• Skoda Rapid was previewed by the Mission L concept
  • 15-inch alloys are standard; 16-inch items, seen here, are optional
  • Gaping grille is partly for effect, partly for cooling
  • Skoda badge is bonnet rather than grille mounted
  • An ice scraper lives in the fuel filler cap
  • Cabin is unimaginative but functional
  • Interior packaging is exceptional
  • Large, analogue dials are simple and easy to read
  • Rear seats don't fold flat
  • Material quality is acceptable - nothing more, nothing less
  • Rear legroom is generous for the class
  • Rapid is effortless and uneventful to drive
  • Five-speed gearbox is acceptable in the 1.2 TSI, but more powerful models could do with an extra ratio
  • The 1.2-litre TSI engine develops 84bhp
  • At the limit, the Rapid errs towards understeer
  • Oversteer can be provoked in the wet, but the ESP soon calls time
  • The car as white goods. Utterly competent, but equally unengaging

There are keener drives in the class, including the Hyundai i30, so the Rapid is best viewed as a fuss-free, uncomplicated and easygoing small family car. Although it lacks the vibrant character of other cars in Skoda model range, such as the popular Yeti, its appeal lies in its no-frills attitude, straightforward engineering and useful standard kit.

Near the top of the range, the competition starts to look quite fierce for the Rapid, with models sitting a long way above this car’s starting price. Towards the bottom end of its range, the Skoda seems to have more to offer. It shows impressive levels of space and good performance and economy for its price. That’s where we’d point our recommendation.

Matt Saunders

Deputy road test editor
The Rapid is a worthy car; it just lacks the sparkle that enthusiasts look for

There are those for whom the Rapid will make perfect sense. We can even imagine ourselves recommending one as a used buy in the near future. But, given where Skoda has been recently, and given the innovation and perceived quality of the products it otherwise offers, the Rapid fails to satisfy quite as much as it potentially could have done.

Instead, the Rapid is the car reduced to the level of a supermarket’s own-label loaf of bread, or an unbranded fridge with no egg holder. Its practicality and value is unquestionable, but there’s nothing to make you want one other than the price on its nose and the inches in its cabin. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just that, as enthusiasts, we look for something more in a car.

 

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