This diesel proved fidgety and unyielding over bumps, as though fitted with a bad aftermarket suspension kit, yet this unintentional 'sportiness' wasn't reflected in the dull, inert handling balance.
The engineers admit there is still suspension work to do, and the 1.2 TSI we sampled had much more of the fluency and absorption expected of a Skoda. We suspect that the small petrol cars have already been more finely tuned by Skoda's boffins.
Should I buy one?
Styling is partly subjective, but for this writer the Rapid's clean, straight lines and razor-crisp ridges are a welcome change from the contrived sweeps, slashes and bulges of too many new cars. Skoda says the Rapid won't date as quickly. We agree.
Skoda Rapid 1.6 TDI 105 Elegance
Price: £15,500 (est); 0-62mph: 10.6sec; Top speed: 118mph; Economy: 64.2mpg (combined); CO2: 114g/km; Kerb weight: 1179kg; Engine: 4cyls, 1598cc, turbodiesel; Power: 104bhp at 4400rpm; Torque: 184lb ft at 1500-2500rpm; Gearbox: 5-speed manual