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 hatchbacks

  • Seventh generation Volkswagen Golf
    More than 29 million Golfs have been sold since 1974

    Volkswagen Golf

    1
  • The popular Ford Focus in 1.5 TDCi Zetec form
    The standout component of the Ford Focus has always been its handling

    Ford Focus

    2
  • Seat Leon
    Seat offers five engines for the Leon, ranging from a 104bhp 1.2 petrol to a 181bhp 2.0 diesel

    Seat Leon

    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

Driven this week

  •  Kia Optima PHEV
    First Drive
    25 August 2016
    Plug-in hybrid Optima is a practical, tax-efficient PHEV that undercuts rivals and fulfils its main remit well, but keen drivers need not apply
  • Kia Optima Sportwagon
    First Drive
    25 August 2016
    New Kia estate looks the part, has good space and handles tidly, but its engine's flexibility and refinement let it down
  • Lamborghini Huracán LP610-4 Spyder
    First Drive
    24 August 2016
    Awful driving position aside, drop-top Huracán handles UK roads well. It's more dynamically rounded than its rangemates, but lacks rivals' handling bite
  • Porsche Panamera 4S Diesel
    First Drive
    23 August 2016
    Its predecessor may have been a bit limp, but the Porsche Panamera 4S Diesel is crushingly rapid and suitably luxurious
  • Car review
    23 August 2016
    Can the best sports coupé of the decade absorb a contentious new engine?