What's the used Skoda Rapid Spaceback hatchback like?
On the face of it, the Skoda Rapid Spaceback is quite hard to explain. It’s a five-door hatchback that looks like a small estate car, yet it has a smaller boot than the Rapid saloon from which it is derived. However, when you look at the gap it fills in the Skoda range between the Fabia and Octavia, it starts to make more sense.
You see, because the Octavia is so much larger in size than the Fabia, there’s room for another, slightly smaller Skoda to cater for buyers looking at a more traditionally sized family car such as the Nissan Pulsar, Vauxhall Astra or Hyundai i30.
The majority of the Rapid Spaceback range is powered by petrol engines in either 1.2 TSI four-cylinder guise (with 86 or 104bhp), a 122bhp 1.4 TSI that comes with a DSG automatic gearbox, or an ultra-frugal 1.0-litre three-cylinder unit in the facelifted Spaceback with either 94 or 109bhp. There are also two diesels: an 86bhp 1.4 or a 105bhp 1.6 TDI that was upgraded to 113bhp after the mid-life refresh.
Space is something the Spaceback does well at. Apart from the curious loss of cargo room during the conversion from a saloon to a small estate, the boot is at least a useable, square shape and is bigger than you’ll find in rivals such as the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra. The rear seats can be folded down (albeit not completely flat) to accommodate larger loads, although there is a noticeable step unless the car is fitted with the optional dual-height boot floor.
To drive, the Rapid Spaceback is easy: the clutch is nice and light and so is the steering – a real boon for parking. Ride quality, sadly, isn’t so good. It can be quite floaty at higher speeds, but when it encounters a pothole you feel an unpleasant and sometimes jarring thud coming through into the interior. It also fidgets over rougher surfaces. Rivals – in particular the Vauxhall Astra – have a much calmer and more controlled ride.