Skoda is going places. So much so that it might need to revise its production targets upwards, even from a stated goal of making 1.8 million cars per year by 2018.

Globally, Skoda has hit a chord with the buying public. Its products mean the same thing everywhere: they’re good value, they’re more spacious than you’d expect and they’re adorned simply inside. It is an image that has resonated in a crisis-ridden world.

The Rapid kicked off a latest production expansion that was followed by the new Octavia range, and a large SUV after that.

But it’s the Rapid that brings some balance to the line-up, sitting as it does in the gap between the Fabia, which we’ll now think of as a conventional supermini, and the Octavia, which has hitherto been small for a Ford Mondeo-segment car, or large for a Focus-sized one.

Skoda's Rapid – a straightforward, spacious, good value C-segment competitor – will occupy the ‘small family’ ground and push the Octavia up into fleet territory.

To that end, it’s average-sized, of average weight and wears the kind of keen price sticker you’d expect to find on a car that is aimed mainly at private buyers.

Top 5 Family hatchbacks

  • More than 29 million Golfs have been sold since 1974

    Volkswagen Golf

  • The standout component of the Ford Focus has always been its handling

    Ford Focus

  • Leon
    Seat offers five engines for the Leon, ranging from a 104bhp 1.2 petrol to a 181bhp 2.0 diesel

    Seat Leon

  • Mazda 3
    The SkyActiv platform used in the 3 features more high and ultra-high-strength steel, offering greater strength and less weight

    Mazda 3

  • Peugeot 308
    The 308 marks the first time a carry-over name has been applied to an all-new Peugeot

    Peugeot 308


First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Skoda range

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    27 November 2015
    We try the turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol version of the Golf Bluemotion. If you're not doing mega miles, it's a better bet than the diesel
  • 2015 Mercedes-AMG A45
    First Drive
    27 November 2015
    Mercedes couldn't let the Audi RS3 get away with having more power than its AMG A45. As part of a wholesale A-Class facelift, it now has 376bhp and a host of other revisions
  • First Drive
    25 November 2015
    More powerful Clubsport version of Volkswagen's iconic hot hatch proves thoroughly entertaining on our track-only first drive in Portugal
  • First Drive
    25 November 2015
    Suzuki has added an automatic diesel powertrain to its S-Cross crossover line-up. Does it offer a compelling choice over the manual versions?
  • First Drive
    24 November 2015
    Alpina’s D3 saloon and estate benefit from the latest BMW 3 Series updates. We've always loved it, but is it still as beguiling as ever in this latest form?