This is my first ownership thread here at Team BHP. Kindly excuse me for any mistakes and my not so good creative writing skills.
PROLOGUE: Why a new car:
I bought my first car in the year 2016 and it was a white Renault Kwid. The car taught me a lot of things about automobiles, introduced me to this wonderful forum and above all, I learned driving in that very car.
The ownership experience was a mixed bag of hits and misses. Though it never left me stranded anywhere, it developed some problems every now and then. Even when it was rear ended by an XUV500, I drove it for 300 kms to reach home and then eventually to ASC for repair. For me and my wife, it was our first big purchase. From our honeymoon to my baby girl's first birthday, it served us well.
The accident somehow made me think harder on the safety aspect of Kwid and it really triggered the quest to buy a safer and better car. The Requirements:
I really didnot think much about the segment I would dive in to buy my next car. It could have been a sedan, a hatch, a cross over, a compact sedan or a full fledged sedan including the likes of Seltos and Harrier. Criteria were just three:
1) A solid built
car with as many airbags and ABS. Reference point was Kwid with 0 stars, 0 airbags and no ABS.
2) It has to drive well, Well to keep me happy on twisties and highways. Kwid lacked everything which has anything minutely related to the word: Enthusiast.
3) Diesel was favorable, drove diesel cars and loved the torque on offer. Somewhere in my mind, I thought in another 10 years or so, EVs would be norm and this is the right time to enjoy diesel clatters. Test Drives: a) Ford Aspire:
Six airbags, solid built quality and 1.5L solid punchy diesel engine. Sortlisted and then rejected. Wify didnot like the rear seats and the front facia. b) Ford Ecosport:
I rented one Ecosport from Zoomcar which had 55k on the odometer and boy, it drove well. Fantastic condition for a car which could have been abused by customers everyday. Not even a rattle from anywhere. Took a couple of test drives again and apart from the hard clutch, rest everything felt at home. The rear space was not an issue for us since our family members are not on the larger side of the spectrum. SHORTLISTED. c) Mahindra XUV300:
Loved the engine and pickup. The white interiors felt roomy helped further by the sunroof. The price was on the higher side and the boot space was mediocre. We were spoilt for choice since Kwid had more space than xuv300 could offer. However, SHORTLISTED. d) Tata Nexon:
Loved everything about the interior. Wife rejected the design. I rejected the car because of the low end jerkiness. It was real pain to drive in Delhi traffic. The decision to reject the car was hard until the service advisor said something which irked me to the core. When I gave him this feedback about the jerkiness at low rpms, he simply put the blame on me and said " Sir, you drive Kwid. This car has more power. You need to learn how to handle big car".
I said thank you and asked him not to call me again. e) Kia Seltos:
The diesel HTK, I guess was my pick for 9.99 lacs ex showroom. Called them multiple time for test drives, none came. REJECTED. Though my colleague bought one the same month I bought mine and the car looked great until the NCAP came. Glad I gave it a miss. f) Tata Harrier:
Fantastic view of the road, a monster of a car but didnot felt like I was driving a humongous vehicle of that size. I was at feeling at home within 10 mins and loved it. Persuaded my wife for it. Rejected due to budget issues. The second base model was reaching somewhere around 18 lacs on road. G) Skoda Rapid 1.5 TDI
I was always a fan of how these German siblings looks like. Have been a huge fan of Octavia. For me, it had the right proportions of width and length and design to make anyone look twice to appreciate how good that thing looks. The facelift that rapid got put the same gorgeous face onto it and it started looking great with those blackend projectors and DRLs. I randomly gave Arya Skoda, Delhi a call and within a couple of hours, a red Monte Carlo was there outside my office for TD.
