How do the 2020 Honda City and Škoda Rapid compare?

The Škoda Rapid and Honda City are cars that have an exclusive fan base for their attributes. The Rapid, from what I’ve seen, is an aspiring car for a lot of buyers. While these buyers may consider other cars like the Volkswagen Vento, they don’t usually look at the other brands. The Honda city buyer is more or less fixed about the Honda City, unless something really puts them off about the car or the car doesn’t have what they want.

The answer to the comparison question here depends completely on what you have in mind as preferences and how these cars are different. Since the 2020 Honda City and the Škoda Rapid are yet to be launched, let me draw a quick comparison of how they are likely to be:

1. DIESEL ENGINES

The 2020 Škoda Rapid aligns with Volkswagen-Skoda-Auto India’s no-diesel philosophy for the time being. So, the 1.5L 110 HP diesel engine in the Rapid is sure to be missed.

But Honda is marching ahead with the BS-6 version of the 1.5L 100 HP / 200 Nm diesel with the City, which will be powering the Amaze, Jazz and WR-V. (Jazz and WR-V are yet to be launched too).

Volkswagen and Skoda’s TDI diesel engines won’t be available anymore

2. DRIVING ENTHUSIASM

The Rapid’s (Polo’s and Vento’s too) 1.0L TSI is an engine that has a lot riding on it. This is an engine that is expected to somehow achieve middle-ground and give driving enthusiasts the feel of driving a diesel while burning petrol. Given how other TSIs are like, the 1.0L TSI should hit all the right notes. 6-speed MT gearbox is something to look forward to because with Volkswagen, it’s mostly the gearbox doing wonders. The 6-speed AT has a lot riding on it’s shoulders.

The City’s 1.5L N/A petrol engine is likely to be everyone’s comfort zone. It’s difficult to find someone who doesn’t enjoy the muted, refined thrum of the i-Vtec engine. The 5-speed MT and CVT gearboxes would continue. In a way, it’s great because it doesn’t expect a buyer to experiment.

But powertrain aside, the Rapid or Vento is likely to be the enthusiast’s favourite.

The 2020 Rapid with the 1.0L TSI is expected to be launched in May/June 2020.

3. SAFETY

The Honda City could lead when it comes to the features on offer. The top ZX trim is likely to offer 6-airbags whereas Vento and Rapid would stick to only 4.

But safety features side, build quality and confidence is something that has to appeal to you intuitively.

The Rapid and Vento get 4 airbags in their respective top trims.
The City’s 6 airbags set up in the top trim

4. FUEL ECONOMY

Generally, a 1.0L Turbo petrol and a 1.5L N/A petrol don’t see any major differences in fuel economy. With city driving conditions, the fuel economy is likely to be around 11–12 kmpl and on the highway around 15–16 kmpl.

It all depends on the consistency of the engine RPM and vehicle speed.

5. SERVICE AND MAINTENANCE

The City or the Rapid/Vento aren’t cars that come with a low cost of maintenance. The Rapid could cost you a premium to maintain given multiple parameters – grades of oil, items to replace and service. But Honda has a lot more market confidence in general given the number of service centres and touch points available.

6. RESALE VALUE

The City’s 1.5L petrol usually gets a good response in the used car market. A lot of people like it and would pay a reasonable sum for a well maintained City. In the case of the Rapid though, one has to wait and watch.

The City in Radiant Red colour.

The Rapid, in essence, expects a car buyer to go on an experimental ownership journey. But given the aspiration pull of the brand and the car, it could succeed.

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