All of the Rapid’s mechanical kit is well-proven technology, there is nothing new or ground-breaking about it. From its size you might suppose that under the skin it would have a similar structure to the new generation Volkswagen Golf, using VW’s latest MQB modular platform. Instead, the Rapid uses older technology with similar underpinnings to its smaller sister the Skoda Fabia. The suspension set-up is conventional, with McPherson strut at the front end and a twist axle at the back. This is good for space inside the body, but ride quality is disappointing. The Rapid is quite bouncy over the bumps and does not feel as well damped to deal with a typical British back road as we would like.
This is particularly true of the modestly-powered petrol model, riding on 15-inch alloys. The diesel, with its heavier engine up front, rides slightly better despite having bigger 16-inch wheels. But it is still not particularly good at absorbing undulations, and it see-saws across even quite modest potholes.
The handling is better than the ride. It clings on to corners with reasonable assurance and the body does not roll much at all on the bends, so the chassis manages the relatively modest power well enough. If you want a better handling car with a more distinguished ride, this may not be the car to go for. A VW Golf or Ford Focus – for more money - will out-handle a Skoda Rapid. What you get here is adequate, if rather budget, driving calibre in a car with a vast amount of room for its size.Ease of Use
The figures tell the story. The Rapid is only 4.4 metres in length, but it packs in 550 litres of standard boot space, extending to a very useful 1,490 litres with the back seats folded down. To demonstrate how big the boot is, Skoda staff at the car’s launch unloaded six varying size suitcases and a net full of footballs from the boot. Convinced there was some kind of trickery, we made them load it all back in again, and everything fitted in comfortably.
Luggage capacity has not been achieved at the expense of passenger room, though. There is ample accommodation in the cabin for five six-footers to sit with knee-room to spare, and nobody’s head reaches the ceiling. The Rapid is a packaging marvel for its size and price.
For active families who want to pack the back of the car with leisure kit and hook something up behind, be it a small caravan or boat trailer, the Rapid will do the job well. The petrol model will tow 900 kg, and the diesel has a 1,200 kg towing capacity.
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