Skoda Rapid

Spaceback SE Sport

Skoda Rapid Spaceback, front
Skoda Rapid Spaceback, 2016, front
Skoda Rapid Spaceback, side
Skoda Rapid Spaceback, rear
Skoda Rapid Spaceback, rear
Skoda Rapid Spaceback, 2016, rear
Skoda Rapid Spaceback, interior
Skoda Rapid Spaceback, boot
Skoda Rapid Spaceback, 2016, rear seats

SKODA has built an enviable reputation for reliability and quality, combined with value for money.

It could be argued that the Czech car maker's designs have more of an element of functionality than flair but the Rapid Spaceback is a design I've grown to rather like.

With the disappearance of models like the Roomster and Yeti there's a risk some of the brand's individuality and quirkiness could be lost.

Everyone is upping their presence in the ever-growing crossover and SUV segment, which has seen the emergence of models like the Kodiaq and Karoq.

Good as they are they have been closer to the mainstream than the slightly off-piste approach traditionally favoured by Skoda.

One of the good things about the Rapid Spaceback is its individuality - there really isn't anything else like it.

In truth I have previously thought of it as a bit of a plain Jane but I was struck by how many admiring comments it was the subject of during my time at the wheel.

Size-wise Skoda's Rapid sits between the Fabia and Octavia models and there are two versions, a hatchback and the Spaceback.

Confusingly the hatchback looks more like a saloon, while the Spaceback looks more like, you've guessed it - a hatchback.

Truth be told it's something of a halfway house between a conventional hatchback and an estate.

To add to the confusion the Rapid hatchback has a bigger boot than the Spaceback.

If that doesn't add up, bear with me, it does actually make sense.

The hatchback's design, and in particular its rear overhang, gives it an extremely generously sized 515-litre boot.

The Spaceback's 415-litre boot might seem substantially smaller but it's still pretty big and with the rear seats folded down it offers 1,380 litres of carrying space.

The car's tour de force is the level of passenger comfort it delivers.

It actually reminds me of the Skoda Superb, which is characterised by limo-like space in the rear.

The Spaceback has something of the character of a mini limousine, with the kind of leg and headroom not seen anywhere in a vehicle of this size and stature.

Last year saw the Rapid range given a refresh, with a few design changes which included a slightly altered front apron with new fog lamps and a new chrome strip connecting the headlights.

Other changes include new tinted taillights and new alloy wheel designs.

A new 1.0-litre TSI engine for the range was also introduced to replace a 1.2-litre unit, along with new technology.

There are 95ps and 110ps versions of this three-cylinder engine available.

This was the higher-powered variant and it's a great little unit which is sufficiently potent and splendidly smooth.

There are 1.4-litre and 1.6-litre diesel engine options too.

Trim-wise buyers can choose from S, SE Sport or SE Tech and there's a choice between manual or DSG automatic transmissions.

The Spaceback is characterised by the kind of sturdy and robust build quality one's come to expect from car makers in the Volkswagen Group and also offers a lot of intelligent storage solutions.

There's an abundance of hooks, holders and nets which all come in surprisingly handy.

It delivers a drive that's engaging, with enough of that small car feel to ensure it has a fun character.

FAST FACTS

Skoda Rapid Spaceback SE Sport

Price: £17,685

Mechanical: 110ps, 999cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 123mph

0-62mph: 9.8 seconds

Combined MPG: 57

Insurance Group: 13

C02 emissions: 106g/km

Bik rating: 22%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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