and heavy metal)

- There is a ticket holder on the driver's side of the windshield (typical of Skoda cars I think). But the sales manager told me not to use it, because the traffic wardens prefer to see the parking tickets resting on the left side of the dashboard.

- There is an option to set a warning when certain speed is exceeded. My car came with the limit of 60 kmph limit. When I exceed that limit, it gives audible warning (a ding) for one second. Nothing annoying.

- If the car is driven with parking brake on, the same audible warning sounds repeatedly

- I am not sure how much strain the glass roof will put on the AC in this South Australian summer in the coming weeks.

- Black interiors are excellent, but get super hot in summer when the outside temperature exceeds 40 degrees C and remains around 35 degrees for most part of the day. Luckily, AC cools them within a few minutes.

- The inner roof cover is manually operated. If a rear passenger opens the rear part of the cover, driver cannot close it.

- I did a full tank after the car had run 345 KMs (the car was delivered with a full tank). I ended up filling nearly 35 litres of Octane 95. The fuel efficiency right now seems half as much as they advertised. I guess it will improve after a few hundred more kilometres.

- The steering has rake adjustment, but I couldn't find any reach adjustment!

- Horn is decent. I have used it only once, and only to see how it sounds

- Boot and glovebox have lights that illuminate when they are opened

- Cruise control is on the left side stalk behind the steering wheel. This takes some time to get used to. Now that I am used to it, I only need to look at the dashboard when I press any buttons of cruise control.

Last edited by rohanjf : 10th January 2016 at 06:36.
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Old 8th December 2015, 13:54   #3
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Default re: My Skoda Rapid Spaceback (Australia) - 1.4L TSI with 7 speed DSG

The driving experience

Let me start with what I feel whenever I start the car: "Oh no, this drive is going to get over soon". Yes, once I start driving the car, I don't want to stop. The car just makes me feel like driving more and more.

The seat has a firm fabric. It has a good grip too! The backrest fits around the back of my enormous torso. Thigh support sufficient. I did not have to struggle to find the most convenient driving position. Of course, the seating has to be low. You can't expect to see the complete bonnet from driver's seat if you don't want your head to touch the roof. Being used to Palio, I didn't have a problem with low seating. A friend of mine who used to drive a Sierra in India, wasn't very happy about the seating position.

The steering feels nice to hold. As per the rules, both hands should be on the steering all the time. With the kind of steering wheel this car has, you won't ever want to break the rules! I am not sure if the steering wheel is designed like this or if this is just my feeling, but I feel it gets heavier at higher speeds. I really had fun throwing the car around the twisty bends, and I felt good pressure on my shoulders.

The gearbox is already popular in most parts of the world. If I am to believe the Skoda sales manager, it is now as reliable as old hydraulic torque converters. When I had asked him about the reliability issues that existed earlier and that forced Volkswagen for mass recall, he confidently said that Volkswagen found the issue to be a plastic part in the clutch assembly and now it has been replaced with a metal part. Even then, I shift to neutral when I have to wait for long at signals.

Apart from the usual P, R, N and D, the gearbox has only two additional options: sports and manual. I haven't found the need to use manual override, because I find the gearshifts quick and accurate. When I drive in sports mode, I feel a lot of engine noise and vibrations in the cabin. No, it is not a bad thing! The only problem is, it only makes me drive faster and that's not possible without breaking the law. Hence, no sports mode for me!

The car handles wonderfully on curves, for a front-wheel drive. I can confidently take the car at higher than recommended speeds on blind curves without losing control and drifting to opposite lane. Note that I don't have to worry a bit as long as I stick to my lane on blind curves. Blind curves are clearly marked as no-overtaking zones and no other driver will drift into my lane. On one of the stretches I drove (between Adelaide and Lobethal), the speed limit is is 70 and 80 kmph. But there are so many curves and recommended speeds on many curves are 35 kmph. Yet, I managed take some of the curves at 60 kmph. I didn't feel ESP interfering with the handling.

The 4 disc brakes are precise and confidence inspiring. On the curvy stretch I drove, it was easy to brake late and then accelerate through the curve. I had to brake hard a few times, but I didn't experience ABS kicking in.

My opinion is that this car has everything simplified. It quite fits into 'Simply Clever'. It doesn't have complicated driver interface, is extremely practical and is fun to drive.

