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.
Ignore the steel-wheeled and aircon-less entry S trim, and SE, for just over another £1000, adds 15in alloys, tinted rear glass, air conditioning, Bluetooth, cruise control and leather steering wheel, among other goodies. Only available with the 1.2 108bhp petrol, the Sport trim, introduced a year or so after the car arrived, costs just £50 more, but Skoda reckons offers £1250 of additional kit including 17in alloys, sports seats, steel pedals and a boot spoiler.
The Skoda shows impressive levels of space and good performance and economy for its price. That’s why we’d point our recommendation at towards the less pricey end of the range.
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.