The Skoda Rapid Spaceback is the roomier sibling of the Skoda Rapid. It has a lot of room for families and boasts a strong fuel economy, but feels uncomfortable to drive.
The Skoda Rapid Spaceback is the proverbial journeyman of four-door family cars. Sure, it’s cheap and reliable, but its interior lacks comfort and pizzazz.
The front of the exterior suffers from an identity crisis as the rectangular headlights clash with the more rounded grille and curved bonnet, but the sides and rear are simply function-over-form. Inside, the universally black trim creates an old-fashioned atmosphere, but the materials are all high-quality.
The cabin is pretty spacious, though. Passengers in both the front and back seats will have little worries regarding head- and legroom. However, the boot has shrunk considerably, going down from a gargantuan 550 litres on the regular Rapid to just 415 litres here.
There are three trims available for the Rapid Spaceback: the S, SE Tech and SE Sport. The entry-level S version is, sadly, rather barebones when it comes to infotainment. It includes a 6.5-inch touchscreen radio with Bluetooth and USB compatibility. Luckily, the subsequent trim options up the ante with built-in satnav.
Beyond that, the SE Tech adds in 16-inch alloy wheels, as well as extra comforts like air conditioning, rear parking sensors, a trip computer and a glovebox (yes, the S version doesn’t even have a trip computer or glovebox). Upgrading to the top-of-the-range SE Sport puts another inch on the wheels, but mostly provides aesthetic changes such as tinted lights and privacy glass. Based on this, the mid-range SE Tech is the best recommendation – even then, it’s more worthwhile spending that money on a similarly-priced base-level SEAT Leon.
The Skoda Rapid Spaceback is as simple and reliable as a garden shed. The downside is that a shed’s probably more comfortable…
There are a number of engines available for the Rapid Spaceback, although the S version only has one: a manual, 1.0-litre, 95hp petrol option. However, this engine is the most economical of the bunch, returning up to 47.1mpg. Higher trim levels have two additional selections that put out 110hp and can also have an automatic gearbox. In turn, the fuel economy drops to as low as 43.5mpg. Thankfully, even at its most gas-guzzling, the Rapid Spaceback is still predominantly more economical than the Fiat Tipo.
It may be cheap to run in the long term, but the Rapid Spaceback is also an annoyance to drive in the long term. The ride quality is dire because of the small wheels, shuddering the entire cabin as they attempt to traverse rougher roads. The steering is more competent, but lifeless – its lightness provides you with limited feel or feedback from the road.
So, yes, the Skoda Rapid Spaceback is cheap, with the base trim undercutting other family cars of its size by around £3,000 (or by even more so with carwow’s discounted prices). But you get so little for that price tag that you would want to upgrade to mid-range versions, which cost the same as an entry-level Leon or Vauxhall Astra. And, if you find yourself in that position, you would be better off investing in the improved quality and comfort of the Leon or Astra.