By Patrick James on 2017-02-25 - The author has been a motoring writer for more than 16 years. Formerly motoring editor at the Coventry Telegraph, he now produces motoring copy, on new car launches and road tests on a freelance basis.
Spaceback SE Sport
SKODA likes to describe some of its cars through the model name.
Think Superb or Roomster and, erm, Rapid.
Bigger than the Fabia but less than the Octavia, it is a practical family motor which the Czech firm says is dynamically styled, with high specification and packed with ‘simply clever' ideas.
It also offers the best rear leg and headroom in its sector together with class-leading 415-litre boot - extendable to 1,380 litres.
While at the cheaper end of the VW group, it is not bargain basement any more, but does offer decent value for money, with engines that offer low emissions and excellent economy. Having said that, this range topper is more than 18k, anything but cheap.
Clever touches are a familiar theme with Skoda, many will remember the umbrella in door of the Superb.
The Spaceback takes this on with a variable boot floor, ice-scraper inside the fuel cap, and a host of holders, nets and hooks all around the interior. There is also a high vis vest tucked away under the front seats.
Its neat styling features raked grille with large air scoop and driving lights, full-length panoramic roof on this model, and tapered styling to the business end rear, where the extra space comes into play.
Topping it all off are ultra-stylish, 17-inch black alloy wheels and you have an attractive mid-priced motor.
The interior is typically Skoda, where less is more seems to be the philosophy. The dark dash, on this model, houses a simple yet effective layout, which is dominated by the touchscreen in the centre of the of V-shaped centre console.
It also features a neat, sporty three-spoke steering wheel. Striking new fabric design to the sports seats is a nice contrast to the dark trim.
The Rapid Spaceback a practical car which is added to with storage compartments positioned in the doors and in the centre console to supplement the large boot and rear stowage area.
The entry level S is not awash with equipment, but features aradio with CD capable of playing MP3 files, manual air conditioning, remote central locking daytime running lights, height and reach adjustable steering wheel, steel wheels and electric front windows while higher spec models add a mobile device interface (MDI) for controlling an external MP3 player, and Bluetooth telephone connectivity.
The SE and Sport tested here add more goodies like alloys, parking sensors, DAB radio, while the range topper adds the sports seats the impressive panoramic roof, tinted glass, leather bits of trim and host of other goodies.
There are petrol and diesel power units available The 90ps 1.4-litre diesel tested here delivers remarkable economy and low emissions of 94g/km, which for the time being, means zero road tax, while still producing decent acceleration.
There is quite a bit of clatter, which does quieten down once under way and is virtually absent on the motorway, but getting the fuel gauge to move is part of the fun.
The 78mpg combined official figure might be a bit fanciful, but there no doubt in my mind that mpg was well into the 60s over many miles of mixed driving.
This economy ensures trips to the filling station will be few and far between. It is a refined motorway cruiser while ride and handling on urban roads are decent enough for a small family car.
For safety, there is a comprehensive package of active and passive safety features, including all round airbags and stability control.
Skoda Rapid Spaceback SE Sport 1.4 TDI
Mechanical: 90ps, 1,422cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox
Max Speed: 114mph
0-62mph: 11.6 seconds
Combined MPG: 78.5
Insurance Group: 11
C02 emissions: 94g/km
Bik rating: 20%
Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles
Choose from one or more of the options to find the car for you.
Based on your search find the dealership
nearest to you.