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Ford EcoSport vs Skoda Rapid

Part three of our EcoSport mega-comparo where we compare it with cars of its own class and beyond...

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Wait, have you seen parts one and two of our EcoSport mega-comparo? You can catch the first part here and the second one here. Now read on...

If you tend to listen to your brain more than your heart, the Skoda Rapid will definitely appeal to you. Under that skin, it’s the tried-and-test VW Vento. With its spacious cabin, powerful engine and sound driving dynamics, it’s a very good overall package so you won’t need to look at any other car if you’ve been considering buying one. Until the EcoSport arrives.

The Rapid is much longer and more powerful than the EcoSport. And in the sedan segment, it gives almost all of its rivals a run for their money. But can the new kid on the block take down this well established sedan?

Well, it’s quite close on many counts. With a 1.6-litre diesel engine that churns out 104bhp and 250Nm, it’s much more powerful than the EcoSport’s 90bhp and 204Nm. And power delivery too is not a problem. The turbo lag is controlled neatly and there’s no sudden surge that’ll surprise you. The clutch is a bit heavy, but not enough to be a big concern.

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The engine is mated to slick five-speed manual tranny. The throws are short and smooth. And the ratios are well sorted. And it’s quite efficient too – 14.5kpl in mixed conditions. While the Rapid wins in terms of performance, the EcoSport’s high ground clearance and practical SUV usability come to the rescue of this little American.

Skoda has clearly worked on the ride when it adapted the Rapid from the Vento. It’s not as wallowy as the Vento’s, but even with that, it doesn’t absorb bumps as easily as the EcoSport does. And there’s roll around corners.

The Rapid never had a feature list to brag about, but Skoda recently launched a special edition with reversing cam and sensors, satnav and new faux leather seat covers. But it still lacks essentials like Bluetooth connectivity and steering-mounted controls.

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If you had to buy a car only on looks, you wouldn’t consider the Rapid. In its transition from the Vento, the Rapid has lost those sharp lines, and everything is now typical Skoda. Minus one for the Skoda then.

Also, Skoda hasn’t been too smart with the Rapid’s pricing, at least not as smart as Ford. With the oil burner under its hood, it starts at Rs 10.24 lakh and goes up to Rs 11.87 lakh (both on-road, Mumbai). So it’s a bit dearer than the EcoSport for the top-end variant.

The Rapid scores higher on performance, space and power but loses out to the EcoSport on ride quality, features, looks and price. Those, for me, are a bigger priority than outright power.

(Words: Agasti Kaulgi, Photos: Himanshu Pandya)

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The numbers

Skoda Rapid diesel
Price: Rs 11.87 lakh (on-road, Mumbai)
Engine: 1,598cc, 4cyl, turbo-diesel
Power: 104bhp
Torque: 250Nm
Gearbox: 5M
0-100kph: 10.9sec
Mileage: 14.5 kpl (overall)
TopGear Rating: 7/10

Ford EcoSport 1.5 diesel
Price: Rs 11.12 lakh (on-road, Mumbai)
Engine: 1,498cc, 4cyl, turbo-diesel
Power: 90bhp
Torque: 204Nm
Gearbox: 5M
0-100kph: 13.24sec
Mileage: 15.1 kpl (overall)
TopGear Rating: 8/10

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