Rapid majors on space and value for money
- Range of efficient engines
- Huge amount of boot space
- Spacious interior
- Good to drive
- Dull to look at
- Dull to sit in
- Lots of kit costs extra
- Diesels are noisy
To look at, you’d be forgiven for thinking the Skoda Rapid is a saloon, based on its sloping rear end, but it is, in fact, a hatchback.
In a similar fashion to its Octavia big brother, the Rapid seems to straddle vehicles classes, being different in body style to its main competitors on the outside and offering a superior amount of interior space on the inside, at least when you compare them on price.
In that case, while the Rapid is priced around a similar level to many superminis, at the higher end of the range it goes up against cars like the popular Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra, as well as value-focused small family hatchbacks like the Fiat Tipo, Hyundai i30 and its in-house competitor – the SEAT Toledo.
Familiar Skoda engine options
The Rapid is powered by a familiar selection of turbocharged petrol and diesel engines, with no performance variants available (the Rapid isn’t that kind of car, ironically). There’s a stronger focus on efficiency than speed and, as such, the biggest, most powerful engine available is a 1.6-litre TDI diesel with 115hp.
If efficiency is your priority, there’s a smaller 1.4-litre TDI diesel, while petrol power is provided by a 1.0-litre TSI with a choice of power outputs, as well as a 1.4-litre TSI that comes exclusively with a DSG automatic gearbox and only one trim option.
Due to the selection of engines, you’d think the Rapid is a car that spends most of its time pottering about town, but it’s actually surprisingly good to drive thanks to its light weight and punchy engines. It’s no sports car, but it’s easy to drive on all roads, which is a very appealing thing for many buyers.
Spacious, well-built interior
The Rapid isn’t a particularly exciting car to look at from the outside. It’s the inside where it really impresses, with enough space for four adults to fit comfortably and a huge boot hidden beneath that elongated tailgate.
It’s all familiar Skoda stuff inside too, with a solid build and a functional, easy-to-understand layout that’s very easy to get comfortable in. It feels well-built though, and is available with the usual selection of Skoda’s Simply Clever storage solutions to make life a little easier.
The Parkers Verdict
The Skoda Rapid is the kind of car you buy if you want something even more sensible than a VW Golf or Vauxhall Astra. Not only is it cheaper to buy, it’s also much more spacious and comes with a lot of similar equipment. It may not have the kerb appeal of many of its hatchback rivals, but it makes a lot of sense if all you want is bang for your buck.