13.11.2012 Skoda Rapid 1.2 TSI review
The new Rapid is an honest product that’s well built and will serve its owners well. It’s spacious and the driving position is fine. Initially there’s a choice of five petrol engines and one diesel. General refinement is poor over some surfaces. More parsimonious GreenTech models are due mid 2013.
With new features including an ice scraper stored over the fuel filler cap, a hook in the boot to keep shopping bags upright, and a new badge, now on the bonnet rather than the front grille, you know you aren’t at the automotive cutting edge. That said, the new Rapid is a good car that will do well as part of the growing Skoda range.
Review by Russell Bray for nextgreencar.com
Fears that the 1.2 litre turbo petrol engine would struggle with such a large car to propel were unjustified but we were only ‘two up’ and without luggage while the Rapid can carry five and has a huge boot. The four-cylinder engine produces 85bhp at 4,800rpm and maximum torque of 118 lbs ft from 1,500 to 3,500rpm, so you need plenty of gear stirring to keep things going. I suspect the 74bhp S model would struggle. Rapid it isn’t going to be. The big interior suffered ear pressure ‘booms’ at some engine speeds. Acceleration to 62mph takes 11.8 seconds. Top speed is quoted at 114mph.
Despite a parts bin collection of Volkswagen suspension bits front and rear the Rapid feels well enough sorted and is happy to change direction and track through bumpy corners that the UK specialises in without problems. Yes, there is body roll and strong understeer if you push hard but owners won’t be doing that. There’s some springiness in the steering but not sufficient to stress about and you feel more ‘connected’ than in a Hyundai for instance. Relatively narrow tyres help absorb road irregularities.
As is Skoda’s style with the bigger Octavia, the Rapid is a hatchback but looks like a saloon, or even a coupe if you consider its high boot line and swept back rear window. The car’s overall shape is clean and chiselled. View out is fine thought reversing needs care. Big under-bumper fog lights on some models mirror the headlights and a subtle chrome rim surrounds the new shape front radiator grille. Length 4483mm. Width 1706mm.
COMFORT & CONTROLS
If you drive a lot of cars it’s immediately obvious the Rapid is built to a tight price criteria but that doesn’t make the cabin unpleasant, just simpler and of less expensive materials. It’s also nicely logical so you can get in and drive the Rapid without needing half an hour with the handbook. Rear seat space is almost as generous as the front which is rare in a car fractionally bigger than a Golf. A neat touch in the boot is a mat that is rubber on one side and carpet on the other.
MPG & RUNNING COSTS
The official fuel consumption figures say that the Rapid can achieve 43.5mpg on the urban cycle and 55.4mpg on the combined one. My real life figures, according to the on-board computer, started at 35.3mpg and improved to 49.8mpg. Individual driving style/technique could improve or worsen those figures. Carbon dioxide emissions of 119g/km put this model into VED group C. That means no first year road tax and then £30 standard rate. Insurance is group ten. The Rapid has a three year/60,000 mile warranty.
The 119g/km 1.2 litre turbo-petrol is the ‘cleanest’ petrol engine in the Rapid range – resulting in a Next Green Car Rating of 34 – despite the absence of an engine stop-start system that will be seen on GreenTech versions in 2013 and help drop the CO2 emissions down to 106g/km. Good torque at low revs encourages high gear driving to save fuel. This, and other petrol engines, are an important move for Skoda which currently has a stronger reputation for diesel, but which doesn’t suit lower mileage or mainly town drivers.
Entry level S trim includes remote control central locking, rake and reach adjustable steering column, driver’s seat height adjustment, curtain airbags and electric front windows. SE models, as tested, ride on 15in alloy wheels and have body-coloured door mirrors and door handles. Inside there’s air conditioning, leather-rimmed steering wheel, trip computer, mobile device interface and Bluetooth phone connectivity. Elegance models gain bigger wheels, front cornering lights, cruise control, height-adjustable front passenger seat and rear electric windows.
Model tested: Skoda Rapid 1.2 TSI SE
Body-style: Five-door hatchback
Engine/CO2: 85bhp 1197cc 4-cyl turbo petrol / 119 g/km
Trim grades: S, SE and Elegance
On-road price: From £12,900. Test car £14,650
Warranty: Three years/ 60,000 miles
In the showroom: Available now
Review rating: 3.5 STARS
More info about the Rapid model range »
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