At first glance, this car seems to overlap its Skoda stablemate, the Octavia. They are a similar size and seem to appeal to similar buyers. But actually the Rapid has been planned to slot into the range between the smaller Fabia and the new Octavia due in 2013.
Skoda has been expanding rapidly both in its range of cars and its reputation. This budget brand of the Volkswagen Group has precisely the right products for tough economic times, with value for money as a core value. So here comes the Skoda Rapid, a new addition to the Skoda line-up that combines a medium size car body with much bigger car roominess and all for a very reasonable price.
At first glance, this car seems to overlap its Skoda stablemate, the Octavia. They are a similar size and seem to appeal to similar buyers. But actually the Rapid has been planned to slot into the range between the smaller Fabia and the new Octavia due in 2013, which will be bigger and more up-market than the model it replaces. The Rapid follows a recent trend for cars to be styled like a saloon but have hatchback practicality, so there is a large tailgate where you might expect a small bootlid to be from the smart look of the body shape.
The Rapid’s arrival on the UK market in December 2012 is in a range that includes a 1.2 TSI petrol model with a five-speed manual gearbox, 1.4 TSI petrol with a DSG twin-clutch auto, and a 1.6 TDI diesel with manual gearbox. These are all familiar Volkswagen Group engines and transmissions. Trim levels are S, SE and Elegance.
Prices start from £12,900 for a petrol-engined 1.2 TSI S. The petrol 1.4 TSI with auto transmission is £17,135. Diesels are from £17,100 to £17,850. The car tested here is the 1.2 TSI (85 bhp) in SE trim. We have also driven the 1.6 TDI (104 bhp).
The turbocharged 1.2-litre TSI four-cylinder engine pumps out a relatively modest 85 bhp, so it is not a particularly inspiring performer. It takes almost 12 seconds to propel the Rapid from a standing start to 62 mph, so the car’s name is a bit ambitious. But fuel consumption is a reasonable 55.4 mpg on the combined cycle, and CO2 output is ok at 119 g/km. Move up to the diesel, and you knock over a second off the acceleration time and add a few mph to the top speed. More usefully, the combined fuel figure increases to 64.2 mpg and the CO2 figure drops to 114 g/km.