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Skoda Rapid
The model we’ve tried will have most appeal to company car drivers. Expect other Skodas to follow its crisp and clean new look

 

Skoda Rapid 1.6 TDI CR SE 105PS DPF

Skoda car review: JOHN GRIFFITHS / Photos: UnitedPictures.com

What is it?

THE seventh model in Volkswagen Group’s fast-expanding Skoda “value for money” range and the first to express chief designer Jozef Kaban’s clean new styling “design language”, evolved from the Vision D and Mission L concept cars.

  • Expected to become Skoda’s best seller, the Rapid fits between the existing Fabia small car and larger Mondeo-sized D sector Octavia ranges.

An all-new Skoda Octavia, also incorporating the new design cues, will arrive next year. It will be larger and more up-market than its predecessor, thus making more room for the Rapid to establish what for Skoda is effectively a new market niche.

Though ‘Astra-sized’ in where it sits in the market, the Rapid is bigger than most of the rivals it will battle for company car sales

The Skoda Rapid itself does not quite fit sector conventions, being longer (4.48m) and bigger overall than perceived principal ‘budget’ rivals such as Kia’s C’eed, Hyundai’s i30 and General Motors’ hatchback Chevrolet Cruze, or even more ambitious targets such as Vauxhall’s and Ford’s cheaper Astra and Focus versions.

There is a choice of five engines; four petrol and one diesel.

Skoda Rapid
The 1.6 diesel returns 64mpg and with emissions of 114g/km, company car tax is 16%. Not record-breaking, but perfectly comparable with the likely rivals

The entry-level, three-cylinder, 1.2 litre older generation petrol unit puts out 75bhp, an unimpressive 139 g/km of CO2 and offers 47.9mpg fuel consumption.

The turbocharged, four cylinder 1.2 and 1.4 turbocharged TSI engines are altogether more attractive. The 85bhp variant of the 1.2 litre offers CO2 of 119g/km and 55.4mpg; the lustier 104bhp version 125g/km CO2 and 52.3mpg. The 121bhp, 1.4 litre petrol model (134 g/km, 48.7mpg) is the only version to offer a seven-speed twin-clutch automatic gearbox; all other models including the fuel-sipping 104bhp,1.6 litre TDi diesel (114g/km, 64.2mpg) are offered with five or six-speed manual gearboxes.

Skoda Rapid
Little touches like an ice-scraper built into the filler cap exemplify Skoda’s ‘human touch’ approach to design

Lower emission “GreenTech” versions will follow next year, dropping the diesel’s CO2 to 106 g/km and improving fuel consumption to 70.6mpg. Benefit in kind company car tax ratings range between 14 and 20%.

Residual value specialist, CAP, is forecasting 31-33 per cent residuals after three years, depending on model.

The business use case the Skoda Rapid thus makes for itself is strong, if not quite overwhelming. Skoda executives, while acknowledging that retail buyers will dominate initially, make no secret of their belief that it can push Skoda’s total company car and other business user share of sales towards the 40 per cent mark. The model we’re reviewing here is the 1.6 diesel Skoda Rapid – the car that’s likely to appeal most to company car drivers.

Skoda Rapid
Inside, this is a new high for Skoda. It’s well equipped and there’s bags of space
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