From £13,4657
Practical budget hatch gets a host of economy tweaks resulting in a claimed 74mpg and emissions of 99g/km of CO2

Our Verdict

Skoda Rapid Spaceback
The Skoda Rapid Spaceback offers a little more interior room than conventional hatchbacks

The hatchback treatment makes Skoda’s budget Rapid that bit more palatable. Roomy, usable, well-priced and quite refined

What is it?

This is the cleanest, most efficient variant of Skoda's practical budget Rapid Spaceback hatchback.

Power comes from a tried-and-tested 1.6-litre diesel engine, which sends 89bhp and 170lb ft to the front wheels via a five-speed manual transmission.

Offering a claimed 74.3mpg and tax-free CO2 emissions of 99g/km of CO2, it's likely to appeal to the frugally minded.

Helping the Greenline variant achieve these figures, outside of its economical diesel engine, is a host of minor upgrades – including low rolling resistance tyres and a stop-start system.

Skoda has also revised the car's aerodynamics slightly, primarily changing the front grille and air intakes to cut drag.

What's it like?

Skoda claims the Rapid Spaceback Greenline will accelerate from 0-62mph in 11.9sec and on to a top speed of 114mph, which is more than adequate for a car of its type.

Performance doesn't feel lacking, and what's on offer is made easily accessible thanks to a precise five-speed manual transmission with a range of suitably spaced ratios.

The diesel engine is comparatively agricultural compared to newer, or larger displacement, equivalents though. It's quite coarse, especially under load or at speed, but not to an overtly unpleasant extent. Once cruising the engine settles to a quiet thrum but there's always a slight diesel edge, unlike others that descend into comparative silence.

Our test car also exhibited a slight powertrain shunt when lifting off the throttle. While not intolerable, it became somewhat of an annoyance after a while.

Compensation comes in the form of the fact that the engine appears capable of returning good economy figures. The Skoda averaged an indicated 65mpg during our test, which took into account a wide variety of roads and speeds but little traffic.

The Skoda also rides in a clean, controlled fashion. Body roll is minimal, while the supportive seats hold you in place with ease while cornering. It steers in an easily controlled fashion too, with a linear and well-weighted response.

Inside you'll find comfortable seating for four adults, a neatly designed and smart-looking cabin and myriad practical touches, such as a large glovebox and a ticket holder. A fifth adult can sit relatively comfortable in the central rear position but will feel a little perched, so probably won't want to endure longer trips. Visibility is good too and the overall result is a cabin that feels both relaxing, useful and hardwearing.

There are some slight curiosities though, like the absence of a passenger vanity mirror and a somewhat offset seating position that leads you to feel like you're sitting rather closer to the central tunnel and dash than you'd like. There's also some notable wind noise at speed – but road noise is low.

Standard kit isn't exactly stellar but at least includes the likes of air-con, a trip computer, front fog lights, electric windows and electric heated mirrors.

As you might hope, the Spaceback scores highly when it comes to rear storage. The car has a footprint that's approximately the same size as a Volkswagen Golf but offers significantly increased boot space, for example.

With the rear seats up there's 415 litres on offer, compared to the Golf's 380 litres. Drop the rear seats and the available space rises to 1380 litres, compared to 1270 litres.

The boot is easily accessible too but there is no spare wheel; instead you get an oft-useless repair kit. This, reputedly, is to save weight – but we'd rather have the reassurance of a physical spare wheel.

Should I buy one?

The Skoda Rapid Spaceback Greenline is worth considering if you want a practical, easy-to-use car that won't break the bank.

Admittedly its diesel engine is not the most refined around but its acoustic intrusion doesn't overly mar its appeal. It is, after all, a relatively inexpensive no-nonsense tool that does precisely what you expect.

More importantly, and helping offset that minor issue somewhat, you'll be saving a considerable amount of money compared to the less capacious but similarly styled Audi A3 Sportback, or equivalent Volkswagen Golf.

A similarly performing 1.6-litre BlueMotion, for example, will set you back £19,450 – that's some £2255 more than the Skoda.

Skoda Rapid Spaceback Greenline

Price £17,195; 0-62mph 11.9sec; Top speed 114mph; Economy 74.3mpg; CO2 99g/km; Kerb weight 1258kg; Engine 4 cyls, 1598cc, turbocharged, diesel; Power 89bhp at 4200rpm; Torque 170lb ft at 1500-2500rpm; Gearbox 5-spd manual

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Comments
4

22 May 2014
This car accords with my idea of what the Skoda brand represents better than any other car in it's range. It ignores class boundaries by straddling several and it gives real bang for buck. The price is a little high for my liking but that's the way of the world these days. Why VW is determined to push Skoda even more upmarket is beyond me.

TBC

22 May 2014
At that price point, the Octavia Greenline looks remarkably good value, more power, better economy and emissions; the Rapid looks a very poor relative........

22 May 2014
Interesting how this stretched Fabia is so much worse on fuel that the Eco golf derived Octavia fitted with basically the same engine. The Octavia seems to give you much better valuer at only £3k more, whilst having much lower EU figures (even if there is very little difference in the real world)

22 May 2014
The Golf is superior in every way and is not really a rival for this enlarged supermini and neither is the A3. So a £2k price difference highlights how expensive the Rapid is. Add to that it's awkward looks - it's too narrow for it's length. I can't see these flying out the showrooms.

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