From £13,4657
Latest version of the Skoda Rapid offers budget no-frills motoring, but the experience is adequate rather than exemplary
Darren Moss
3 October 2013

What is it?

The Skoda Rapid Spaceback, the second and more spacious version of the Skoda Rapid. Whereas the standard car is a slightly quirky notchback, the Spaceback is a more conventional hatchback.

In the compact car class, it'll go up against the Hyundai i30, Kia Cee'd and Volkswagen Golf hatchbacks. In a market sector where storage space is an important feature, the Rapid Spaceback enters the fray with good credentials. It offers 415 litres of space with the seats up, rising to 1380 litres with the seats down, meaning it soundly trumps the Golf – which offers 380 and 1318 litres respectively.

Despite the extra capacity, it is actually 180mm shorter than the Rapid saloon and has an identical wheelbase.

When it hits the showrooms in January, it will be offered with two petrol engines in three power outputs, and a single diesel with two levels of power.

What's it like?

Driven here is the 1.2-litre TSI GreenTech model in Elegance trim, which is equipped with the highest output version of the 1.2-litre engine, delivering 104bhp and 175lb ft of torque. Skoda claims an average economy of 52mpg, alongside CO2 emissions of 118g/km. That's aided by a GreenTech option which adds stop-start functionality as well as a brake energy-regeneration system – without the £450 option emissions grow to 125g/km, making it a worthwhile investment.

The 1.2-litre TSI pulls the Spaceback's 1170kg well, and provided you’re not stuck at the bottom of the rev range will provide a decent amount of torque. The six-speed manual gearbox offers well-spaced ratios.

Around the sloping mountain roads of Verona there was plenty of opportunity to assess the Rapid Spaceback’s steering, which transpired to be numb and a little too light. The Rapid Spaceback handling is rather vanilla, being geared more to aid round-town manoeuvrability than for out-of-town kicks. 

Where the Rapid Spaceback earns more points is with its cabin space, since there's plenty of rear headroom and legroom. Even six-foot adults won’t struggle for space. The front is similarly spacious, with wide and supportive seats offering a comfortable experience.


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The interior of the Rapid Spaceback is a case of function over form. It’s a conservative, if a little bland, cabin with the odd smattering of premium materials to give the impression of a more luxurious car. In other words, on the inside at least, you’d be hard pushed to know the Rapid Spaceback was built to a price.

Should I buy one?

The Skoda Rapid Spaceback offers notable value for money. Considering the space on offer, prices starting at £14,340 can be considered very reasonable compared to the £14,200 Hyundai i30, the £14,400 Kia Cee'd and the £16,495 Volkswagen Golf hatchbacks. 

Alongside both the i30 and the Cee’d, however, the Rapid Spaceback finds itself in the chasing pack – rather than up front and ready to challenge the Volkswagen Golf for compact class supremacy.

If you’re looking for a smaller, budget car with near estate levels of space, though, you could do worse than the Rapid Spaceback; and as a cheap, economical load-lugger, it does its job well. 

Skoda Rapid Spaceback 1.2-litre TSI GreenTech Elegance

Price £16,890; 0-62mph 10.2 seconds; Top speed 120mph; Economy 52mpg; CO2 118g/km; Kerb weight 1170kg; Engine 4-cylinder, in-line, turbocharged, petrol 1197cc; Power 104bhp at 5000rpm; Torque 129lb ft at 1550-4100rpm; Gearbox 6-speed manual

Join the debate


2 October 2013

Firstly, it's not an estate so what are you going on about? It's a hatchback with a slightly larger boot than its peers.

And you can't consider it a bargain compared to its peers, as it costs the same but isn't as good, as you say so yourself.

I feel sorry for Skoda and it's employees. I imagine that they have some great looking products in the design studio and then miserable Mr VW comes in and says,'Functionality! You are Skoda. In the VW Group you do functionality! Stop trying to do aspirational. I won't let you! Now, take this nicely proportioned platform and turn it into something a bit ill proportioned, a bit too long and narrow, then your job is done.'

2 October 2013

Must agree with Harf, the car looks more like an A3 Sportback rival than Golf estate. Dull? Well yes, but that's the market it's aimed at. Skoda did well with the dull Octavia. (The new Octavia is too big for some folk) Still think it's a bit expensive but if current Rapid is anything to go by, expect some large dealer discounts. At the right price this car should sell very well.

