Well, it can also be the Volkswagen Vento versus the Honda City, if you wish. But let's stick to the Skoda over here. Before we start, let's sort a little tiff between the VW Group cousins: both are virtually identical except for the cosmetic bits between the two. The Rapid is somewhat a better car over the Vento simply because of two factors: the gearing in the diesel is better and therefore is more driveable plus allows for better acceleration times (yes, it's quicker than the Vento TDI). Plus the suspension is set to be firmer, offering a better ride than the Vento's bouncy effect. Then of course, the Rapid is cheaper than the Veedub. So it is down to the brand from VW AG that you would like to be seen with. Now that this issue is sorted, let's look at what happens when the City enters the field.
For that - sorry to do this to you - we have to take you back to our previous comparisons when we pitted the City against the Vento. Essentially, the verdict in that was if you want a petrol sedan, go for the City and if you can afford or want a diesel, then the Vento is better. Similarly, we would recommend the same thing over here, despite the Rapid being a better car than the Vento. When it comes to petrol, the City is overall the better car compared to the Skoda. There's no need to discuss regarding the diesel version - the Rapid diesel is a terrific car, no doubt about it.
So why is the City petrol better than the Rapid petrol? Couple of strong reasons. The engine is effervescent and frugal - we don't know how Honda does it, but it makes the City great fun to drive and easy on the pocket too. It looks great despite the impending facelift and interior packaging is excellent - liberating leg room and head room all around. The City's steering feel is also bang-on and it handles crisply. However bad roads tend to throw it off kilter, and here's where the Rapid easily wins. The Rapid handles bad roads easily and it is much more capable over dirty roads. The Rapid is easier to get in and get out as opposed to the low-slung City. Steering feel is good, but the Rapid's petrol unit is no match for the refinement of the Honda. The quality of plastics in the Skoda seem a little compromised compared to the City. As regards the automatic petrols, there is no discussion - the City is far ahead of the Rapid's AT version. So net net, the City wins the battle again, but with the diesel Rapid, it's another ballgame...