What am I looking at?
This is the new GreenLine version of the Skoda Rapid - available in both the saloon and "spaceback" estate versions.
And what's new?
Skoda's GreenLine eco technology. If you're familiar with other manufacturers' green tech branding (like Volkswagen's BlueMotion) you'll be pretty much in-the-know already, but it essentially comprises all the little extra percents of frugality - slightly more efficient engines, slightly lower rolling resistance tyres and the like - put into one model to make it as fuel efficient as it can be.
What powers it?
Both models are only available with the VW group's 90 hp 1.6 litre commonrail diesel engine. Fitted with a diesel particulate filter, the engine's good for a 99 g/km CO2 rating - equivalent to a combined cycle fuel economy of 74.3 mpg.
Even better news is that this puts the car into VED Band A, for a zero-cost annual tax disc.
The Rapid is, in general, a pretty budget-priced vehicle, even at the upper end of the scale where the GreenLine sits, but it's not been shortchanged on kit. Along with the low rolling resistance tyres on 15" alloys, you get front fog lights, sunset glass, heated door mirrors and air-con, while the driver's seat is height adjustable and there's a rake-and-reach adjustable wheel to make the most of your driving position.
We were pretty taken by the Rapid Spaceback when we reviewed it in October, though the diesel engine was a bit gruff at the time it wasn't equipped with the GreenLine gubbins. We'd be interested to see if the GreenLine can beat the real-world 60 mpg we attained in the regular 1.6 TDI, too.
How much will it cost me?
The hatch comes in at 17,535 while the slightly smaller (despite the name) Spaceback is a few hundred pounds less at 17,195.
It's surprisingly difficult to come up with an alternative to the Rapid at all - the combination of size and price is fairly unique - and it's likely that its major rival will actually be a platform sibling. The SEAT Toledo offers much of what the Rapid can, with the Ecomotive S version giving a pretty healthy 72.4mpg, along with 15hp more and comparable load space for pretty much the same money.
In a line...
A free to tax, fuel-sipping version of an already pretty charming budget saloon-style car