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Skoda Rapid Spaceback engines, drive and performance

2013 - 2019 (change model)
Performance rating: 4 out of 54.0

Written by Keith Adams Published: 6 June 2019 Updated: 6 June 2019

  • Same engine range as Rapid saloon
  • Fruity 1.0 TSI is fun
  • Seven-speed DSG is slow to shift

Skoda Rapid Spaceback: what engines does it have?

Mirroring the regular hatch’s performance, the Skoda Rapid Spaceback’s propulsion is taken care of with five engine options, three petrol and two diesels. Power outputs range from 90hp to 125hp.

Smooth petrol engines

The petrol engine range starts in the UK with the 95hp 1.0 TSI engine, which although smooth and offering acceptable performance in the lower gears soon runs out of steam as speeds increase. The 0-62mph sprint takes 11.0 seconds when equipped with the five-speed manual and 11.3 seconds with the seven-speed DSG automatic.

The automatic adds some extra ease-of-use benefit, but is slow to respond to sudden inputs and the slurred gear changes can be irritating. We also worry that when the car is loaded with kids and kit the extra weight may highlight its performance shortcoming even more.

Next in the range is the higher-powered 1.0 TSI with 110hp, and that extra 15hp makes a huge difference on the road. The good news is there’s no significant penalty when it comes to CO2 emissions or economy if you choose this engine. The engine is smooth and quiet and with plenty of power, so overtaking is easy and the addition of a sixth gear makes for excellent motorway refinement. This engine is manual-only, and is capable of reacing 62mph in 9.8 seconds. We’d argue that this engine is the pick of the range.

For those who require a little extra performance, completing the petrol line up is the 1.4 TSI with 125hp. This engine is automatic-only, and sprints from 0-62mph in 8.9 seconds.

Economical diesel engines

There are two diesel choices in the Rapid Spaceback range: a 1.4-litre TDI and a larger 1.6-litre version.

The 1.4-litre TDI has 90hp and is available with either five-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed DSG automatic. Regardless of transmission choice, it’s the slowest engine in the Spaceback’s range: 0-62mph in 11.6 seconds for the manual or 11.7 seconds for the automatic.

The larger 1.6-litre TDI engine has 116hp, and will be the better option for those doing several thousand miles a year, as there is more power available for overtaking and it still manages solid fuel economy figures. It manages a respectable 9.9-second 0-62mph time, but is manual only.

  • Placid and safe to drive
  • Better placed around town
  • Light steering

Skoda Rapid Spaceback: what's it like inside?

While it’s not the most exciting or engaging car to drive, the Skoda Rapid Spaceback’s handling is neat enough. With a well-balanced chassis and tight body control it inspires a decent degree of confidence.

The Spaceback displays fine levels of traction during hard cornering, if you were to push it, but it’s a car that’s all about being easy to live with. It’s very smooth and the ride is supple, only agitated by the largest of ruts in the road.

It also comes with the latest technology and safety systems such as stability and traction control to make sure you always feel completely in control of the car regardless of the conditions.

Using a lightweight design was key to the Rapid’s inception, and it shows on the road where it feels nippy and agile. It’s not a car that wills you on to thrash it, but it’s capable of gripping well if you throw it into a corner.

The steering is light, even at mototway speeds, which can make it fidgety if you’re heavy-handed with steering inputs, but makes the Rapid Spaceback easy to dart around town and park.