Test drove it and boy, I instantly fell in love with it. The way the steering weighs up, the solid thud of the door and the power band after the turbo kicks in was an absolute joy to experience. SHORTLISTED. The finalist:
It was a tough fight between Ford Ecosport and Skoda Rapid. XUX300 fell behind because it looked too pricey for what it had to offer. My Kwid was evaluated and I was given a quote just 80K from Ford! I called the Skoda dealership and guess what? I was given Rs. 1.85 lacs as buyback offer and additional discounts which were going on during the month of Dec 2019. After a detailed discussion with Wife, Skoda Rapid it was, our new member who was to join our family.
The DSG Monte Carlo, my personal favorite was crossing 14 lacs on road, somewhere under the territory of base Harrier or Mid Seltos models. Very expensive for the package. DSG woes steered me away from automatics. The Style variant was another 1 lacs more than Ambition and had some nice to have features. Out of those, only cruise control and 4 airbags was something I wanted badly. Settled for the mid variant Ambition which for me was absolute value for money. A quick summary based on my experience so far: Likes
- Power and Torque! 110bhp and 250NM. A promotion from 53 BHP and 72NM feels real deal.
- Excellent performance and handling on the highway. Its rock-solid at good speeds.
- Fairly sorted suspension, I say. The ride is definitely stiffer than plush at slow speeds. At moderate speeds and above, uneven surfaces are absorbed well.
- Good low speed torque on offer. 2nd gear is more than enough for crawling city conditions.
- Smooth gear shifts. I wont add VERY adjective to it. Gotten smoother as kms are climbing.
- Clutch is not very light, neither too hard. No complaints there.
- Braking is good but the feedback isn't. Had a mini heart attack once when I thought the car wouldn't stop but it did.
- A nice and meaty steering. It has a nice grip and leather wrapped too. Weighs Up nicely on highways and feels direct on twisties.
- Quickly got adjusted to the driving position and no ergonomic issues as well.
- Excellent build quality.
- Interior quality is good. Though not up to the levels of newer cars in the market, but the fit and finish is top notch.
- AC works really well.
- The newer facelift is a looker.
- The service interval duration is every 15K Kms which may look great on paper, but not sure of its practicality in Indian conditions.
- Beige interiors with fabric seats. Gets dirty and compelled me to go for seat covers earlier than expected.
- A feature which I miss everyday are auto folding rear view mirrors. I have to always turn the knob before and after drives. The knob quality doesnot feel solid either.
- No Engine guard. Though it is covered by plastic/ABS bits in a lot of places, but a full metal or ABS cover would have been better.
- Cruise Control. Not a deal-breaker but a good feature to have these days.
- Buttons in the steering wheel. Mine got broken within a couple of months and got replaced under warranty. That small scroller isn't available as standalone part and the entire unit cost freaking 13K. More information is in this thread.
https://www.team-bhp.com/forum/india...ml#post4897471 (2016 Skoda Rapid Facelift : A Close Look)
- Underbelly hits. Under full load, if not careful results in few hits. But only on mountain like speedbreakers and moon like craters.
- Suspension again. It is very very noisy and the thud on speeds breakers feels like the dashboard would fall apart. You have to low down on bad roads, period. Like bread and butter, the combination feels great when doing highways speeds and you have smooth roads.
Booking and Delivery
The booking experience and until delivery, the process was as smooth as one could have imagined with Arya Skoda, our dealership. Did I just write smooth and Skoda in one sentence? Please watch for the fly in the ointment.
We booked the Steel Grey color as commanded by Wifey. My car got to the dealership within 10 days and probably the last ones from 1.5 TDI versions for the year before the manufacturing was to be halted for annual maintenance of plants. Got my car delivered on Jan 16, as I was away at my hometown. A couple of great friends of mine did the PDI on my behalf and I am forever indebted to them. The Goof Up:
Everything was smooth until I got the registration message from RTO. I had paid 1.49 lacs to the dealership as RTO fees. The problem was Skoda did reduce the Ex showroom prices during December 2019 to Rs 9.99 lacs and the actual RTO was just Rs. 93K. I did question the dealership during booking and they in fact did a conference call with RTO agent and the agent confirmed that the registration charges were indeed Rs 1.49 lacs. The discount of around 1.2 lacs was being given to me on final On-road instead of reducing the ex-showroom price by that amount. Now what?
