Rapid Spaceback SE 1.6 TDI 90PS
one year ago Skoda
introduced the Rapid four-door,
five-seater compact saloon
designed to give class-leading
rear seat passenger legroom but
still with a large boot. On sale in
the UK from January 2014, the
new Rapid Spaceback is a genuine
five-door family hatchback with
a proper tailgate...
THE WORD 'SPACE' to the newcomer's badge would suggest this new Rapid variant
is even roomier than the original Rapid saloon. Not so, because the Spaceback
is actually a few millimetres shorter than the saloon which is why it offers
415 litres of boot space instead of the saloon's 550 litres.
With the rear seats folded the Spaceback has 1,380 litres of space against the
Rapid saloon's 1,490 litres. According to one of the car's designers attending
the UK media launch, the word 'Space' refers to the extra 'spaciousness' provided
for rear seat passengers by the extended roofline and larger rear side windows.
Right. Got it.
for the Rapid Spaceback start from £14,340 and rise to £18,900. Although offering
less load space, rather confusingly these prices are around £450 to £650 more
than for the slightly larger Rapid saloon.
The word Space
in the name refers to the extra spaciousness
provided for rear seat
passengers by the
and larger rear side
Sam Ashworth, Skoda's UK's product manager, explained this by saying the Spaceback
has different levels of specification, some different engine power outputs,
and a wider range of options.
She also said that Skoda expect to sell around 8,000 Spacebacks in the UK in
2014 plus about 4,000 of the 'original' Rapid saloons. The most popular Spaceback
version is expected to be the 88bhp (90PS) 1.6 TDI turbodiesel with SE trim
priced at £17,280. The next most popular model will be the 84bhp 1.2 TSI turbocharged
petrol unit, again with SE spec, and priced at £15,480 which will appeal to
24% of Spaceback customers.
Other engine options are the 120bhp 1.4 TSI turboed petrol and the 103bhp 1.6
TDI turbodiesel. There are four core levels of specification: S, Greenline,
SE, and Elegance. Factory fitted options and personalisation packs include larger
alloy wheels and a £1,100 Style pack with fixed panoramic glass roof, elongated
tailgate glass, black rear spoiler, black finish door mirrors, black rear lights
and black cornering front fog lights. Additionally, a £1,600 Sport pack includes
sports seats, sunset glass, leather trim and 17-inch alloy wheels.
I have just driven the 88bhp 1.6 TDI SE Sportback as it is forecast to be the
best-selling version despite it being £1,800 more expensive than the 84bhp 1.2
TSI SE model which, for retail customers, I think would be the better choice.
With the 1.6 diesel having CO2 emissions of 114g/km and the 1.2 petrol emitting
119g/km, they both fall into the £0 cost first year road band; for year two
onwards road tax only goes up to £30 per year. For company car drivers the petrol
engine actually incurs less BIK tax (15%) compared to the diesel, which is rated
at 17% because of the extra 3% tax levy on diesel.
As for fuel economy, the petrol unit will return 55.4mpg in the official Combined
Cycle (45.4mpg on test), whilst the four-cylinder 1.6-litre direct injection
turbodiesel will return 64.2mpg although only 49.4mpg on my test covering the
petrol unit was quieter, nippier and more responsive although the performance
figures are much the same; around 113mph with zero to 62mph taking around 11.9
customers should go
the diesel route on test
1.6-litre direct injection
High-mileage customers should go the diesel route; lower mileage users should
take the petrol engine. The cheaper cost of unleaded combined with the lower
purchase price of the 84bhp 1.2 petrol-engined model makes the 1.2 TSI the best
option for most retail buyers.
In terms of handling sophistication or ride comfort the Rapid Spaceback doesn't
match the VW Golf or Ford Focus
but it's not far behind. I drove one version on the standard 15-inch alloy wheels
and the ride was more compliant and less noisy than the model I tried with the
optional 17-inch wheels. So my advice is to stay with the standard 15-inch ones
but instead pay £300 extra for the more supportive, larger sports front seats.
Where the Rapid Spaceback does score strongly over the Golf and Focus is in
having more rear seat legroom. In fact, in this area it scores over all the
other cars in its class. That noted, it's disappointing that the Spaceback doesn't
fully live up to its name by offering more load carrying space over the standard
Rapid saloon, although the Spaceback is actually best in its own hatchback class.
Against? The rear seatbacks do not fold completely flat for ease of loading
long items, it's not as spacious for load carrying as its Rapid saloon sibling,
the standard front seats feel small so the sports seat option (£300) is recommended,
there's some cheap feeling plastic trim, and the optional larger wheels give
a harsher ride.
However, plus points are good and include class-leading load space, a wide range
of engine options, and the range is well equipped and attractively priced. And,
just like it says on the tin, the Spaceback is spacious for passengers.
Skoda Rapid Spaceback SE 1.6 TDI
90PS | £17,280
Top speed: 113mph | 0-62mph: 11.9 seconds | Average Test MPG: 49.4mpg
Power: 88bhp | Torque: 170lb ft | CO2 114g/km