Companies sometimes get confused as to what they want to do with a particular product. They might take the product off the shelf, only to bring it back a while later. At times, one could attribute this to genuine reasons such as low demand or end of production. On the other hand, brands like to use the ‘shock & awe’ technique to rekindle buyers’ interest. In the Skoda Rapid Rider’s story, the latter may be the case. For those who aren’t aware, the Rider used to be the base variant of the Skoda Rapid mid-size sedan in India. That was until, for reasons not yet clear, the Czech automaker decided to discontinue it back in December 2020.
Being the most affordable variant of the Rapid, this sudden decision might not have gone down too well with buyers. Thankfully, it seems that Skoda has done a 180 on its decision and relaunched the Rapid Rider once again. It now starts at Rs 7.79 Lakh (ex-showroom, India), making it Rs 30,000 more expensive than before, but that’s alright. Compared to the Rider Plus variant which starts from Rs 8.19 Lakh, this is still the cheapest Skoda Rapid in the country. What is even more surprising about the Rapid Rider is the fact that it is cheaper to buy than many of its closest rivals. For example, the Volkswagen Vento (basically the OG version of the Rapid), starts from Rs 9.09 Lakh.
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The Skoda Rapid Rider also undercuts base variants of the Honda City and Hyundai Verna with room to spare. In India, the new City starts from Rs 10.90 Lakh, whilst the Verna comes in at Rs 9.03 Lakh. As you can see, the Skoda Rapid holds a clear price advantage over its fellow segment mates. So it definitely made sense for the automaker to bring back its top-selling car to the market. And while it is priced aggressively, do not assume that Skoda has stripped the Rapid of all its equipment.
There is definitely some cost-cutting measures employed to make the Rider variant’s price tag possible, but they are not extreme in nature. Its equipment list includes electrically-operated door mirrors, automatic climate control with rear vents, steering wheel with reach & rake adjustment, power windows, and a 2-DIN audio system with Bluetooth connectivity.
Furthermore, Skoda has installed the Rapid Rider variant with safety measure like rear parking sensors, Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), dual front airbags, and a rear windscreen defogger. In short, you shouldn’t feel short-changed if you choose to buy the Rapid’s most affordable variant. The Rider avatar of the Skoda Rapid comes with a 1.0-liter turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine that develops 108hp and 175Nm of torque. This three-popper is connected to the front wheels via a 6-speed manual transmission. Sure, the higher Rider Plus variant scores a fancy touchscreen infotainment system and some stickers on the outside. But then again, you do have to pay about Rs 40,000 more for that. So as far as value is concerned, the base Rapid Rider is yet to be dethroned.