Where I couldn't disagree more with Harf is when he says Skoda have some great products and then along comes miserable Mr VW. Along with Lada, Skoda was the joke car of last century, then along comes Mr VW - must be one of the most remarkable turnarounds in automotive history.

Don't you remember the 16 valve Skoda pre VW days? 4 in the engine, 12 in the radio.

3 October 2013

Yes VW was the means whereby Skoda got access to capital and some more modern technology. Yet one senses that, stylistically, things reached a peak when the Yeti first came out and since then it has been a process of getting ever blander, ever duller. This is, after all, a German controlled organisation where things are done by the book with little flair or imagination allowed for a satellite company.

Even so I was sadly disappointed when I first experienced this marque as a passenger, in comparison with other vehicles. Very hair shirted in nature, with a hard ride. Not so much a bargain cheapo as simply a cheapo. Nothing wrong with that but we should avoid ascribing virtues to it which it does not possess.


3 October 2013

"... a stretched version of the Rapid..."
Presumably DM read the press release and saw that the Rapid Spaceback was going to cost more than the regular Rapid and so assumed it must have been stretched. Actually it's been shrunk, so why it's been reported that Skoda are to charge more for it seems illogical. However I suspect an estate version of the Rapid would have been more useful as a replacement for Octavia Mk1 estates everywhere...

Instead this looks good as a replacement for Grandad's Austin Maestro... an OAP special for sure!

3 October 2013

It's not stretched its shorter than the regular rapid and the boot is over 100 litres less in volume.
What is meant by it handles well given its size? If you read this article it makes it's sound like its 5 series BMW size! A Golf or Focus handle well and they are bigger, yet I don't remember their size being referred to in handling reports. The fact there is a small relatively light 1.2 engine up front will help its handling no end.
Disappointing write-up really on what is a fairly bland but capable car. I'd expect it to out sell the hatch - even though it's SMALLER!

3 October 2013

I'm itching to have someone from Skoda explain the logic of the Spaceback, which actually offers 100 litres LESS storage overall than its sibling ... I can only surmise it's been introduced because us "compact saloon haters" in the UK are more accustomed to a hatchback configuration (even though the Rapid IS a hatchback) ...

3 October 2013

By pricing this about £500 above the equivalent Rapid liftbacks, Skoda do seem to have made it rather expensive for what it is, and hardly any cheaper than the equivalent SEAT Leon with the same engine, which is a classier and more substantial car.

3 October 2013

Hmm, interestingly this seems to be the first review claiming the car is bigger than the regular Rapid. Simple fact checking should be expected, not a nice-to-have.

I'm not sure what to make of the Rapid. I like Octavias, but the Rapid doesn't seem to be anything special, probably because it is all but identical to a Seat Toledo. This kind of rebadging is a bit of a cynical marketing exercise more than a legitimate need for the cars in the marketplace. Will the Toledo also have a spaceback variant?

3 October 2013

I agree with the comments of harf that Skoda are under strict orders from the VW Board not to produce aspirational cars. I have always thought that a modern Skoda Felicia coupe based on the VW Scirocco would be a fantastic car. But it would not fit in with VW's plans to fleece their customers by making them pay thousands more for Skodas badged as VWs and Audis. Reading the review of the Spaceback it is quite clear that the elephant in the room here is that this VW MQB derived car is actually a version of the Audi A3 Sportback (albeit with a more limited and lower powered choice of engines and an enforced "worthy but dull" driving style). As such it is a bargain. Also it should make Audi buyers look very hard indeed at whether those 4 rings on the grille are actually worth the £4000 and more that their car will cost over the Skoda. The Audi buyers should also remember that the technology that has gone into their cars (apart from cosmetic fripperies) is very much the same as that being sold by Skoda for a great deal less. It would seems that Skoda's new advertising slogan "Simply Clever" really refers to their customers.

3 October 2013
spqr wrote:

...this VW MQB derived car is actually a version of the Audi A3 Sportback.

I'm not sure that's correct. This Spaceback, the Skoda Rapid and the new Seat Toledo are all based on an extended version of the existing PQ25 platform. That's the one currently in use by the Polo, Ibiza and Audi A1. MQB is currently only being used for posher cars; Audi A3, VW Golf, Seat Leon, Skoda Octavia.


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