Smart-looking Skoda Rapid adds some Sporty spice

Skoda has added a smart Sport model to the Skoda Rapid range.

Skoda has added a smart Sport model to the Skoda Rapid range. - Credit: PA

Take one of the most value-packed cars on the market, give a it an injection of style and you'll end up with something surprisingly unique, says Matt Kimberley of the Press Association.

What's new?

Lots of people already know and love the Rapid for its astronomical space-per-pound ratio. You can't get more practicality for less of your hard-earned cash. The Sport is a Rapid in sunglasses and designer trousers – ultimately the same thing but with a bit more visual sparkle.

The sharp-looking wheels are new, there are leather interior contact points and visual upgrades such as fog lights and a boot-lip spoiler. You also get 'sunset' glass round the rear half of the car for that deluxe look.

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Looks and image

The Rapid is a design masterpiece – stylish but unthreatening without treading on the larger Octavia's toes. It's far from being born of the 1980s Skoda school of desirability, but it costs relative peanuts to buy.

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Opinions on the alloys are split down the middle like a banana in a dessert shop. To keep important mechanical elements the same, Skoda needed to maintain the rolling circumference. Hence why the tyres have been reduced to itsy-bitsy rubber bands around the rims.

Skoda's brand image is hot at the moment, having clinched a bundle of ownership satisfaction gongs. Buyers who want a straightforward, but effortlessly enjoyable, car buy Skodas, and are rarely disappointed.

Space and practicality

Lift the long tailgate and you're greeted with a vast expanse of boot that can swallow loads whole. It's huge, not just in terms of surface area but depth, too. Shove five holidaymakers into the seats, smile smugly as they admire how much legroom they have, and then bundle all their week's worth luggage into the boot without a hitch.

Skoda's 'Simply Clever' treatment means you get treats like a reversible boot floor mat with rubber on one side to take muddy clothes without messing up the carpet. There's also an ice-scraper under the fuel filler lid and assorted hooks, clips and holders .

Behind the wheel

Adding a 'Sport' to the Rapid's name isn't going to turn it into a dynamic tour de force, and to be fair to the humble Skoda its repertoire of driver-focused talent is pretty minimal. But it's also very driver-friendly with predictable steering, lightly-weighted pedals and a slick manual gearbox. It's a car that drivers of all ages and confidence levels can instantly feel at home in.

The 17in wheels add a sharper edge to bumps, but this Rapid does turn into corners with a little more bite than the ordinary car. It offers nothing unexpected or out of the ordinary but provides everything a great everyday car should.

Value for money

At £15,630 on the road it's neither the cheapest nor the best-value Rapid. You've really got to want this cake's extra decoration, or otherwise the SE model on which the Sport is based makes more sense. On the other hand, compare this price to a mid-range Volkswagen Golf or Ford Focus with big alloys and think how much more space you're getting here, and the Rapid Sport remains a true bargain.

Who would buy one?

Someone seeking a smart-looking car with huge interior space and an affordable price tag. Whether those buyers are young or old won't matter. The Rapid Sport is, in an important way, a standalone product. This car summed up in a single word – underrated.

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