Skoda in India can do better; much better in fact. After all, its sister company, Volkswagen came to the Indian party much later, but has managed to gain more flavour already. Skoda believes, one car could set all this right and that is the Rapid. Rapid, is a new entry-level, C-segment sedan from Skoda that will sit between the Fabia and the Laura. And this is what it’s all about – Highlights – - The Rapid comes in three trim levels – the Active, the Ambition and the Elegance. Also, all three versions can be bought with either a diesel or a petrol engine coupled to a 5-speed manual gearbox. In addition, the Ambition and the Elegance can also be ordered with a 6-speed conventional automatic ‘box. - The Rapid is heavily based on the VW Vento. So, if you have ever been inside the VW, you will find the Rapid all too familiar. In fact, it also comes with Vento’s unique feature of adjusting the front passenger seat from the rear. - The pricing for the Rapid is expected to be close to Rs 6 lakh. - Both the petrol and diesel engine displace the same engine capacity of 1.6-litre, and make an identical power output of 105bhp. The torque naturally is much higher on the diesel. - The Rapid will be competition for the likes of the Swift Dzire, the Etios and the Sunny rather than the Vento. GOOD THINGS-- Interior space, ride and handling, drivetrain options, seats, well specced mid variant BAD THINGS-- 6-speed auto is lacklustre, interiors are a tad too similar to the Vento’s, only driver side airbag in the Ambition trim There’s no denying that the Rapid has a new, distinct face compared to the car it is based on, the Volkswagen Vento. The headlamps, the grille, the front bumper as well as the hood are all completely different from the VW and resemble the Fabia more. At the rear, the boot lid has an additional design line on both sides of the number plate and the insides of the tail lamps are more Skoda-like too. The outer shell for the tail lamp though is identical to the Vento’s. The rest of the car remains unchanged too compared to the Vento and the same is amply clear when one views the Rapid in profile. Inside, things remain the same as well. The dashboard, the AC vents, the door trims and even the climate control interface is identical to the Vento. What’s different though is the steering. However, like the Vento, even the top of the line Elegance trim doesn’t get steering mounted controls. But additionally, unlike the Vento, it’s not leather wrapped either. The clocks too are different and house a comprehensive trip computer. Also, instead of chrome trimming all round, Skoda has decided to go in for a glossy black finish. So the surrounds of the AC vents as well as trimming around the central console is gloss black. Moreover, the Rapid Elegance gets a new stereo compared to the Volkswagen. Now, there’s not much perceivable difference in the sound quality, but having an aux-in as well as an SD card reader, are big improvements compared to the Vento. Sadly, it still misses out on some crucial features. Bluetooth for instance is something cars costing much less now feature and should have been there on the Rapid as well. What is a big positive for the Rapid, nonetheless, is a well endowed mid variant, the Ambition. Now, we would have preferred both driver and passenger airbags or no airbags at all rather than one just for the driver, but that apart, having ABS, front and rear fog lamps, height adjustable driver seat and a central rear armrest are practical features for which one doesn’t have to necessarily pay more and buy the Elegance. What adds to it is the standard list of features which are also there on the Active trim. Things like front and rear power windows with one touch operation, rear AC vents, adjustable central front armrest with stowage and rake and reach adjustable steering, make the Rapid a very user friendly car. Skoda clearly is betting big on the Rapid. Now, for most companies, the smaller, hatchbacks do better business in sales terms, than larger sedans. But, lately, as we have seen with Volkswagen as well as Toyota, it’s the sedans that are selling more. Skoda too would be hoping the Rapid does more numbers than the Fabia to bring the Czech carmaker back into reckoning. As for the car buyer, what you get with the Rapid are all the pluses we have appreciated the Vento for; things like good ride and handling, good seats all round, decent passenger and luggage space and ease of driving. Additionally, you get a better music system, a more distinctive looking car and most importantly, for all this, you pay less compared to the VW.