It's cheap but this new Skoda won't set pulses (or anything else)
Price: from £12,900 (£17,850 as tested)
Model tested: 1.6-litre TDI Elegance
Power Output (bhp@rpm):104 @ 4,400
Top Speed (mph): 118 0-60 mph (seconds): 10.4
Fuel economy (mpg): 64.2
CO2 emissions (g/km): 114
By no stretch of the imagination is the new Skoda Rapid a rapid car. It's practical, sensible, spacious and frugal but in no way is it fast or furious. It doesn't even try. Here's what it is though; incredibly good value for money.
The most basic model starts at a touch under £13k. How on earth is it possible to produce a proper family car for that sort of money? I mean, it still has everything you need; five seats, a fuel-efficient engine, a windscreen you can see through, all the legally required safety features (plus some more), electric windows and even air conditioning. If you tried to get all that stuff yourself on the high street for £13k, you'd fail. A set of comfy chairs would set you back £1,000 at least, while all the hi-fi and satnav technology would be about the same and that's before you even try and work out the relative costs for the engine, chassis and gearbox. Of course a dash down the high street with a thick envelope of cash would create a random collection of interiors and entertainment objects, not a car, but it proves a point. And all that crap wouldn't be able to cruise comfortably at 70mph either.
Back of the envelope economics aside I put the Rapid to the test by cruising to Manchester and back for a meeting. It really isn't a quick car - overtaking requires some forward planning - but it's not a terribly unpleasant car to drive. Yes, it's rather loud, the ride is a little bottom shattering and there's too much roll in the corners, but dial it down a notch, cruise along at 65mph and it's a comfortable enough place to spend time and a practical way to get across the country. And while it doesn't have an efficiency-boosting sixth gear or a start/stop system, it is still very affordable at the pumps and with the taxman.
On a more basic level the coffee cup holder is in front of the gear stick, which is a real pain if you're a sales rep with thousands of miles to cover, but other than that it is well built, well presented and exudes a rugged good sense in the way it goes about pretty much everything.
This is a car for your wallet then, not your heart, which is fine. It's hard to get excited about though; and after 500 odd miles I walked away without thinking another thing about it, which is a shame because Skoda can build fun and quirky cars. It's crossover the Yeti has a silly name but it's fun to look at and great, while the nippy Citigo city car is genuinely fun to zip around it. The Rapid is just a sensible choice for getting around, I just can't help feeling it's missing something though. Would that cost so much more?
Life & Style blogs
Twitter not working: Social network says problem with tweets not showing is fixed
Who is Teresa Fidalgo? Debunking the fake ghost story that's got Instagram spooked
Facebook attacked over dead relative photos in 'Year in Review' slides
Grim second life of the 'breastaurant': The oft-loathed sector is booming in the States thanks to Hooters, Twin Peaks and Tilted Kilt
Anti-smoking adverts accused of 'scaremongering'
Millions of Britons struggling to feed themselves and facing malnourishment
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Nigel Farage: Ukip leader named 'Briton of the year' by The Times
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk
- 1 President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
- 2 Doctors remove 80 teeth from boy's jaw
- 3 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 4 Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations
- 5 Sir Winston Churchill’s family begged him not to convert to Islam, letter reveals
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Maintenance Assistant is requ...
£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...
£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...