A dead-straight driving position? Check. Chunkily designed and predominantly hard-to-the-touch cabin plastics? Check. Large, analogue dials? Check. Big, round headlight switch? Check and check.

Skoda buyers, according to the company, like things simple. There’s less to go wrong and less to worry about. Skodaphiles getting into a Rapid, therefore, will feel quite at home. The seats are relatively flat but generally comfortable, while the steering wheel is large and the overall ergonomics clearly meet VW Group standards.

Nic Cackett

Road tester
Thankfully, the Skoda Rapid's handbrake is actuated by a conventional lever

The rather plain standard radio display can be upgraded to a flashier colour monitor with navigation, but it doesn’t feel worth having here, even if it would add a dash of colour to what is otherwise a fairly austere cabin.

At the price, however, it would be churlish to criticise. Boredom would appear to be designed in, but so is exceptional interior packaging. The Rapid may be based on the Fabia, but when it comes to its interior it’s the Octavia with which it has more in common.

The saloon-like rear actually features a big hatch, which opens to reveal a 550-litre boot with a high, wide opening. The rear seats don’t leave a flat floor when folded, but otherwise it’s a practical, versatile cabin.

A big one for occupants, too, with rear headroom being the only hint of a compromise. This is a cabin that could accommodate four large adults, easily (with the usual caveat that three abreast in the back is cramped in seemingly any vehicle that comes from this side of the Atlantic).

Top 5 Family hatches

  • More than 29 million Golfs have been sold since 1974

    Volkswagen Golf

    1
  • A big seller is the 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel in Zetec trim.

    Ford Focus

    2
  • Seat Leon SC
    Seat says that much of the inspiration for the SC comes from its IBE concept

    Seat Leon SC

    3
  • 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

    4
  • Peugeot 308
    The 308 marks the first time a carry-over name has been applied to an all-new Peugeot

    Peugeot 308

    5

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Skoda range

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    4 March 2015
    CLA looks, bonkers 45 AMG performance, but with added estate practicality. An enticing mix, but is this Shooting Brake worth the extra?
  • First Drive
    4 March 2015
    Savagely rapid, four-wheel-drive diesel version of BMW's four-door coupé could be brilliant, or it could be a niche too far. We drive the 435d xDrive Gran Coupé to find out.
  • First Drive
    4 March 2015
    This is our first opportunity for a UK drive in a manual version of the new Discovery Sport. Does swapping cogs yourself make more sense?
  • First Drive
    3 March 2015
    Sharper handling, more refined and better-looking. Still a bit rough around the edges, mind, but now good enough to be a class contender
  • Car review
    27 February 2015
    The second pure Mercedes-AMG model is a triumph of engineering and design, and should have rivals from Porsche and Audi worried