Of course, Skoda doesn’t bill it as anything more exciting, though the Rapid name may cause you to believe otherwise.
The new Spaceback won’t make the Rapid any more… rapid… but its Audi-like appearance may warrant an extra date. Maybe even a cheeky kiss on the front doorstep*.
What Skoda has done is shorten the Rapid’s body aft of the rear wheels and pull the roof down to meet it. The end effect is more than a little similar to the Audi A3 Sportback, and transforms the Rapid’s so-so looks into something a great deal more rakish and classy. In fact, it makes you wonder whether Skoda shouldn’t have released it like this in the first place.
Unsurprisingly, the revised styling is aimed at younger customers, rather than the family and business-on-a-budget buyers targeted by the regular Rapid. Customisation will play a part, the most interesting aspect being a panoramic glass sunroof stretching the length of the car, right down to the tailgate.
Interior fittings will be familiar to existing Rapid owners, and while the Spaceback’s 415-litre boot falls shy of the hatchback’s hangar-like 550 litres, practicality should still be a strong point. An optional dual-layer cargo floor lets you divide the space as you see fit, while other neat Rapid features such as a fuel filler-mounted ice scraper and double-sided boot floor make a return here.
The youth-orientated garb may not be so ambitious, particularly as the Spaceback should maintain the Rapid’s sense of value and frugal engine lineup.
Like existing Rapids, petrol units are likely to range from a 74-horsepower 1.2, through turbo’d 1.2s, to the 120-horse 1.4 TSI. Regular and Greenline 1.6 TDIs will also be available – the latter emitting only 99 g/km of CO2 for that all-important zero vehicle tax figure.
Priced from: Not yet announced
Available from: October
Is the Spaceback just the shot in the arm the Rapid needed? Could be – the Audi-like styling is quite a coup for a value-driven product, and it’s not like Skodas have a poor reputation these days anyway. Fill the showroom full of Spacebacks (preferably with that panoramic roof option) and they’ll sell themselves.
Now all we need is Skoda to give us a fizzy little vRS option – a car to take that date all the way through to breakfast the next morning…
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*No, that isn’t a euphemism.