While Skoda’s Rapid Saloon certainly represented good value for money it wasn’t the most successful of Skoda’s efforts. We find out if things have improved with the new Rapid Spaceback
What is it? Skoda’s new Rapid Spaceback is a mini estate or hatchback version of the saloon.
Who is it aimed at? If child cars seats, space for prams and the Labradors are playing havoc with your car choices but you are not yet in the market for a people carrier then this compact family car may just be enough to tempt you.
Styling? Skoda uses the same wheelbase as the Rapid saloon but the Spaceback loses some 180mm from the rear to give it a sleeker overall look.
Under the Bonnet? Our test car was powered by a tiny 1.2 petrol engine. Other choices include four more engines; in total there are three petrol and two diesels on offer.
What about inside? While shorter than the saloon the Rapid Spaceback is tardis like inside. The high roofline means headroom is particularly good throughout and space for rear passengers is very generous. There are a host of decent storage solutions throughout. The shorten dimensions mean a compromised boot space when comparing it with the saloon but at 415 litres it can more than hold its own. Consider the Ford Focus has 316 litres and even Volkswagen’s Golf can only manage 380 litres and you begin to appreciate just how spacious the Spaceback is.
Our car was equipped with a full length ‘panoramic’ glass roof that stretches from the top of the windscreen right back to the rear window and really adds to the light and airy feel throughout. The dash feels a little cheap but everything is where is should be and the driver’s seat is comfortable and all round vision is good.
On the Road? On the road the Rapid is surprisingly good and our test car belies its tiny 1.2 petrol engine and moderate 84 bhp, and proved fun and eager. There’s a new steering system that is designed for better response and while feedback is still only adequate the Rapid feels planted to the ground at all times.
And Safety? The Spaceback come equipped with a decent level of safety equipment including six airbags, stability control and Isofix child seat mounting points. It has not yet been tested by the EuroNCAP but there is little reason to believe it will not achieve a full five star rating.
Options? The Rapid Spaceback is available in three trim levels: S, SE and Elegance, with prices starting from £14,340. Specification levels across the range are good with all three Spaceback models fitted with additional equipment over the Rapid. Airconditioning is standard across the line-up, along with curtain airbags, front electric windows and a height and reach adjustable steering column. SE models feature alloy wheels, acoustic rear parking sensors, cruise control and a Bluetooth telephone connection, while Elegance models add, among other items, climate control, height-adjustable passenger seat and cornering front fog light.
Economy? Low running costs are key in this market. The CO2 emissions and fuel returns vary across the Spaceback range depending on engine and trim level chosen but the official figures for our 1.2 TSI petrol is 55 mpg on a combined cycle and emissions of 119g/km.
Verdict? If you want a practical compact family car with a very decent boot that is cheap to run the Skoda Rapid Spaceback is a really good option. Overall the Spaceback offers a good balance of comfort, practicality and efficiency.
Why you’ll buy one? Price, Styling, Reliability
Why you won’t? Uninspired drive, Dull interior
Kia cee’d – priced from £13,900
Hyundai i30 – priced from £14,300
Skoda Rapid Spaceback 1.2 TSI 86bhp
Engine: 1197cc 4-cylinder in-line engine
Max speed: 119mph
0-62 mph: 11.7 seconds
Emissions : 119 g/km
Model price range: £14, 340 – £18,640
No of Doors: 5 doors
Euro NCAP : Not yet tested
Fuel type: Petro
Fuel Economy (combined cycle): 55 mpg
Boot Capacity Seats up(down) : 415 litres (1380)
Car Seats: 2 Isofix fittings in the rear
Wheelbase: 2602 mm
26th February, 2014