Nissan Sunny vs Skoda Rapid camparison reviews features specifications

Nissan Sunny vs Skoda Rapid camparison reviews features specifications

new nissan sunny and skoda rapid
After we drove new Nissan Sunny in petrol guise, we felt with a diesel engine under its hood, the new car may become a sure shot winner. But when the Sunny diesel was finally launched at the end of the last year, the company priced it a bit too ambitiously. It�s a probably a reflection of confidence Nissan has in its new mid sizer which is poised to turn fortunes of company around. So will customers see Sunny in the same light? Let�s remember that this car deftly straddles the lower & upper ends of the mid size segment, but now in diesel guise, it comes perilously close to the more upmarket Skoda Rapid, which is our current champ. So is the addition of a frugal diesel to the practical Sunny worth the extra money? Or does it make sense to fork out around Rs 25000/- more for the Rapid?

Looks matter

With its class leading 2600mm wheelbase, the Sunny is a very big car, but what is astonishing is that despite its size, it is a full 108kg lighter than the Rapid which is a great tribute to Nissan�s lightweight V platform on which the Micra hatch is also based. The Sunny�s big dimensions & splashes of chrome give it a distinctive & mature stance,  &  from many angles it looks like a mini Teana. The large rear houses a spacious 490 litre boot, but the downside to this is a massive rear overhang which ruins the car�s proportions. The bulging bumper  &  thin tyres don�t help,  &  when viewed from the rear it looks quite odd.

The Skoda Rapid on the other hand has none of these problems. The Rapid is basically a Volkswagen Vento with the traditional Skoda nose stuck on it. But it does look attractive in the flesh  &  the combination of a large grille in the company of a chrome strip  &  big headlights lends it character. The side of the car remains unchanged, which means the Rapid, like the Vento has a rather boring profile, but it looks more balanced than the Nissan. The altered bootlid, taillights  &  rear bumper don�t look out of place either. While the Sunny looks more distinctive the Skoda definitely has better proportions.


New nissan sunny interior view
The Sunny diesel�s interiors reveal no significant changes over the petrol model  &  hence feel very familiar. In fact, there are lots of Micra carry overs like the entire dashboard � only the music system  &  central air con vents are different. The interior plastics don�t feel as rich as the Rapid�s  &  some of the buttons don�t have a quality feel either. But there are plenty of good bits too. The chrome highlights look good  &  the big AC controls are easy to use. Also, the driving position is slightly elevated  & , thanks to the skinny A pillars  &  large glass area, visibility is really good. This makes life in crowded streets much more manageable. A more supportive front seat would have been welcomed, though. Also, the grey colour of the dash looks a bit dull  &  the Sunny�s cabin could have done with some richer textures.

new skoda rapid interior view
The Skoda Rapid�s interiors are all but identical in design to the VW Vento with similar quality levels that are a notchabove the Sunny�s. Overall, the plastics feel rich but there are some low rent surfaces on the door trim  &  the lower dash. This saloon, made for emerging markets like India, clearly isn�t built to the same uncompromising standards as other Skodas, but next to the Sunny it�s a cut above.

The Rapid�s ergonomics are spot on.  The driving position is really comfortable with the steering, seats, pedals  &  gear lever positioned exactly where you want them to be. We also loved the front seats, which have generous thigh support & cushioning with just the right amount of firmness. The Rapid has the most comfortable rear seat as well. Again, thigh support is good  &  you are sat at a decent height. The backrest is a touch too upright though. The Sunny may have more rear space than the Rapid, but the seat itself lacks sufficient thigh support & the seat squab is a bit too short as well.

The Sunny gets one back in being the better equipped of the two. It comes with steering mounted controls, climate control & auto folding mirrors � features absent on the Rapid. The Rapid is the more sparsely equipped, despite having features like the clever lever behind the front passenger seat that allows the rear seat passenger to push the front seat forward.

Engine, gearbox  &  performance

The Sunny uses the same 1461cc common rail motor as the Micra, but it has been tuned for more power & now produces  a healthy 84bhp  &  20.39kgm of torque. Initial engine response is good  &  there�s very little turbo lag. This engine�s petrol like linear power deliver makes it extremely easy to drive in town. Even on the highway, it doesn�t feel out of breath thanks to strong mid range performance,  &  the Sunny cruises very well. But past 3800rpm the engine doesn�t have too much to give  &  it�s best to short shift to keep the engine in the meat of its powerband. With power tapering off early, you have a narrow band to play with & the Sunny�s outright performance is a far cry from the Rapid�s. Our timing equipment confirms this � the car takes 12.89 seconds to reach 100kph  &  this figure, though respectable on its own, looks ordinary next to the Rapid�s, which is a good 1.4 seconds quicker. The Sunny�s motor however is quite refined  &  it�s only when you work it hard that it sounds like a diesel.

The Skoda�s 1.6 litre diesel is marginally bigger, but it�s significantly more powerful than the Sunny�s Renault sourced K9K motor. But in traffic, the Sunny�s linear power delivery is easier to cope with than the Rapid�s sudden power spike past 1800rpm. However, the Rapid always feels like it has a surplus of power. Throttle response is crisp, the VW EA 189 motor is free revving  &  power doesn�t suddenly fall off. There is a constant surge till the engine runs out of revs. Drive the Rapidon the highway  &  it lives up to its name. It�s an effortless cruiser  &  the potent mid range gives it very effective overtaking capability.

The Rapid�s biggest drawback is the sharp diesel clatter it has at idle. Once on the move, the engine smoothens out, but even then it�s loud enough to remind you that there is an oil burner under the hood.

On the road

new nissan sunny rear view
Both cars have a similar independent front  &  non independent rear suspension layouts, but variations in their setup means there is nothing similar about how they behave on the road. The Sunny�s ride feels a bit skittish at low speeds  & d though the front suspension is stiffened on the diesel version, it never feels as pliant as it should. You can also hear the suspension thump through the light body. At speed though, the Sunny�s ride evens out  &  it feels pretty flat  &  consistent. Straight line stability is impressive too & the Nissan feels composed even at three digit speeds. Like its looks, there is nothing sporty about the way the Sunny attacks corners. Its handling feels safe  &  predictable with decent body control  &  no nasty surprises. But it simply doesn�t have a surplus of grip or a communicative steering,  &  it�s certainly not a car that enjoys being hustled. The light steering, linear power delivery  &  easy controls make it a
stress free car to drive in the city though.

new skoda rapid rear view
With its stretched wheelbase  &  pliant suspension, the Rapid�s ride is pretty decent, especially at low speeds where it does a great job of filtering out sharp edges. However, when you up the pace, the Rapid�s soft setup gets the nose pitching on an uneven surface, which can be disconcerting especially when you are braking. And while the light steering is both direct  &  precise, it�s a bit numb at highway speeds. As a result, the Rapid isn�t too much fun to drive,  &  that�s a shame given the performance on tap. What�s nice is that despite the bags of torque it produces, torque steer is minimal, allowing you to open up the throttle at every opportunity.


The Sunny shines in many areas. Its class leading space, easy to drive nature,  &  long list of standard features make it a very good proposition. Its 1.5 litre engine is very efficient too. But you can�t get away from the fact that it�s nowhere near as nice to drive as the Rapid  &  doesn�t feel as premium either.
& it�s not as frugal as the Nissan but its solid build, generous seats  &  classy environment make it feel a notch superior. Add the punchy engine, better dynamics  & much  smarter looks to the equation, the Skoda more than justifies the Rs. 25,000 extra you have to shell out.

fact file of nissan sunnya and skoda rapid

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