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Statistics

How much? £17,100
On sale in the UK: November 2012
Engine: 1598cc 4-cylinder turbodiesel, 104bhp @ 4400rpm, 185lb ft @ 1500rpm
Transmission: Five-speed manaul, front-wheel drive
Performance: 10.6sec 0-62mph, 118mph, 64.2mpg, 114g/km
How heavy / made of? 1254kg/steel
How big (length/width/height in mm)? 4483/1706/1461
Need to know

CAR's rating

Rated 3 out of 53

Handling

Rated 3 out of 53

Performance

Rated 3 out of 53

Usability

Rated 3 out of 53

Feelgood factor

Rated 3 out of 53

Readers' rating

Rated 3 out of 53

Skoda Rapid (2012) CAR review

By Steve Moody

First Drives

24 October 2012 15:00

When one of Skoda’s big selling points for the new Rapid is that the car comes with a see-through ice scraper that also doubles as a magnifying glass, you might think they are struggling to find USPs for it.

But once buyers have been won over by the advantages of being able to look at ice crystals in slightly more detail than previously, they will find other things of note about the new Skoda.

What have you noted about the Skoda Rapid?

For a start, it’s got a massive boot, of 550 litres, by all accounts it should be very cheap at less than £13,000 for the entry level model, it should be generously specced, and cabin space is excellent too, when compared to the current Octavia, or its rivals. Except, what are its rivals?

For the Rapid is sold as car that is bigger than a Fabia, but smaller than the Octavia, yet it’s a foot longer than the outgoing mk6 Golf. Also, and this is an issue specific to the UK market, it looks too much like a saloon (even though it’s a hatch) – and unlike those Americans and southern Europeans, we hate small saloons.

Skoda recognises it has some work to do to explain its out-of-step sizing but once the new Octavia is unveiled next year, it will become clearer, because that car will grow, and so the range will make more sense. Think Escort, Orion, Sierra and Granada and you have Skoda’s sizing plan nailed.

So get your head round that, and what are you left with? Actually, a very solid, sensible car. The firm maintains that its position is to offer value, not fashion, and people will not be running out of their house in their socks and nightgowns desperate to buy the first one, but it’s a car punters will chose after much sober contemplation of all the facts.

What's under the bonnet of the new Skoda Rapid?

The Rapid will come with two 1.2-litre petrol engines (one a new TSI, the other the ageing VW Group boiler) a 121bhp 1.4TSI and a 1.6 diesel, with the upcoming Greenline version offering CO2 emissions around 100g/km. We drove the diesel and the 1.2 TSI (both of which produce 104bhp) and found them adequate, although the petrol was noticeably less nose-heavy. Even with such low power outputs, they could be kept skipping along happily, although drop off-boost below 1500rpm in the diesel at your peril. But both drive reasonably enough without setting your pants on fire, although the ride can be brittle at times – this car is not on the new MQB platform, but an agglomeration of previous VW Group bits.

And on the inside?

Inside, it’s a VW Group bring-and-buy sale, to, with all the materials on the workmanlike side of proletarian. It’s all good, honest stock, though, if not exactly luxurious, and the seating position is comfortable, although that infernal armrest that has block-tackled many a gearchange makes an unwelcome return from ergonomic obscurity.

Verdict

The Rapid is not an exciting car by any stretch of the imagination, but when all’s said and done it comes down to the numbers. In lower-spec guises, it's usefully cheaper than competitors such as the Kia Cee’d and Hyundai i30, and that should be exactly what that sector of the market wants, ocular ice scraper or not.

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estubbs

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estubbs says

RE: Skoda Rapid (2012) CAR review

The VAG group, if we're not careful, will be responsible for the death of design innovation. This russian-doll approach to their segment line-up is mortifyingly dull. It's a pragmatists dream, a creative nightmare. Think there was an article in this month's mag about Audi's design stasis. It's not just Audi, it's a VAG disease, and unfortunately the public are lapping it up.

06 November 2012 17:18

 

barky99

barky99 says

RE: Skoda Rapid (2012) CAR review

Looks like all the car I could ever need -- roughly the size of the pre 2004 octavia, nothing flashy but I like that -- could be livened up with the engine from fabia (v)RS

27 October 2012 15:48

 

Sam the Eagle

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Sam the Eagle says

RE: Skoda Rapid (2012) CAR review

Lovely - what's not to like?

 

 

26 October 2012 16:11

 

taaudi

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taaudi says

RE: Skoda Rapid (2012) CAR review

I TOTALLY TOTALLY agree with halfabee, why even bother!! so drab looking, just buy the real thing...

26 October 2012 15:53

 

Halfabee

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Halfabee says

RE: Skoda Rapid (2012) CAR review

VAG only knows how to do VWs. It does Volkswagen VWs; it does VW's with less kit, worse dynamics and lower prices - called Skodas; it does VWs with better interiors, more kit and higher prices - called Audis; and it pretends to do VWs with better dynamics and 'Latin' emotion, called SEATs (but that's another, rather sad story).

So this will be bought by people who want a VW but aren't prepared to pay for the VW badge, most of whom won't notice the sleights of hand in engineering and equipment that differentiate this from a VW VW: they will be smugly satisfied that they think they have bought a VW for less than the real deal. On this occasion, the difference is more than just the badge.

25 October 2012 09:32

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