Road Runner, Superfast, Gran Sport, Super Sport, to me there is something quite satisfying when a vehicle does what is says on the tin. It’s a sense of full-circle completion, an ‘everyone is on the same page’ moment, which is why my eyebrows raised a little when Skoda asked me to take a look at their new look Rapid Sport Spaceback—of course, I needn’t have worried by any of the nameplates.
Skoda has a history of going fast, from the two-wheel bikes of the early 1900s to the Formula 3 of the ‘60s and of course their golden rally eras of the 70s and 80s, plus their current lineup of vehicles have some impressive speed and handling stats (the vRS, Sportline etc).
Under the Rapid Sport’s bonnet lives an enthusiastic 1.4L Turbo Petrol engine, that will happily give you 92kW to play with as you edge over 5,000rpm and 200Nm of torque. Nought to 100km/h is achieved at around nine seconds and yet the powertrain/7-speed DSG box combination give you a wallet closing fuel efficiency of 5.5L/100km.
From top to bottom, the New Skoda Rapid has been given a thorough going over by their design, tech and safety teams and the result is rather satisfying. The Sport model I drove had a full panoramic roof, a high tornado line, Bi-Xenon headlights underscored with LED running lamps, gloss black door mirrors, darkened rear glass, a rear roof spoiler and 17” ‘Savio’ black alloy wheels. Even at only 4.3m long, it offers an eye-catching silhouette, although I would have preferred a colour other than white (thankfully for me there many others to choose from).
The ‘Dynamic’ interior feels spacious and well-appointed. Seats are firm with a diamond design. The dashboard is clean and uncluttered, Infotainment is delivered with pristine clarity (as is the reversing camera) and the D-shape leather wheel feels great to the touch. I did find the centre console compartment a little intrusive, but it was easily flipped back out of the way.
As the title suggests, there is plenty of space in this large hatchback (415L to be more precise) and with its 5-Star Euro NCAP Safety rating, the Rapid is full of airbags and curtains.
On the move the Rapid feels nimble and light, the steering is quite exact and there is a nice balance when cornering. It offers ample and convenient space for most small family chores but plenty of driving fun for when the working week is over. The Skoda Rapid has a lightness about it, which in turn makes the ride very enjoyable and the 1.4L engine is responsive with plenty of depth before the Rev limiter comes into play, apparently the wheels will spin too (but I can neither confirm or deny this).
To sum it all up, this roomy new look Skoda Spaceback may not be Superfast but as the title suggests, it is Rapid.