Called the dealership and as you can expect, no solid response from them on returning my money. I could have waited but then patience and me are not on friendly taking terms.
Some dicey answers for a couple of days until I wrote to Zac Hollis. Got a reply from the man himself in flat 5 mins and within 2 hours, the dealership guys called me and asked for forgiveness and emailed me the photocopy of the cheque they were going to reverse it to me.
Apart from the goof up, the guys at Arya Skoda are extremely friendly and good to deal with. The service center guys did impress me and they indeed were miles ahead of the Renault dealers I dealt with all these years. The Car and The Journey so far: Driving Comfort
- Coming from humble Kwid, it feel BIGG for a car. However, it didnot take long to come in terms of its dimensions. A couple of drives is what it took to make me comfortable.
- Driving the diesel Rapid is an absolute joy. When you are in turbo zone, this thing flies. When stuck in traffic, you dont need too many gear shifts as well.
- The overall view from mirrors provides you with sufficient information. Not ever did I miss any close bikers or cars.
- I did 3 long - very long drives. Two 1500kms non-stop drives. Not once it felt stretched. Very comfortable to munch miles on this car. But mind you, the road has to be good. Else you have to slow down.
- The height adjustment of the driver seat plus reach and rack adjustment available provides a very good driving posture as well as view of the road ahead.
- The Apple car play is a boon. I get all my relevant apps and maps replicated there without hassles. The cable also serves as fast charger.
- The manual auto dimming mirrors does it job.
- When you accidently forget to turn off the interior lights, locking the car automatically turns off all the lights. However when you have your parking lights on, the rear lamps and DRLs remain on. Nice to have feature so that others can notice your parked car from a distance.
- Though the instrument cluster is dated, it shows all the relevant information. Nothing less, nothing extraordinary.
- Not all that glitters is gold. the reference is apt for the headlights. This things looks absolutely gorgeous in design. Equally bad in light output. With stock setup, forget night driving in rains and bad lighting conditions. More on this later. The headlamps do fog up occasionally as well.
- The stock wheels looks kinda bland for my taste. Would go for aftermarket wheels when this set of tyres would require a replacement.
- Simply Put: Fantastic. Good low speed grunt. Personality changes completely once you are in turbo zone.
- Highway overtakes are effortless. If you are cruising at 100-120kmph, the RPM is around 2200-2500 well within the turbo zone. So a little dab at accelerator peddle is what it takes for that effortless overtake.
- I drove non-stop for 6 hours and around 600 kms. Not once the temperature went over 90į (degrees).
- The engine is not the quietest among all the 1.5L. The noise isolation and overall NVH level are at acceptable levels. The diesel humming is there always, but clearly audible only when you have the RPMS crossing 3500. Hardly required for diesels to push that far always.
No car is perfect. Even if it is, there are few things the owner wants to change to his/her liking. Hence here goes my list of changes I did to my car. a) Seat covers, Car Stylein, Cost Rs 13K:
Got art leather seat covers from Car Stylein. They did a professional installation and I am extremly happy with the job done. Probably would go for real leather after a few years as I am planning to keep the car for as long as I can. b) HID Kit, Fe Retrofit, cost 13K:
The headlamps are probably the weakest links in the car and completely takes away the fun driving at night. So much so that once in a rainy night, I had to take a halt on the side of highway as I could not see a thing. I took a plunge and got H7 HID kit fitted in the low beams. They are completely plug and play and are from the FE Retrofits. I couldnot believe what a drastic change that made to my night driving. The cost of the kit was 13K. c) Ceramic Coating, Detailing Devils, Pitampura, Cost 20k:
Done within the first month itself from Detailing Devils, Pitampura. Personally, I found it very useful and rewarding. The car still shines under lights. Will get the annual touch up and detailing done within this month. Costed me 20K for 5 years. d) Horns, Skoda ASC, Cost Rs 4.5K:
How can a German cousin not sound like a German? I got the horns replaced with Skoda Octavia horns from ASC itself during one of the visits. e) Continental MC5, 195/60/R15:
Got my Goodyears replaced within a few hundred kms with Continental shoes. After exchange, I had to shell out 9.5K extra. f) Audio Upgrade:
Since this is a very vast field to explore, taking it slow and steady. Invested in front Components from Mercury, C-165 from Motor concept, Delhi. Absolutely plug and play. The stock audio was decent but lacked clarity. The next upgrades shall include an amplifier and a sub-woofer. The doors were dampened as well. The vocals now are much richer and I can hear a lot of instruments which were missing earlier. Quite content with the setup so far. g) Boot Lifter:
A very small DIY, which costed me just Rs. 10. I added one small bike spring to the stuck opener spring to add a little more repulsive force whenever I press the boot opener button. My boot now opens fully. f) Dashcam : DDPAI Mola N3 GPS.
