Skoda Rapid Spaceback vs rivals

New five-door Skoda Rapid Spaceback meets rivals Hyundai i30 and Toyota Auris

Since the seventies, the hatchback has made quite an impression in the UK. Look at the lists of best-selling cars and month in, month out, you’ll find the top slots dominated by models that are more practical than saloons, but have more style than estates.

Skoda Rapid Spaceback review

Hyundai i30 review

Toyota Auris review

Skoda is one maker that has excelled at building user-friendly hatches, although the styling of cars such as the Octavia and Rapid has still given a nod to the saloon shape. The company’s latest model, the Rapid Spaceback, can’t be mistaken for anything other than a hatch, however.

It’s designed to slot in between the standard Rapid and larger Octavia, and prices start from £14,340, which places it at the value end of the hatch spectrum.

So for its first test, we’ve lined up two rivals that also trade on value and low running costs. We’ve tried the Toyota Auris in hybrid guise, but this is the first time we’ve tested the diesel. Is it a better bet than the petrol-electric version?

Our final contender is the Hyundai i30. While the Korean maker has moved away from its budget roots, the SE model tested here undercuts the Spaceback, but has a similar amount of kit. The question is, can the Rapid take victory?

Head-to-head

Boot battle

The Rapid has the biggest boot, at 415 litres, with the i30 second on 378 litres and the Auris in third on 360 litres. Fold the seats, and the Toyota’s variable boot floor means you can free up a completely flat area.

A 70cm high boot lip in the Skoda is 3cm lower than in either rival, plus it’s slightly wider. However, the load bay is a little narrower at the parcel shelf, measuring 95cm compared to 104cm for the i30.

Skoda Rapid Spaceback vs rivals boot

Visual appeal

Park these three cars side-by-side, and it’s clear that the i30 and Auris were designed as hatches from the ground up, with smooth lines and neat details. Yet the Rapid looks awkward, with its odd proportions and truncated rear.

Optional extras

Toyota and Hyundai offer limited options here, with parking, multimedia, convenience and comfort packs available on the Auris and metallic paint the only extra on the i30. But the Rapid has a huge variety of extras.

A £1,100 Style Pack adds tailgate glass and a panoramic roof, while sports seats are £300, 17-inch alloys £300, tinted rear windows £200 and a Simply Clever pack – with an iPod cradle and waste bin – £50. Metallic Rallye Green and Sprint Yellow paint are £525 each.

Verdict

1st place: Hyundai i30

Hyundai i30 static

This is a close test, because all three cars have their merits. But in the final reckoning, it’s the i30 that edges the win. It provides decent space and it’s more comfortable than either rival here, while economy is decent and performance respectable. To cap it all off it’s great value.

2nd place: Skoda Rapid Spaceback

Skoda Rapid Spaceback static

Unless you need a massive boot, the Spaceback is better than the standard car, due to its more distinctive looks and improved rear visibility. The Skoda still has more load space than either rival, but a firm ride, low-rent plastics and gruff 1.6 TDI count against it. If you want a Spaceback, buy a 1.2 TSI.

3rd place: Toyota Auris

Toyota Auris 2013 static

Our first test of the diesel Auris has revealed one certainty: the hybrid is the pick of the range. The 1.4 D-4D is economical, but it’s slow and this lighter version of the Auris is just as uninspiring to drive as the hybrid. A higher list price, smaller boot and tighter cabin space all mark it down in this test.

 Hyundai i30 1.6 CRDi SESkoda Rapid Spaceback 1.6 TDI EleganceToyota Auris 1.4 D-4D Icon
On-the-road price/total as tested£18,395/£18,710£18,390/£18,890£18,745/£19,640
Residual value (after 3yrs/30,000)£7,229/39.3%£7,871/42.8%£7,453/40.3%
Depreciation£11,166£10,519£11,042
Annual tax liability std/higher rate£624/£1,247£623/£1,247£561/£1,121
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)£1,520/£2,534£1,487/£2,478£1,490/£2,484
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost11/£315/C/£3016/£289/C/£3010/£289/B/£20
Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service£449 (3yrs/30k)£529 (3yrs/60k)£129/£199/£129
    
Length/wheelbase4,300/2,650mm4,304/2,602mm4,275/2,600mm
Height/width1,465/1,780mm1,459/1,706mm1,460/1,760mm
Engine4cyl in-line/1,582cc4cyl in-line/1,598cc4cyl in-line/1,364cc
Peak power109/4,000 bhp/rpm104/4,400 bhp/rpm89/3,800 bhp/rpm
Peak torque260/1,900 Nm/rpm250/1,500 Nm/rpm205/1,800 Nm/rpm
Transmission6-spd man/fwd5-spd man/fwd6-spd man/fwd
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel53 litres/space saver55 litres/repair kit50 litres/repair kit
Boot capacity (seats up/down)378/1,316 litres415/1,380 litres360/1,200 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight1,360/450/1,500kg1,185/535/1,200kg1,290/525/1,000kg
Turning circle/drag coefficient10.6 metres/0.30Cd10.2 metres/N/A10.4 metres/0.28Cd
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery5yrs (unlimited)/5yrs3yrs (60,000)/3yrs RAC5yrs (100,000)/1yr AA
Service intervals/UK dealers20,000 miles (1yr)/16210k miles (1yr)/13510k miles (1yr)/181
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.14th/20th2nd/7th9th/3rd
Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars90/90/67/594/80/69/592/84/68/5
    
0-60/30-70mph10.7/10.5 secs9.9/10.0 secs11.5/12.5 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th4.8/8.2 secs4.3/7.6 secs4.9/7.4 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th10.1/14.3 secs10.4 secs/N/A11.8/14.9 secs
Top speed/rpm at 70mph115mph/1,900rpm118mph/2,050rpm112mph/2,000rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph54.8/40.9/9.1m49.4/34.3/10.7m47.8/35.4/9.6m
Noise levels outside/idle/30/70mph63/46/65/72dB72/45/61/69dB64/47/61/74dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range49.7/10.9/579 miles50.8/11.2/615 miles50.7/11.2/558 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined54.3/78.5/65.7mpg50.4/76.4/64.2mpg78.5/62.8/72.4mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined11.9/17.3/14.5mpl11.1/16.8/14.1mpl17.3/13.8/15.9mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket152/114g/km/17%149/114g/km/17%149/103g/km/15%
    
Airbags/Isofix/park sensors/cameraSix/yes/rear/noSix/yes/rear/noSeven/yes/£350/yes
Automatic box/stability/cruise control£670/yes/yes£510/yes/yesNo/yes/no
Climate control/leather/heated seatsYes/no/noYes/no/£200Yes/no/no
Met paint/xenon lights/keyless go£470/no/no£525/no/no£495/no/£550 (pack)
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/BluetoothNo/yes/no/yes£550/yes/£550/yes£650/yes/yes/yes

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