Skoda Rapid Sport - Rapid Recovery?
Skoda has released an updated Rapid, in two guises, though most will want the Sport which is a bit racier and much better equipped than the Ambition variant, yet little dearer.
Slotting between Fabia and Octavia, Rapid Spaceback hasn’t been a big seller here; the total didn’t even crack 20 for 2017. Perhaps that’s because no-one knows quite knows what a Spaceback is. It resembles the lovechild of a liftback and wagon union.
So here it’s now simply known as the Rapid. The model initially sold as a liftback masquerading as a sedan with a huge 530L hatch. Despite the 2018 car’s elongated look it’s actually shorter than the liftback by 18cm, partly explaining the reduction in luggage space (415L). However, that’s still pretty decent for the sub$30k class.
And what can you get in the hold? Well, we managed a couple of wine barrel halves for starters. Rapid is available here as Ambition at $27,590 with a 999cc three-cylinder 70kW/160Nm turbopetrol, and the $2400 more expensive Sport. That packs a 92kW/200Nm 1.4L TSI four-potter.
The former is rated at 4.6L/100km and makes it to 100km/h in just over 11sec, while the Sport has respective figures of 5.5 and 9.0sec (we got 8.57, just saying). The extra boogie for the Sport doesn’t cost much then.
And it gets a swag more kit, though not much of it is in the active safety arena. Despite that, it has a five-star EuroNCAP rating. But there’s no autonomous braking or active cruise, and even air con is manual (auto for $1500).
Actual safety gear includes a hill holder, six airbags, and the default ABS and ESP/TC. Comfort entry costs $800 and nav with audio upgrade $1500. Ambition misses out on rain-sensing wipers, auto lights and bi-xenons with LED daytime runners.
It doesn’t get split folding either. Sport gets those plus a flat-bottom leather-bound steering wheel, piano black bits, sports pedals, and smart looking comfort seats. A standard Sports package comprises a fixed panoramic roof, 17-inch alloys, gloss black mirror caps, and other darkened bits.
Skodas come with Simply Clever stuff too, like an umbrella under the front seat and a couple of USB outlets in the back. Moreover, the cargo cover can be stowed in behind the back seat, which is handy and yes, clever.
How’zit go? Rapidly would be an exaggeration but it is hasty enough, an overtake taking six sec. Capable of cruising at 100km/h with fuel use in the low fours, in Sport transmission mode it’s keen between 3500 and 5500rpm and paddles aren’t missed. Peak fuel use was in the eights.
Not bad then, and nor is the way it drives, the ride never drawing attention to itself, the handling tidy without torque steer. It feels breezy on the go, a sensation enhanced by light steering.
Skoda reckons this car appeals more to women than blokes and maybe they’re right - the look is modern subdued - but as a practical thing with a bit of get up and go and some attractive features, we’d imagine men with young families might well find it ticks a lot of boxes too.