Skoda Rapid 1.2 TSI

13 Nov, 2012 11:30am Lesley Harris

We get behind the wheel of the top-value Skoda Rapid hatch on British roads for the first time


Although it’s unlikely to get your heart beating faster, the sensible Rapid has a lot going for it. No other car in the class (apart from the near-identical SEAT Toledo) can match it for space, while the 1.2-litre turbo is an absolute gem. The firm ride lets the side down a bit, but the car is also robustly built, generously equipped and attractively priced.

The Skoda Rapid can trace its roots all the way back to the thirties, but it’s been nearly 30 years since a model wearing that badge was available in UK dealers. With the new Rapid now on sale, has it been worth the wait?

It’s designed to slot into the Skoda range between the Fabia supermini and soon-to-be-replaced Octavia, and is a practical, no-nonsense and affordable family car. This is reflected in the Rapid’s styling.

The lines are clean and sleek, and while you’d struggle to call it a head-turner, it’s what’s inside that counts – and this is where the Rapid scores. No matter where you’re sitting, there’s lots of space. Driver and front seat passenger have plenty of legroom, while six-footers will have no trouble getting comfortable in the rear.

Plus, the interior is robustly built from good-quality materials, while the switchgear and controls are perfectly laid out. Our SE car benefited from air-con, an iPod connection, Bluetooth, hill-hold and alloy wheels as standard.

The Rapid’s roomy feel extends to the boot, which has a class-leading luggage capacity of 550 litres. Fold the rear seats, and the volume increases to a whopping 1,490 litres.

Buyers can take their pick from five engines – four petrols and a 104bhp 1.6-litre TDI diesel. The smooth 85bhp 1.2-litre TSI petrol model tested here is set to be the best seller, though, and it’s easy to see why. Even though it’s small, this turbo engine feels remarkably lively, yet it emits just 119g/km of CO2 and should return 50mpg-plus economy.

Light, precise steering and decent grip help the Rapid feel composed and well controlled on the road. And although the ride is a little firm and wind noise can be intrusive on the motorway, this is all forgiven when you see the price. Entry-level models start at £12,900, while our well equipped SE will set you back £14,650.

Factor in low running costs and that unrivalled practicality, and the Rapid makes a lot of sense.

Key specs

  • Price: £14,650
  • Engine: 1.2-litre 4cyl, 85bhp
  • Transmission: Five-speed manual, front-wheel drive
  • 0-62mph: 11.8 seconds
  • Top speed: 114mph
  • Economy: 55.4mpg
  • CO2: 119g/km
  • Equipment: Air-conditioning, Bluetooth, 15-inch alloy wheels, leather steering wheel, stability control, iPod connection
  • On sale: Now