One would be forgiven for confusing the Skoda Rapid with the Octavia from a distance. They are very similar and they use the same type of colour schemes too. The fact is that the Rapid is smaller and the Octavia is better presented and a much more enjoyable car to drive. The Rapid Spaceback however injects a little more fun into the Rapid line-up. It looks better and even though the Spaceback is shorter it actually feels more spacious.
Both the Rapid and the Spaceback share the same engine range and the performance figures in both are extremely similar. Skoda offers a good engine line-up with both petrol and diesel engines available. The smallest petrol engine is 1.2 litre MPI three-cylinder that offers 74 bhp. There is also a 1.2 litre TSI that is tuned to two different outputs. The engine is available with 84 bhp and 103 bhp. The 103 bhp version offers a top speed of 195 km/h (193 km/h in the Spaceback) and accelerates from 0-100 km/h in 10.3 seconds (10.2 in the Spaceback). Also available in petrol is the 1.4 TSI and this gives 0-100 km/h in 9.5 seconds (9.4 in the Spaceback). There are three 4-cylinder 1.6 TDI variants available.
The Rapid doesn’t offer the same quality ride that you would find in much of the Skoda line-up. The car doesn’t soak up bumps in the same fashion as the rest. However, the steering is precise and the car controls its body well. The Rapid would not be as fun as the Golf or the Focus but once it gets to cruising speeds things do even out.
The Rapid is not as well insulated as the Octavia either. Wind and road noise seep through and for long journeys it can get tiresome. The petrol engines are quiet and refined and understandably the diesel offering is louder. Once the diesel engines get to cruising speeds the noises calm down.
Anyone who has driven an Octavia before will be slightly disappointed if they sit into a Rapid. While everything has a similar appearance things just seem cheaper in the Rapid. This is because the Rapid is slightly less expensive to purchase than the Octavia. However, it would beg the question as to why one wouldn’t spend the extra money to get an entry level Octavia. Apart from that people can avail of the same type of quality infotainment system that is on offer in the rest of the Skoda range. Their infotainment systems are generally very easy to use and nicely presented.
The Skoda Rapid scored five stars in the Euro NCAP in 2012. It scored an extremely impressive 94% for adult occupancy and a very good 80% for child occupancy. Six airbags surround the interior of the car. ISOFIX anchor points are as standard in the back seats.
The Rapid does not lack any space and five adults could easily sit in here. However, four would be most comfortable. Skoda is famous for their space and the Rapid is no different. The Rapid Spaceback’s dimensions are slightly smaller than the Rapid saloon but because it’s an Estate it feels more spacious.