SKODA’S Rapid Spaceback has one of the punchiest 1.2-litre engines I’ve ever driven and there are plenty of other functional strings to its bow too.
While it’ll never set pulses racing, the second model in the Rapid range is certainly a more stylish hatchback. One of my favourite personalisation options was the panoramic tinted glass roof, which stretches all the way from the windscreen to the rear window, giving passengers an unobstructed view of the sky, day or night.
There are three petrol and two diesel engines to choose from and four trim levels - S, SE, Elegance and GreenLine.
I drove the 1.2 TSI turbocharged petrol version, a flexible and responsive engine which combines punchy performance with good fuel economy and emissions. If fuel prices are a priority – opt for the GreenLine, where you’ll get more than 74mpg and CO2 emissions of just 99g/km so there is no road tax to pay.
There is a bit more standard equipment than the regular Rapid with all models having air-conditioning, remote central locking, electric front windows, a height-adjustable driver’s seat and an alarm.
The SE trim adds 15-inch alloy wheels, multi-function steering wheel, Bluetooth, rear parking sensors, electric rear windows and a front centre armrest (which I kept up as it was in the way of the handbrake).
Range-topping Elegance adds 16” alloy wheels, climate control air conditioning, cruise control and chrome interior surrounds.
With rear seats in position, the Rapid Spaceback offers 415 litres of boot space, with 1,380 litres when the rear bench seat is folded flat. Ironically, this is slightly less space than the regular Rapid. However, the doors open wide to allow easy access, particularly handy if you’re regularly getting young children in and out of child seats.
The boot also has bag hooks and storage boxes behind the rear wheel arches, and comes with the option of a double-sided boot floor, allowing you to switch between a carpet or rubber boot floor, according to what you’re carrying.
The Spaceback has the full five-star rating in Euro NCAP crash tests and has six airbags, anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control among its many safety features.
All models feature a three-year/60,000mile warranty as standard. Overall, the Rapid Spaceback is a decent drive - good value and functional – music to the ears of sensible car buyers everywhere.
Car: Skoda Rapid Spaceback
On the road: £16,180
Top speed: 120mph
0-62mph: 10.2 seconds
CO2 emissions: 125g/km