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Skoda Rapid 1.5 TDI DSG
We recently got to grips with Volkswagen’s new 1.5-litre TDI motor in the refreshed Polo, and now, the VW Group is at it again, having popped the same 103bhp, turbocharged four-pot diesel into the Skoda Rapid’s engine bay. But, unlike the Polo, which received a minor facelift, the main changes for the Skoda are strictly mechanical. The new 1.5 TDI engine, which displaces 100cc less than the older 1.6 diesel unit, generates and sends 103bhp and 250Nm of torque (as much power as the 1.6) to the front wheels in a sprightly manner. But, the clatter from the motor is still present.
Also, in addition to the 5-speed manual gearbox that the Rapid comes with, Skoda is offering an optional 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox (DSG), making it the only manufacturer apart from Hyundai and big brother VW to offer the diesel-automatic combo in its segment. Skoda claims the Rapid, with the DSG ’box, is 5 per cent more fuel-efficient than the saloon with the manual gearbox.
We drove the DSG version in Goa, and found it to be quite relaxed, with the engine responding fairly well to throttle inputs. The gearbox seemed a bit hesitant to downshift automatically when we opted to drive a bit enthusiastically. The manual Rapid, too, delivered a seamless drive, and proved to be an agile handler. Do note that the DSG isn’t offered with the 1.2 TSI variants of the Rapid.
Besides the slightly chunkier-looking alloys, there’s nothing that distinguishes the updated car from the older one on the outside. Not even the badging. In fact, the diesel car now misses out on TDI badging. The interior of the Rapid exudes trademark Skoda build quality. The steering wheel, which has been taken from the facelifted Yeti, feels nice to to hold and grip. We now see a bit of a change in the Rapid’s trim-level ranks, too. The lower variants now get 15-inch steel wheels in place of the 14s. You also have the option of buying the mid-level Ambition variant with the DSG ’box.
Prices for the Rapid diesel DSG start at about ?1 lakh over the price of the Ambition and Elegance trims with the manual ‘box at ?10.76 lakh for the Ambition and ?11.11 lakh for the Elegance. A ‘Black Package’, with mostly cosmetic tweaks, will make you shell out around ?15-17,000 more. Although the car could have done with more creature comforts, what it has going for it is the way it drives, which is now much easier with the 7-speeder, the way it handles, and how well put together it feels.
4cyl, 1498cc, 103bhp, 250Nm, 7A, 21.6kpl*, 1210kg, ?11.11 lakh (Elegance TDI DSG, ex-showroom, Mumbai)
DSG provides the convenience that not many other competitors do