Rapid SE 1.6 TDI CR
Skoda named one of its
models Octavia everybody knew it
the sister of the first Roman
Emperor, Augustus. And when they
called their SUV Yeti it was pretty
obvious that it was no Abominable
Snowman although you could go
looking for one in it...
SKODA'S LATEST CAR IS A RAPID, but we all know it's no tyre-shredding drag-racer.
Whatever, given that a rose by any other name is still a rose, a Rapid by any
other name is still a car. And as cars go, it's a decidedly honest one
one that slots perfectly above the Fabia and beneath the Octavia in Skoda's
seven-model line-up. Which, actually, makes it just about the ideal size; big
enough but not too big for today's crowded roads and shrinking parking bays.
And perfectly fit for purpose.
Measure it and you'll find it's roughly the same size as the outgoing Octavia
the latest version of which has now been re-born as a bigger (and more
upmarket) model. The Rapid disguises its size well, given that it's more spacious
inside than the last-generation Octavia. In addition to room for four grown-ups,
it also has a very large boot although you'd never guess it looking at its cleanly-styled,
five-door hatchback bodyshell.
keeping with its role as a sensible car that delivers a lot of metal for not
a lot of money (the range-starter comes in at £12,900), engine choices are sensible
too: 1.2, 1.4 and 1.6-litre. Officially, the 1.2 and 1.4 engines drink unleaded
at the rate of 47.9-55.4mpg; the 1.6 TDI turbodiesel sips fuel at a pound-stretching
A weeks fairly hard
on mixed roads returned
an average of 58.9mpg
no reason at all why a
gentler driving style
shouldnt nudge that
Motorists for whom economy is king should wait until mid-2013, when even more
efficient GreenTech models (and an additional diesel engine option) will be
arriving in the UK with CO2 emissions as low as 106g/km and returns of up to
70.6mpg on the combined cycle.
As with all Skoda products, the good news is that the mechanicals all come from
VW's parts bin. The 1.6 TDI is an able powerplant, generating 103bhp and 184lb
ft of torque between 1,500-2,500rpm sufficient to get it off the line
to 62mpg in 10.6 seconds (not quite rapid; but brisk enough!). Top speed is
The four-cylinder TDI unit sounds good and the turbo spools up smartly with
no lag, pulling nice and clean from low down the rev range. Work it hard and
the engine note could have you believing there's more poke under the bonnet
than there actually is. In top gear on motorways there's ample reserves in fifth
if you need to pull out and pass without dropping down a gear. Economy-wise
it should deliver the goods, with official consumption figures for urban, combined
and extra-urban respectively 50.4, 64.2, and 76.3mpg.
A week's fairly hard real-world driving on mixed roads returned an average of
58.9mpg no reason at all why a gentler driving style shouldn't nudge
that over the 60mpg line. The 1.6-litre unit is also manly enough for stress-free
motorway cruising at the legal limit and makes for pleasant motoring out on
the open road. Around town it's equally fluent thanks to the easy-shifting gear
More important than how it goes will, for many buyers, be its roominess and
versatility. In this sector of the market, five-door hatchbacks are the bodyshapes
to have, both from a desirability as well as a practical viewpoint and
the Rapid offers a lot of both.
Swing open a door and you'll find a remarkably large cabin up front there's
ample room in all directions, with best-in-class leg and head room. The comfortable
front seats are particularly supportive, their long-distance comfort boosted
by decent under-thigh support and non-intrusive bolstering. Driver's will also
appreciate the spacious footwell with room for their knees and shins and the
comfy left foot rest.
Rapid's ergonomics owe more to function than fashion: no jungle-pattern upholstery
here or mind-scrambling multi-menus to click through just refreshingly
straightforward dials, controls and switchgear.
Swing open a door and
youll find a remarkably
large cabin up front
theres ample room in all
directions, with best-in-
class leg and head room.
The comfortable front
seats are particularly
supportive with long
distance comfort boosted
by decent under-thigh
support and non-
And all of it easy to use (as too is the extremely user-friendly 3D SatNav).
Fit and finish is good, and chrome detailing to the switchgear keeps it all
Storage-wise there's a place for everything so that everything can be in its
rightful place (essential for a family motor). A centre front armrest opens
for storage although some drivers may find it cramps the traditional style handbrake.
If so, no problem just do as we did and flip it up to its vertical position
alongside the seatback.
There's also a glasses holder above the rear-view mirror, easily-accessed netting
pockets on the sides of the front seats' backrests and a pouch under the driver's
seat for a reflective safety vest a very good idea now that it's the
law (in most European countries) that drivers keep one inside their car. Wine-drinking
Rapid owners will also be glad of the extra-long glovebox which stores bottles
lengthways. It's cooled, too.
Equipment, on mid-range SE models, includes AirCon, daytime running lights (with
deactivation), electric windows (driver's one-shot down), heated and power-adjustable
door mirrors, tinted glass, Bluetooth hands-free, trip computer, a Mobile Device
Interface, height and reach adjustable four-spoke leather steering wheel, height-adjustable
driver's seat, and a set of 15-inch alloy wheels.
Safety kit includes six airbags (front and side airbags provide protection for
the torso area; large curtain airbags protect front and rear seat passengers'
heads in case of a side impact), height-adjustable front seatbelts, ESP electronic
stability control, and a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating.
Adults will find the rear cabin no hardship thanks to a backrest set at a comfortable
angle and plenty of leg, knee and foot room; a near-six-footer will travel easily
behind another near-six-footer sitting up front. Large glass areas keep the
rear cabin light and airy and getting in and out is no problem. Two rear headrests
and three belts are present and a third middle rear passenger can also
travel easily without complaint.
Behind the rear seatbacks is an impressively large boot (for the record, it's
the largest in its class) 550 litres, accessed though a wide-opening
tailgate. And that's with the seats in use; fold down the 60:40 split rear seats
(they don't quite go completely flat but the extended load floor is still very
usable) and you'll have a 1,490-litre loadbay that's the equal of many estate
cars. Additional capacity is available in the storage bin under the boot floor.
there are the usual thoughtful Skoda touches, too. For example, bag hooks, storage
boxes behind the rear wheel arches, and a fuss-free rigid lift-up rear parcel
shelf-cum-luggage cover. The optional reversible boot carpet is another worthwhile
feature flip it over and its wipe-clean rubber finish makes carrying
mucky or muddy items a no-worry job.
Behind the rear seats
is an impressively
large boot 550 litres,
accessed though a
All passengers will be satisfied with the Rapid's quiet cruising character but
will drivers be satisfied with the handling? While there's nothing in the sales
literature about any sporting talent, the Rapid is reassuringly composed with
decent body control and it feels sure-footed through the bends. The ride is
firm more so than the petrol-engined versions but not firm enough
to upset your passengers.
For motorists looking for an attractively-styled drive with plenty of room for
their dependants, enough kit to make life easy and an extra helping of practicality,
the Rapid could be just the ticket. All that and 60mpg is enough to make even
an accountant smile! MotorBar
Skoda Rapid SE 1.6 TDI CR | £17,100
Maximum speed: 118mph | 0-62mph: 10.6 seconds | Overall MPG: 58.9mpg
Power: 103bhp | Torque: 184lb ft | CO2 114g/km