There's lots of space inside, as well as a huge boot. Prices undercut those of a similarly equipped Hyundai i30 or Kia Ceed.
The ride is uncomfortable, the cabin materials feel cheap and there’s too much road and wind noise.
On the road
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
We’ve tried four of the six engines: two versions of the 1.2 TSI petrol, and the 1.6 TDI diesel, all of which come with a five-speed manual gearbox, and the range-topping 120bhp 1.4 TSI petrol, which comes with a seven-speed auto ’box. The lower-powered engines feel a little flat at low revs, but they pick up well in the mid range and are happy to rev towards the redline. The 1.4 TSI is significantly faster and it pulls strongly across a wide rev range.
Ride & Handling
Body roll is well controlled, but the Rapid doesn’t have the agility of a Ford Focus or VW Golf; the back end can feel rather light under hard braking, plus the Rapid is reluctant to turn in to tight corners. The relatively firm suspension settings make the ride uncomfortable; it's poor over bumps at low speeds and easily unsettled on faster roads.
There are no complaints about the sweet-revving 1.2 TSI petrol engines, but the 1.6 TDI is gruff, which you notice particularly at lower speeds. It fades into the background on the motorway, but by then the wind noise – from around the side windows and door mirrors, in particular – increases to become more of a problem. There's plenty of road noise at most speeds as well.