Last edited by rohanjf : 10th January 2016 at 06:35.
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Old 11th January 2016, 10:21   #4
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Default Re: My Skoda Rapid Spaceback (Australia) - 1.4L TSI with 7 speed DSG

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Initial Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 24th January 2016, 13:18   #5
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Exclamation Re: My Skoda Rapid Spaceback (Australia) - 1.4L TSI with 7 speed DSG

Nice review! Do I see the light stalks oriented in the correct way in this car? That is, the lights on the right and the wipers on the left? If yes, then why cannot they give the same orientation to the cars sold in India?

VW group does make some really nice cars, but the way they handle customers here in India, is only tarnishing their image here. I wish they would offer the same cars and same treatment to the Indian customers. Btw, I thought they sold the Rapid only as a sedan everywhere. And the red colour is my favourite too. Anyways, wish you many happy kilometres of driving and keep on posting the updates.
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Old 8th April 2016, 17:13   #6
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Default Re: My Skoda Rapid Spaceback (Australia) - 1.4L TSI with 7 speed DSG

There were two long weekends in March, so I had two opportunities to learn the car really well.

During the first long weekend, I drove to Flinders Ranges. The destination was about 500 KM far. From Adelaide to Port Augusta along the coast, and then into the outback to Rawnsley Park Station.

As we had to drive through the outback after sunset, the inevitable happened. A kangaroo jumped in my path, and I swerved right to avoid it. The kangaroo hit the car's left front door. My friends following me in another car told me that the kangaroo wasn't fortunate. But the car was. Even with a collision more than 100 kmph, there is only a small dent and a scratch on the left front door. Fortunately, the airbags didn't deploy.

The second trip was to Stawell, Victoria. I covered about 1400 km in total in this trip.

A few things I learnt about the car were:
- The car is perfect for 4 people. It has enough and more luggage space for 4 guys (but the equation may go for a toss when there are women involved).
- Ride quality and handling are just awesome. I guess this is expected anyway from a European car.
- Front seats are extremely comfortable. At times, I didn't even realise how many hours I had spent behind the wheel.
- The only problem with rear seats is, missing armrest. My fellow travellers had to use a backpack as armrest. There is enough legroom for rear passengers, even with front seats pushed fully back.
- I felt that the brakes are not all that effective when I have to stop from 110 kmph. For example, I noticed a kangaroo standing in the middle of the road and slammed the brakes during a day trip (I know slamming is not a problem, because of ABS and absence of gravel or dust particles on the road). The car took much longer than I expected to get to a manageable 60 kmph.
- There was quite a bit of road noise coming into the cabin in certain stretches of the road. And on certain other stretches, cabin was quite silent. I think that's because of the road quality and not the quality of the tyres. I have heard that South Australian roads are not all that great. I think that's right, after driving in Victoria.
- If front windows are closed and rear windows are opened while doing more than 80 kmph, they make an annoying sound. Either the drag is quite noticeable, it is in my head. But the sound will force you to ask the backseat passengers to shut the windows anyway.



Quote:
Originally Posted by W.A.G.7 View Post
Nice review! Do I see the light stalks oriented in the correct way in this car? That is, the lights on the right and the wipers on the left? If yes, then why cannot they give the same orientation to the cars sold in India?
Actually, no. Indicator stalk is on the left and wiper stalk is on the right.

Quote:
Originally Posted by W.A.G.7 View Post
Btw, I thought they sold the Rapid only as a sedan everywhere.
I guess Rapid sedan is specific to India, and is based on Vento. The international Rapid is based on Golf and is built on the new MQB platform. My car's manual says it is UK specific model. It even came with factory fitted tinted glass for rear windows and clear glass for front windows (like in UK). Makes sense to import UK specific models to Australia, considering that Skoda sold less than 4000 cars in Australia in 2014. Also, my car is made in Czech Republic, and thus is a CBU. I think all Skoda cars sold here are CBUs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by W.A.G.7 View Post
And the red colour is my favourite too. Anyways, wish you many happy kilometres of driving and keep on posting the updates.
Thank you!
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Old 18th April 2016, 09:13   #7
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Default Re: My Skoda Rapid Spaceback (Australia) - 1.4L TSI with 7 speed DSG

Hi Rohan, I am considering buying a car in Sydney. Would you recommend the Rapid for a family of 4 - me; wife; 9 year old son, normal seating; 3 year old girl, baby seat.
I am only looking for a hatch, automatic only as wife also needs to drive, small car is good enough as I want to keep the budget at check.

Its my first car in Australia. Any tips, guidelines would be helpful.
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