Caught between the Volkswagen Polo & Skoda Rapid 1.0 TSI

Now as I am getting more time to analyze my decision and at the same time reading all the Rapid and Polo reviews on the forum, I am wondering is it prudent to reconsider the Rapid given the fact that it is more practical car to live with.

BHPian thisissoumya recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

I am in market looking for our second car. This will share the garage with the Duster 110 AMT I currently own. I always wanted to own a Polo GT TSI and if VW still had the DSG, I would have gone for it eyes closed. However, the new 1L TSI is available with manual and TC. Went for TD and found the manual much more fun than the torque converter (even in sports mode). I am still not sure why this happened as many ownership reviews on the forum praise the new auto gearbox. The only issue with Polo was the rear space, it felt very cramped and my wife felt a little claustrophobic at the rear due to the high window line. This could also be due to the large windows of the Duster she is used to.

Next I went to TD the Rapid as it has the same motor with more space at the rear and larger boot. I was ready to stretch the budget marginally if Rapid provides similar driving pleasure as Polo. I took a 7-8 Km long TD. Though the outright performance was brilliant, I found the low end grunt of the Rapid MT annoying as compared to the Polo. I mean the turbo lag is noticeable in both the cars but I felt as if the Polo had more juice in the 1200-1500 RPM band which is much more drivable than the Rapid. The in-gear acceleration also felt sluggish in Rapid. Has anyone noticed this? I was looking for the ONYX model and the dealership also didn’t offer a good price so I dropped the idea without further negotiating.

I went back to VW Thane and booked the manual highline plus on 8th March. Post that. the SA kept telling me since that they don’t have Flash red in stock and they will only receive it in April 1st week when they get their allocation. I chased them again on 5th April and the response was to wait for another 3-4 days as they had not received allocation. In the meanwhile, the Lockdown in Mumbai was announced and everything is on hold till the restrictions are lifted.

Now as I am getting more time to analyze my decision and at the same time reading all the Rapid and Polo reviews on the forum, I am wondering is it prudent to reconsider the Rapid given the fact that it is more practical car to live with. I usually take at least 2 long road trips a year, which won’t be possible in Polo. Yes, I can always take the Duster but given the high speed manners of the TSI motor, it will be better one to take on a road trip. It’s the city drivability of the Rapid against Polo that I am concerned with along with the 2.5 big ones budget stretch. So, my question is should I reconsider the Rapid and how much is its incremental turbo lag vis a vis Polo? This point is really important as it will be my daily drive in moderate traffic.

I am not interested in the Rider variant and hence is it ok to stretch the budget by 2.5 lakhs and get the ONYX model as a second car or should I save it to replace the Duster (5 years old with 45K on ODO) when I do that in future? Just for the record, I don’t mind owning a 10 year old model as long as it is fun to drive with decent list of features.

Should I also take a look at the Rapid AT (budget will stretch further of course) to mask the low end lag? I read a few owners saying the AT is better to drive in city, on the other hand there are owners stating that city driving is just a matter of a learning curve. Just creating more confusion in mind.

Please suggest.

Here's what BHPian lamborghini had to say on the matter:

The Rapid Auto could be worth checking out as it would resolve some issues:

1) Lower end turbo lag would be masked by the torque converter gearbox

2) For moderate traffic in Mumbai, it could be worth the investment to get the auto for peace of mind: would be a good balance between fun to drive and convenience. However MT will be the enthusiast choice undoubtedly and if you're ok with changing gears - I'd put that aside for an auto option of whatever replaces the Duster and keep the Rapid as a fun choice.

3) As you rightly said, if your long trips see a lot of expressway & good roads, the Rapid will be much more fun to drive for 8 months / year (eg: Mahabaleshwar, Pune, etc.). The Duster will still be the choice during monsoons and where last mile connectivity is horrid (eg: Shillim, etc.). The Rapid would still do it but the Duster would conquer it.

4) Choosing trims: Depends on what you need. If its the cosmetic goodies like Alloys, spoiler, etc. : You could get the Rider and do it up; but if it's stuff that would involve opening up the car (dash / seats / electronics), I prefer OEM just because the quality & finish is generally better (no rattles, no scratches, etc.).

As an option, how about the slower selling Vento? Do give it a try. The same dealer may be happy to upgrade and offer you a deal. Do check with other dealers as well for their best offer.

I personally found Skoda service to be better than VW but not a huge difference, all boils down to getting a good SA.

Here's what BHPian pvivek2 had to say on the matter:

You might find the answer to Polo/Rapid, in the exact need/purpose for the second car - is it intended for use by another family member/or as a pure enthusiast choice etc. Given that you mentioned that at least a few road trips will be taken in the TSI, then it's Rapid hands down for the more practical rear space and the boot.

On the other questions,

(1) Will leave that to the experts, since I haven't driven the Polo extensively

(2) Yes, the Onyx makes more sense - for me where it scored significantly over the Rider was steering mounted controls, the 16" clubber alloys, DRLs, the leather wrapped flat bottom steering wheel and the touchscreen infotainment (though this comes in Rider Plus also). And not to mention, there will be zero discounts on Rider and Rider Plus while Ambition/Onyx are usually flush with discounts during quarter/year ends.

(3) I came from an NA petrol to my first ever turbo engine and thus felt the lag initially in my Onyx AT, but after 4000 km now, I can safely say that this is not an issue - I find the car equally comfortable to drive within the city (the convenience of the auto gearbox in Bangalore traffic is a savior actually). Though of course the fun is on the highways.

Definitely do TD the auto gearbox once.

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