Skoda Rapid Spaceback 1.2 TSI (2014) review

Published:24 December 2013

Skoda Rapid Spaceback 1.2 TSI (2014) review
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Suppose you fancy yourself a Skoda Rapid Spaceback, but you’re not so keen on the 1.6-litre diesel engine we’ve previously tested. Instead, there’s the smaller 1.2-litre petrol version for less up front cost, so we’ve driven what’s the cheapest version of the Rapid Spaceback to see if it’s actually any good.

What does the ‘Spaceback’ name actually mean?

It’s a hatchback version of the regular Rapid notchback. Yes, it looks like a miniature estate, but with 135 litres less bootspace on board, it’s not the default practical choice. Skoda sees it as a trendy lifestyle vehicle for young families, trying to presuade trendy urbanites from their Mini Clubmans and assorted crossovers into the Spaceback instead.

>> Click here for CAR’s complete review of the Skoda Rapid Spaceback

Does the 1.2-litre engine make any sense in the Spaceback?

Yes – in fact it’s the pick of the range. No one’s going to be using one of these Spacebacks to take the cattle to market or move house in, so the 129lb ft (versus the 1.6 diesel’s impressive 169lb ft) isn’t a deal-breaker.

Meanwhile, the petrol has more outright poke: 103bhp plays 89bhp. There’s a less powerful 82bhp version of the same 1.2-litre, but we’d be in about as much hurry to choose that as the car itself is when you nail its throttle…

The diesel Rapid we drove felt more nose-heavy than Adrien Brody. The petrol, which shrugs off around 130kg, is a better steer as a result, with superior refinement to boot. This engine still sounds a touch strangled at higher revs, but in everyday driving this is the more balanced, well-mannered package, while remaining capable of hauling the Rapid along at an appropriate lick. Relaxed driving will score mid-forties mpg.

Anything else?

In its cheapest ‘S’ form, the 1.2 TSI is the cheapest way of getting into a Rapid (are you salivating yet?) at £12,905. Our mid-spec SE 103bhp test car, which offers the best compromise of outlay and spec, sets you back £15,350. The extra kit includes sat-nav, climate control and DAB radio, wrapped up in a typically intuitive and smartly finished cabin.

The Rapid Spaceback offers miles more cabin space for that money than a Titanium-trim TDCi Ford Fiesta, but has none of the handling alacrity or chic appeal that Ford’s best-selling baby exhibits in spades.

Verdict

It’s hard to see the Skoda Rapid Spaceback as anything other than the quintessential motoring whitegood, but like any tumble dryer or refrigerator, if it’s efficient, reliable and easy to use, it has its place.

The Rapid Spaceback won’t be at the top of many wish-lists, but should you yearn for one take the petrol-powerd version.

Specs

Price when new: £15,350
On sale in the UK: Now
Engine: 1197cc 16v in-line four-cyl, turbocharged, 103bhp @ 5500rpm, 129lb ft @ 1500-4100rpm
Transmission: Five-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Performance: 10.4sec 0-62mph, 121mph, 52.3mpg, 125g/km cO2
Weight / material: 1100kg/steel
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm):

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  • Skoda Rapid Spaceback 1.2 TSI (2014) review
  • Skoda Rapid Spaceback 1.2 TSI (2014) review
  • Skoda Rapid Spaceback 1.2 TSI (2014) review
  • Skoda Rapid Spaceback 1.2 TSI (2014) review
  • Skoda Rapid Spaceback 1.2 TSI (2014) review
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