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Skoda Rapid Spaceback 2014 Review

EXPERT RATING
7
Czech car maker Skoda has added another station wagon to its list.

Czech car maker Skoda has added another station wagon to its list. Building on the company's focus on practical vehicles the new Skoda Rapid Spaceback joins the recently introduced Octavia, the just updated Yeti SUV and the Superb.

Skoda has chosen to call this Rapid variant a hatchback, as small car sales in Australia are dominated by that body style. But it has given the hatch/wagon the title of Spaceback to draw attention to the practical nature of the vehicle. Such are the joys of marketing.

STYLING

Unlike the Skoda Yeti and the currently not-imported Skoda Roomster, which have radical body shapes, the body of Rapid Spaceback takes the conservative route. This makes a lot of sense as the shape looks guaranteed to be timeless and will appeal to those who want a sensible car they plan to keep for many years.

The front features the latest design of Skoda's flying-arrow badge and the bonnet and grille shapes centre around it. The Spaceback's rear is more adventurous than the front, with some clever interplay in the sharp, almost diamond like, lines.

Cleverly, the upmarket Spaceback Elegance looks substantially different to the lower cost Ambition. It has an all glass roof that visually continues further down the tailgate than the rear window in the Ambition.

ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS

Volkswagen-sourced drive trains are familiar to us in many Audi, VW and Skoda vehicles. Rapid Spaceback offers a choice between a 1.2-litre turbo-petrol with 77 kilowatts of power and 175 Newton metres of torque between 1550 and 4100 revs; and a 1.4-litre turbo-petrol with 90 kW and 200 Nm, the latter running from 1500 to 4000 rpm.

The 77kW unit comes only with a six-speed manual gearbox beside it, the 90 kW has a seven-speed DSG automatic.  Both engines are offered in the Rapid Ambition, the Rapid Elegance is powered only by the 1.4-litre 90TSI unit.

SAFETY

New Skoda Rapid Spaceback has been given a five-star rating by the ANCAP testing authority. It has a strong body and six airbags.

DRIVING

Interior space is impressive, with room for four large adults without them having to argue over legroom. The deep boot is easy to load and has the clever feature of a luggage cover can be removed and stored vertically behind the back seats thus eliminating the common problem of where to put the cover when tall loads are carried.

Seat size and comfort are good, though as is usual in vehicle launches we didn't get to spend long periods at the wheel. We will have to wait for our routine week's testing in our home area. The 77 TSI engine is a sweet little unit, indeed it's one of our current favourites and may well provide sufficient performance for many buyers. If you plan to carry heavy loads and/or use a Rapid Spaceback in hilly conditions the 90 TSI unit is probably a better bet.

Though it's new to Australia, Skoda Rapid has been sold in sedan form in Europe for several years. So it runs on a Volkswagen Group pre-MQB platform. Noise, vibration and harshness compare well with most cars in this class, however Rapid lags behind its brother, the new Skoda Octavia, and its Volkswagen Audi cousins because the sophisticated MQB platform makes them exceptionally good in this field. But then again, don't forget the price of the Skoda…

Rapid Spaceback is competent on the road in the European manner, with nice chassis balance and good feedback through the steering. It's not quite a sports wagon but certainly leans in that direction.

VERDICT

Want to buy a Volkswagen station wagon at a modest price? Skoda is owned by VW and many with a starting price of just $18,990, plus on-roads, the new Skoda Spaceback deserves a high spot on your shopping list.

Skoda Rapid Spaceback
Price: from $18,990 (77TSI)
Engine: 1.2-litre turbo four-cylinder petrol, 77kW/175Nm
Transmission: 6-speed manual; FWD
Thirst: 5.4L/100km

 

Pricing Guides

$10,395
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$7,150
Highest Price
$13,640

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
Rapid Spaceback Ambition 77 TSI 1.2L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $7,150 – 10,010 2014 Skoda Rapid 2014 Rapid Spaceback Ambition 77 TSI Pricing and Specs
Rapid Spaceback Ambition 90 TSI 1.4L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $9,900 – 13,530 2014 Skoda Rapid 2014 Rapid Spaceback Ambition 90 TSI Pricing and Specs
Rapid Spaceback Elegance 90 TSI 1.4L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $10,010 – 13,640 2014 Skoda Rapid 2014 Rapid Spaceback Elegance 90 TSI Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7
Pricing Guide

$7,150

Lowest price, based on third party pricing data

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