Skoda’s Rapid Spaceback continues to build the brand’s reputation as a mid-market force to be reckoned with…

ra_spaceback_096OK, let’s not get too excited I hear you say; after all, it is still a Skoda.

Well, that’s fair enough if you are keen to hold onto antiquated preconceptions and haven’t had the chance to ‘actually’ get behind the wheel of a modern Skoda for a while. Regular readers of SBT will already know that one of my favourite cars I recent history is the Yeti and I’m always up for the ‘Skoda vs…’ argument, should it present itself.

The company have been a wholly owned subsidiary of the Volkswagen group since the year 2000 and in that time, have taken a great deal of thunder form their big brother’s sales figures. In what must be an extremely delicate balancing act across all brands in the group, one must be assured not to step on the other’s toes (too much) in the attempt to retain market share as a whole. A tough job by anyone’s standards.

Especially if one of those brands is Skoda and the parent company has steadily taken their range to a more upmarket consumer, offering models that give greater benefits on space, features and of course, price.

Such is the case with the Rapid Spaceback. Mine for the week is the SE Sport version, which comes with all kinds of stylish flourishes, such as the cool black wheels, the full-length glass roof, graphite metallic inserts and sports seats.

OK, the front end of the car could do with some work on the aesthetics but every brand needs a signature, right? It just so happens that Skoda’s is a slightly less-than-attractive grill, but squint your eyes and you could easily be looking at a nifty, mid-to-high range Audi A3. Take a look from the rear and the Rapid Spaceback holds its own with no need for rough comparisons or any amount of eye-squinting.

“It skips along like an excited puppy in a manner that suits the look of the car perfectly, squeezing every ounce of HP from its frame. It’s exactly what you’d expect from a car with the words Rapid and Sport in the title”

The nature of the 1.4l TDI engine also warrants the name ‘Sport’; it’s really rather nippy. Surprisingly so, in fact. It skips along like an excited puppy in a manner that suits the look of the car perfectly, squeezing every ounce of HP from its frame. It’s exactly what you’d expect from a car with the words Rapid and Sport in the title. Sure, it’s no sports-car, but it really is fun and when you challenge it in tight corners, it responds well, holding the road and with enough poke to pull you straight again.

So who is it that drives this car in the company? It’s unlikely to be the CEO or any of the board of Directors; more likely to be someone from the accounts or admin departments. It’s stylish and modern, whilst retaining a kind of understated manner about itself.

The Skoda Rapid Spaceback represents one of the best value cars in it’s range, without a doubt. It’s a no nonsense, relatively basic car with a number of decent engine options available. If you can get past the badge, and you should, it really is worth a look.

On the Road Price: £16,520.00

Engine: 1.4 TDI CR 90 PS

Transmission: 5 speed manual

Combined fuel economy: 78.5mpg

Max speed: 114mph

0-62mph: 11.6 seconds

Insurance group: 14E

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