Found the video quality very good for the price along with GPS info. Being capacitor based, I hope it should work fine for Delhi temperatures and doesnot fail sometime soon. g) Fog Lamps
Upgraded the fog lamps to 55 watts halogen and adjusted the beams a little higher. Compliments the low beams much better now. h) VCDS Tweaks
Got a generic VCDS cable from Aliexpress. Only half of the modules were reachable to adjust, rest were not working. Got the wiper coding changed to get a wipe more after a delay. Turned on the locking and un-locking beeps. To my surprise, the beeps use a different horn, the alarm system probably to produce the sounds. Not the usual stock windtone horns which is good. Otherwise my entire neighborhood would wake up every time I lock/unlock my car. Planned upgrades: 1) Better brakes:
EBC slotted disk and yellow pads, waiting for stock disc and pads to wear out. 2) Better Suspension:
Maybe a Bilstein B4 or B6. After a couple of years. Tired of the suspension lubrication thing and noise every couple of thousand kms. 3) Remap:
After end of standard warranty or until my head looses to my heart. Service Cost and Extended Warranty:
I bought the maintenance plan and the extended warranty for Rs. 33000 and Rs. 35000 respectively to have peace of mind. Simply Clever, NO?
Got the first service done free of cost and I was quite content with the job done. Niggles faced so far: 1) The steering mounted buttons:
They somehow broke within the first month of ownership itself and then the lock down happened. Got it replace from ASC within warranty. 2) Steering rack/ Suspension Noise:
There is a strange clunk noise, some metallic rubbing noise which comes from below steering column after every long drives of 200-300kms and involving rough roads. The sound magically disappears after a couple of weeks and reappears after drives. I took couple of thorough test drives during my annual service but couldnot replicate the sound.
The advisor said this could be from Suspension joints which he lubed. Worked only untill my next long drive Any advise from reputed members will be highly appreciated. Long Drives so far:
a) Did Delhi- Mussourie just before lock down.
b) Delhi to Cooch Behar, West Bengal and back: An absolute test of my driving capability. Did these journeys non stop as I didnot want to take any chances during covid times. Delhi to Siliguri which is roughly 1500 kms in 28 hours and the return in 25 hours.
Now writing this post from Cooch Behar, West Bengal. Which means I am back after another 1700 kms drive. The way this thing munches mile is simply amazing. Delhi to Lucknow which is around 550 kms from my house in flat 6.15 hours. EPILOGUE:
It has been an absolute amazing fun filled year with the car. Though there are a few niggles, the positives overshadow them.
Before you ask kitna deti hai
, it is around 22kmpl in highways with 4 persons and fully loaded boot. I usually get around 26kmpl during my solo weekend drives to cricket stadiums /grounds. A snapshot of mileage when you are lazily cruising around on open highways.
The color is a lot hard to keep in pristine condition and keeps picking up small scratches every now and then. Even someone writing their names on the dusty car leaves marks. In country like ours, you can hardly negate those. Overall, I think I got the upgrade which I was looking for.
Leaving you all with my garage pic, until next update