Road test: Skoda Rapid
SKODA'S Rapid squeezes into a gap in the range between the Fabia and Octavia, but it's not a great deal smaller than its big sibling and its boot is huge. It's clear where cost has been taken out of the car but it still appears a quality product. And an efficient one in 1.6-litre TDI guise.
The Rapid is a car which rides firmly and probably won't appeal to enthusiast drivers. But it has light steering and excellent all-round visibility making it an easy car to drive.
With 105ps on tap, this 1.6-litre TDI diesel will take you past 62mph in 10.4 seconds on the way to 118mph. This powerplant certainly gives you more pulling power than the petrol options, but then it needs it thanks to the additional heaviness the TDI unit adds to a kerb weight that on petrol models is significantly lighter than on other family hatchback rivals. Which makes this car actually quite agile through the twisty stuff if you really need it to be.
Inside, touch many of the cabin plastics and they're rather hard and scratchy, but it looks well built. It looks elegant. It looks, above all else, as if it's not trying too hard.
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Rear legroom is excellent although shoulder room is a pinch for three. Headroom is good as well, while the boot is bigger than that of a Ford Mondeo and accessed through a huge tailgate. Grumbles? The 60/40 split/fold rear seats don't go completely flat and the load sill is fairly high.
The standard specification runs to remote central locking, curtain airbags, daytime running lights, rake/reach-adjustable steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver's seat and electric front windows. SE trim starts at around the £15,000 mark and adds 15-inch alloy wheels, body-coloured door mirrors and handles, air-conditioning, a Maxi-dot trip computer, an MDI (Multi Device Interface), a leather steering wheel and Bluetooth connectivity.
Buyers opting for range-topping Elegance models benefit from 16-inch alloys, cornering front fog lamps, cruise control, a height-adjustable passenger seat, rear electric windows, chrome interior detailing and a multi-functional steering wheel.
The Rapid might seem unremarkable on the face of things but Skoda has in fact built something rather intriguing. It has brought to market a car that doesn't rely on gimmicks in any way.
The Rapid is a car that appeals to the self assured customer; the sort of person who doesn't need to hide behind a badge to impress others.