► CAR's Rapid diesel test
► Notchback in SE L spec
► Priced at £19,855
Minicabbers – your new ride is here, and it looks a lot like your old one. The Skoda Rapid underwent an almost unnoticeable facelift earlier in 2017, which included a light spruce-up in the design department and a re-organising of equipment levels.
We’ve already tested the facelifted Rapid before, but that was the family-friendly Spaceback model with the new 1.0-litre TSI. This time, we’re behind the wheel of a well-specced SE L model with the 1.6-litre TDI diesel.
Are you sure the Skoda Rapid was facelifted in 2017?
We’re sure, but it’s hard to tell, isn’t it? Skoda says that the Rapid’s new look has tweaked foglights, black-tinted rear lights, five new alloy wheel designs and higher-end models have new bi-xenon lights.
This SE L model comes equipped with rear parking sensors, climate control, cruise control and a touchscreen infotainment system too.
So, this is the diesel Rapid…
Yes, and the most powerful one available in the range. First impressions are that the 114bhp unit is pretty coarse, whether you’re sat at a set of traffic lights or pulling out to overtake.
There’s torque a-plenty so you shouldn’t have to rev it hard, which is great as there’s a distinct lack of sound deadening. A 0-62mph launch time of 9.9 seconds is pretty acceptable at this price point, but the TSI petrol feels sprightlier and manages to at least sound characterful when you rev it.
When behind the wheel, the 2017 Skoda Rapid is capable and solid. It won’t thrill your socks off, which is hardly a surprise, and the steering is so light it can feel a bit twichy at motorway speeds. We were disappointed by the knobbly ride when we tested it on German roads, too.
Will my passengers feel comfortable?
From a space point of view, yes. There’s acres of room in the rear of a Rapid, even if the front passengers are lanky, and the windows large enough to not immediately instigate claustrophobia.
They (and indeed you), however, probably won’t be enamoured by the budget Skoda’s interior material quality. Shockingly flimsy plastics in likely touch points (glovebox handle, window switches and so on) let down the sensibly laid-out dashboard.
The Rapid has 550 litres of boot space, which is enough to swallow at least four big suitcases for runs to the airport. That’s more than the slightly irregularly-named Spaceback model and just 40 litres fewer than the slightly bigger Octavia. Interior packaging is at its finest.
The Skoda Rapid’s huge boot will undoubtedly attract many taxi drivers to its cause but the Rapid is a car that will draw a lot of ambivalence from those interested in driving.
It’s practical, sensible and neatly laid out inside, so it’s a rational choice, but it’s not the most exciting car out there. We’d avoid the TDI diesel engine; the TSI petrol is far quieter and manages to be more economical, on paper at least.
Check out the rest of our Skoda reviews right here