Skoda Rapid vs rivals

Kia Cee'd vs Skoda Rapid and Chevrolet Cruze
12 Dec, 2012 10:30am

The eighties Skoda Rapid was a much-maligned coupe, but now the badge is back on this top-value family hatch. Is the joke on its rivals?

Skoda is on a roll. Its rugged Yeti crossover and spacious Superb family car have class-leading credentials, while the clever Citigo city car was crowned our 2012 Car of the Year.

Now it’s the turn of the Rapid to try to continue the success story. The new car is based on the underpinnings of the Roomster and VW Polo, and aims to deliver family car space and practicality for mid-range supermini money.

There’s a limited line-up of petrol and diesel engines to choose from, and we test the frugal 1.6 TDI diesel in well equipped SE spec. A £17,100 price puts the Rapid in the firing line of two cost-effective family cars.

The entry-level Kia Cee’d 1 1.6 CRDi mixes style and a grown-up driving experience, while the Chevrolet Cruze has a gutsy diesel and roomy cabin. Can they stop the Rapid continuing Skoda’s winning streak?


Skoda has enjoyed a strong run of road test success in recent years, but the new Rapid can’t extend the brand’s winning ways.

The car certainly continues Skoda’s value-for-money tradition, while few rivals in this class are as spacious and practical. The Rapid is also well equipped and cost effective to run. As a result it narrowly beats the Cruze, which is roomy, fast and generously kitted out, but hobbled by a cheap-feeling cabin, poor residuals and the highest price in this test.

However, the Skoda can’t quite pull off the same trick against the Kia. Yes, the Cee’d has the smallest cabin, but it’ll be large enough for most families’ needs, plus it feels a cut above the rest in terms of quality and layout. The Kia also comes with plenty of equipment, and has low CO2 emissions and an industry-leading seven-year warranty. The fact it’s the cheapest car to buy is merely the icing on the cake.

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Did somebody else noticed that Dacia's Sandero looks better than Skoda's Rapid.

A dog t*rd looks better than the Skoda Rapid!

Oh here we go, people slating the Rapid because it's not all 'cutesy and curvy'! It's main purpose is to serve emerging countries where this type of car is popular, and at a budget. Unfortunately, the UK is full of badge snobs and can't see that in 5 years time, the Rapid will have aged much better than the current crop of korean dogs dinners or Euro-boxes or japcrap. It's not perfect, and it is not a great looker, but it's honest and safe - 5 stars NCAP, whereas the dacia Sandero only musters 3!

Ouch! Vagfan.

If this car's main purpose is to serve emerging countries then what is it doing here? And at this price? You've got to be kidding! At best its a Jetta in Skoda clothing. Did anyone else notice?
And oh, no. I'm not a badge snob. I just appreciate if designers put their back into their work and create something that's easy on the eye as well as serve the purpose.

Spent a bit of time in one in Germany recently, it certainly looks ok and the initial appearnce of the interior is fairly good but up close it is a very cheaply made car. I quite honestly do not understand it's purpose in the upcoming line-up. Size-wise Skoda seem to have lost the plot, the Rapid is certainly not short on space, so then we have an even more massive Octavia coming and an already ridiculously spacious Superb. All very confusing and I can only see the Rapid stealing sales from the Octavia for the people who see it simply as a newer (very very slightly smaller) version of the current Octavia, which really, it is.

It will only have "aged better" than others simply because it wasn't ever very much. A pretty girl sadly may loose her looks but at least she had them to start with! Skoda seemed to be improving stylistically up to and including the Yeti but are regressing again. From the experience of a colleague Skoda do indeed seem to be screwed together better than VW.
"Badge snobbery" is indeed silly but this can hardly be a factor in the favour of Hyundai or Kia. The latter secured the services of a very good stylist who had worked for Audi.
Boy don't the VW group need him now