Review

Skoda Rapid hatchback

Price  £15,555 - £19,390

Skoda Rapid hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Very practical
  • Exceptional value for money
  • Impressively low running costs
Cons
  • Competitors are more comfortable
  • Rivals are more fun to drive
  • Uninspired design

At a glance

The greenest
1.4 TDI CR 90PS SE L 5dr £18,230
The cheapest
1.2 TSI 90PS SE 5dr £15,555
The fastest
1.4 TSI 125PS DSG SE 5dr £17,890
Top of the range
1.4 TDI CR 90PS SE L DSG 5dr £19,390

“It may not offer the last word in excitement, but the Skoda Rapid is a sensible, affordable and practical hatchback.”

A seemingly strange choice of name, the Skoda Rapid actually appeared as a standalone model for the first time in 1935. Then, as now, it was applied to Skoda's mid-range offering.

Though the name suggests speed and thrills are central to the Rapid's appeal, in reality it's a far more down-to-earth proposition than that. Not seeking to be exciting, the Rapid can’t claim to be as fun to drive as a Ford Focus. Nor does it have the style and flair of a Renault Megane or the sporty demeanour of the SEAT Leon.

Instead, the Skoda Rapid trades on being well made and big on practicality (it's boot is usefully larger than that of the Focus). It also offers strong value for money, although it can’t match the warranty you get with the Hyundai i30. It also manages to look fairly classy while not being very expensive to buy or run.

The inside story is written by the same author, combining sound design, good use of space and an aura of durability. There's plenty of lounging space, whether you’re in the front or the back, and your surroundings feel well put together, while the controls are functional and easy to use.

It should be stated that the Rapid won’t be the first port of call for anyone looking for sheer power or extreme driving excitement, but that was never really mentioned in the Rapid's mission statement. Behind the wheel, you can sense that the car had its sensible nature designed in from the beginning, as it never feels playful or especially fun.

You could say the same thing about the styling, which vividly declares the car's no-nonsense nature and leaves you under no illusion that the Skoda Rapid sets out to be seen as anything but a dependable, robust, useful family car with a touch of class. It's undoubtedly a car bought with your head, rather than your heart.

The Rapid is offered with a range of well proven and economical petrol and diesel engines, all of which aim to fulfil the same sensible, economical brief. Every version is well equipped, starting from the entry-level S and topped by the expensive SE L model, with SE and Sport in between.

However, for all the Rapid's worthiness, the larger and even better appointed Skoda Octavia isn’t hugely more expensive, and because of this has proven to be a more popular choice than the Rapid.

MPG, running costs & CO2

3.6 / 5

The Rapid has a range of efficient petrol and diesel engines

Engines, drive & performance

3 / 5

The Rapid is easy to drive, but it’s not particularly fun

Interior & comfort

3.2 / 5

The Rapid makes a good motorway cruiser, but other cars will insulate you from potholes more

Practicality & boot space

4.4 / 5

The Rapid’s huge boot beats its rivals

Reliability & safety

3.7 / 5

The Rapid has excellent reliability and safety ratings

What the others say

3.9 / 5
based on 4 reviews
4 / 5
With the Rapid, Skoda has created a car that appeals to the heads of family car buyers everywhere. It's practical, clever, efficient and easy to drive, but is missing the kind of emotional attraction that will make people really want this car. Nevertheless, there are lots of people out there who will need a car like the Rapid, and for them there really is nothing better on the road.
4 / 5
Our brief experience of the car has shown is that it has real potential. It's a spacious and practical car that's also a fine vehicle to drive; and, at a time when value-for-money is a top priority for most, the Rapid is sure to tempt Focus and Golf buyers. It will even tempt those who are turning towards so-called 'budget' brands such as Kia and Hyundai. 
3 / 5
The new Skoda Rapid feels like it was built to a strict budget but should suit the growing number of drivers seeking an unpretentious, functional vehicle.
4.5 / 5
Fuel-efficient engines, saloon looks with hatchback practicality, largest boot in sector. Sport mouldings needed to brighten the exterior are costly optional extras.  
What owners say 
3.8181818181818
3.8 /5 based on 11 reviews
73%
 of people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
14 Jun 2016
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