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.
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