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Parkers overall rating: 3.8 out of 5 3.8

The Skoda Rapid uses engines you’ll find in other models such as the Fabia and Octavia, as well as various VW and SEAT models across the group.

Most suitable for the majority of buyers who spend their time in town, a choice of three TSI petrol engines are available.

The range kicks off with the 1.0-litre TSI 95PS unit producing 95hp and 160Nm of torque. It’s good for a 0-62mph time of 11.0 seconds, and it’ll go on to reach a top speed of 116mph, and comes with a five-speed manual gearbox.

The same engine is available with more power if you need it. The 1.0-litre TSI 110PS has, you guessed it, 110hp, and useful extra 40Nm of torque at 200Nm. As a result, the 0-62mph time falls to 9.8 seconds, while the top speed is slightly higher at 124mph. It also gains an extra gear ratio over the 95hp version.

If you want the most rapid Rapid, you’ll have to go for the 1.4-litre TSI 125PS. It produces 125hp and 200Nm of torque, so it doesn’t actually provide any more pulling power than the smaller 1.0 TSI 110PS. The 0-62mph sprint is taken care of in 9.0 seconds, and will reach a top speed of 129mph. This is the only petrol engine you can get in the Rapid with a DSG dual-clutch automatic gearbox.

2012 Skoda Rapid front static

Buyers who prefer diesel power are well-catered for, with the option of two engines – a 1.4 TDI and a 1.6 TDI.

The 1.4-litre TDI CR 90PS is pushes out 90hp and 230Nm of torque, making it punchier than any of the petrols when it comes to pulling power. However it is the slowest, with a 0-62mph time of 11.3 seconds when fitted with a five-speed manual gearbox, and 11.4 seconds when specified with the seven-speed DSG.

In fact, it’s the only engine in the Rapid range with a choice of transmissions. Both versions will reach 115mph at the top end.

The DSG is something of an acquired taste, at least for some. It’s very easy to drive and is fine around town. However, it can be quite jerky and isn’t the most refined combination. It highlights how noisy the diesel engine is, and sends a lot of vibrations through the car at low speeds. It’s relaxed at a cruise, though, and the torque on offer really helps on the motorway.

If you spend more time overtaking on the motorway, the 1.6-litre TDI CR 115PS will appeal, with 115hp and 250Nm of torque on tap from low revs. This also uses a five-speed manual gearbox, and sits in the middle ground in terms of performance. It will complete the 0-62mph sprint in 9.7 seconds, and will then travel on to a top speed of 125mph.

2012 Skoda Rapid engine

When originally launched, the Skoda Rapid was available with two 1.2-litre TSI petrol engines in a choice of power outputs – 90hp and 105hp – which were replaced by the smaller 1.0-litre TSIs. There was also a naturally aspirated 1.2-litre petrol with 75hp at the entry point to the range.

On the diesel front, a 1.6-litre TDI unit took care of things, available in 90hp and 105hp forms and a choice of manual and DSG automatic gearboxes.

  • Focus is on comfort rather than speed
  • Quite a bit of body roll to contend with
  • Decent grip and neat handling, though

Fuss-free is the design of the Skoda Rapid, and so is the way it handles. It’s very tidy in the corners with good levels of grip, but there is some body roll to contend with when you really push it. It’s no Ford Focus.

It may not be the choice for an enthusiast, but it’s a sensible car that handles reasonably well, and manages to combine comfort with great cruising ability very well indeed.

Like many modern cars, the steering is fairly well weighted, but it lacks any real feedback, communicating very little about what the front wheels are doing back to the driver.