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First drive: Skoda Rapid Spaceback GreenLine. Image by Skoda.

First drive: Skoda Rapid Spaceback GreenLine
Skoda's Rapid Spaceback gets the GreenLine treatment for sub-100g/km emissions.

   



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| First Drive | Amsterdam, The Netherlands | Skoda Rapid Spaceback GreenLine |

Overall rating: 3 3 3 3 3

GreenLine technology adds a more economical choice to the Skoda Rapid Spaceback line-up.

Key Facts

Model tested: Skoda Rapid Spaceback 1.6 TDI GreenLine
Pricing: 17,195
Engine: 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel
Transmission: front-wheel drive, five-speed manual
Body style: five-door hatchback
Rivals: Hyundai i30, Kia cee'd, SEAT Leon
CO2 emissions: 99g/km
Combined economy: 74.3mpg
Top speed: 114mph
0-62mph: 11.9 seconds
Power: 90hp at 4,200rpm
Torque: 230Nm at 1,500rpm

In the Metal: 4 4 4 4 4

Forget about trying to get your head around where the Spaceback sits in the Skoda Rapid range; it's another hatchback, only a bit more conventionally shaped. That might mean it loses a bit of space back there in comparison to the regular Rapid (the Czechs clearly having a bit of a sense of humour in naming its second Rapid hatchback), though it's a better looker, with more than a hint of Audi A3 about its proportions.

It's no Audi inside, but then nor is it priced as one so the simple, functional cabin is inoffensive and ordinary. It all works, and space is decent enough for rear seat passengers. The GreenLine badge on the gearstick is what matters here though, it signifying the most efficient of the Spaceback line-up, with 99g/km of CO2 and 74.3mpg on the official combined cycle.

Driving it: 3 3 3 3 3

This car is unremarkable, unless you're the sort of person who enjoys eking every last mile out of a tank of fuel. In fairness, and given the price of the stuff these days, that's no complaint, but the trade off for those potential big efficiency numbers is a fairly gruff sounding diesel engine at start up. It quietens down on the move, and while its 90hp output might not promise much, its 230Nm of torque means it's a flexible and easy drive.

The five-speed gearshift isn't the slickest or most accurate out there and the clutch is fairly heavily sprung, but it's possible to make smooth enough progress. Likewise the steering is devoid of any real feel, but at least it's accurate, so the Rapid is quite enjoyable in the corners. Grip levels are high, and it's all fairly well controlled, but the trade off for that is a low-speed ride that's not as comfortable as its rivals'.

Road noise is apparent as speeds rise, as is wind noise at motorway speeds around the front pillars. Accept that it's not as refined as rivals like the SEAT Leon and that's fine, but then the Leon's within a whisker of the Spaceback's price and offers more performance and a more sophisticated drive.

What you get for your Money: 3 3 3 3 3

That sub-100g/km CO2 rating is unquestionably a draw, but it's no longer exceptional, as all the Rapid Spaceback GreenLine's rivals offer similar, if not better, economy and emissions. The Skoda features alloy wheels as standard over many rivals' steel offerings in fairness, and on a like-for-like equipment comparison the Rapid Spaceback is as competitive as you'd hope from Skoda.

Worth Noting

Perhaps the Skoda Rapid Spaceback's most impressive rival shares a showroom. The Octavia SE 1.6 TDI offers the same CO2 emissions and combined economy for 2,600 more. It's a far more sophisticated car to drive, more spacious and is likely to retain more of its value in time.

Summary

Since the Skoda Rapid Spaceback was introduced it has occupied something of a model no-man's land, looking expensive compared to mainstream hatchbacks and ultimately bettered by its Octavia sibling. It's not a bad car by any means, it's just awkwardly positioned, and the addition of the GreenLine model does nothing to improve that.


Kyle Fortune - 22 May 2014



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2014 Skoda Rapid Spaceback GreenLine. Image by Skoda.2014 Skoda Rapid Spaceback GreenLine. Image by Skoda.2014 Skoda Rapid Spaceback GreenLine. Image by Skoda.2014 Skoda Rapid Spaceback GreenLine. Image by Skoda.2014 Skoda Rapid Spaceback GreenLine. Image by Skoda.

2014 Skoda Rapid Spaceback GreenLine. Image by Skoda.2014 Skoda Rapid Spaceback GreenLine. Image by Skoda.2014 Skoda Rapid Spaceback GreenLine. Image by Skoda.2014 Skoda Rapid Spaceback GreenLine. Image by Skoda.2014 Skoda Rapid Spaceback GreenLine. Image by Skoda.



2014 Skoda Rapid Spaceback GreenLine. Image by Skoda.
 

2014 Skoda Rapid Spaceback GreenLine. Image by Skoda.
 

2014 Skoda Rapid Spaceback GreenLine. Image by Skoda.
 

2014 Skoda Rapid Spaceback GreenLine. Image by Skoda.
 

2014 Skoda Rapid Spaceback GreenLine. Image by Skoda.
 

2014 Skoda Rapid Spaceback GreenLine. Image by Skoda.
 

 






 

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