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.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Chief tester
The Rapid is a worthy car; it just lacks the sparkle that enthusiasts look for

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.

Top 5 Family hatchbacks

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Opel Ampera-e
    First Drive
    27 April 2017
    Opel's second-generation Ampera is smaller than the first, and now purely electric. It's also very capable with a remarkable range
  • Lotus Elise Sprint
    First Drive
    27 April 2017
    The latest incarnation of the Elise may be out of its depth on track, but on the public road it is probably the purest version since the original
  • First Drive
    26 April 2017
    The compromises of adding a plug-in hybrid drivetrain to the 5 Series make the new 530e iPerformance tough to recommend
  • 2017 BMW 440i Coupé
    First Drive
    26 April 2017
    The assumption was that a few minor tweaks to the 2017 BMW 440i Coupé wouldn't make much of a difference. It turns out they do
  • Porsche 911 GT3
    First Drive
    26 April 2017
    Brilliant new Porsche 911 GT3 picks up where the previous GT3 RS and 911 R left off