The Skoda Rapid is the brunch of the Skoda range. It’s a meal between meals – not quite as big as the Octavia, but still usefully bigger than the Fabia. There are other areas where it’s not quite one thing or the other. It might have the sleek looks of a saloon, but is actually a much more practical liftback. There’s also the option of the Spaceback, which oddly enough has a smaller boot than the liftback, but comes with a lower pricetag to compensate. It’s arguably more attractive too.
Unsurprisingly, space is a strong point. Once you work out where it fits in on the market. The boot of the liftback weighs in at 550 litres. That’s the same as a Ford Mondeo, which competes in the class above. In relation to its own siblings, it’s 120l more than the Fabia, and just 40 litres shy of the Octavia’s 590. The Spaceback offers 415l.
The Spaceback starts at €19,595, and the liftback at €19,750. This may at first glance appear a little too close for comfort to the larger Octavia’s starting point of €19,965. But to compare like with like, the Rapid’s entry level petrol engine is the superior 1.0l turbocharged unit. This paired with the most popular Ambition trim will set you back €21,850, whereas the equivalent Octavia rings in at €23,565. Granted, the Octavia comes with a few extra horses to pull its additional weight. That’s still a saving of over €1,700, and not insignificant in the budget car market, which, despite the new premium feel of its recent facelift, the Rapid still sits into quite comfortably.
It’s also worth noting that an Octavia driver will be more likely to shell out for the diesel option, whereas the Rapid has more of a city feel to it. That’s as good as we can do as regards putting it in a box. A slightly smaller Octavia. A longer Fabia. Skoda’s version of the Volkswagen Jetta, or Seat Toledo. Take your pick.
It’s been around (in its current guise) since 2013, but has recently been given the old mid-life nip and tuck to keep it fresh and relevant. Infotainment systems have been upgraded to the same high standard as the rest of the range, with a raft of new high-tech features available, including the impressive Skoda Connect. This online system can deliver real-time information on weather, traffic and fuel prices in your area, straight into the cabin.
Trim levels differ slightly to the rest of the Skoda range. The entry level Active trim is best avoided, but the mid-spec Ambition comes pretty well equipped with 16 inch alloy wheels, a leather-covered multi-function steering wheel, air-conditioning and touchscreen infotainment as standard. The top-spec Sport trim adds some slick exterior styling details including 18 inch ‘blade’ alloy wheels, contrasting mirrors, and on the Spaceback model, a panoramic glass sunroof, as well as a tailgate and spoiler made entirely of tinted glass. This is a particularly smart-looking combo, and adds a touch of genuine desirability to the range.
Unfortunately, they haven’t gone as far as to give us a ‘bleedin’ Rapid’ RS version. That’s obviously what they’ll have to call it if they do. At present we have to make do with a pretty standard engine line-up of that 1.0l turbo charged petrol (available in 95 or 110 hp guise), or a 1.4 or 1.6l TDI offering 90 or 116hp respectively. Fuel economy and running costs are suitably impressive across the range, with low emissions keeping those motortax bills in check too.
So what is the Skoda Rapid? To borrow the Simpsons analogy on brunch ‘It’s not quite a Fabia, it’s not quite an Octavia, and you don’t get a slice of RS at the end. You don’t exactly get what you would with an Octavia, but you get a good car.’