Skoda Rapid (2012-2018) Review

The Skoda Rapid is a budget alternative to family cars such as the Ford Focus and VW Golf

Strengths & weaknesses

  • Spacious interior and boot
  • Choice of economical engines
  • Cheap - especially as a used car
  • Meagre equipment in entry-level cars
  • Interior materials feel basic
  • Petrol engines need working hard
Skoda Rapid prices from £6,887.

Choosing the right family car from Skoda requires a simple decision: is space or price more important?

You could buy the Octavia, which is roughly the same price as a Ford Focus or Volkswagen Golf, but considerably larger.

Or you could opt for the Rapid. This is around the same size as a Volkswagen Golf or Ford Focus, but considerably cheaper. Even 2018 used models cost less than £10,000 in many cases and new prices started at around £15,000 before Skoda Rapid discounts (around £4,500 less than a Focus), until the car was phased out recently.

Both the Octavia and Rapid look similar inside and out but, up close, it’s clear that the Rapid is the budget option. The interior is simple, with a straightforward layout but you can see where Skoda has saved money. The rotary heater controls are plasticky, switches feel insubstantial, the dashboard and the door panels feel hard and scratchy, and the grab handles feel loose, without the soft-close damping of more expensive models. Helping to justify the cost cutting, the Rapid is a cheaper purchase, so you shouldn't feel short changed if you do opt for the cheaper car.

A digital radio, however, was a £100 option on all versions, too, which smacks of penny pinching, so if that's important to you, it's worth checking the cars you're looking at have it. And it’s surprising that a sat nav was a £575 option on top-spec SE L versions; the similarly-priced Fiat Tipo offered more features as standard.

Even so, if you avoid the entry-level Rapid S, you’ll get air conditioning, alloy wheels, a leather steering wheel and rear electric windows as standard. Also included is an umbrella underneath the front passenger seat.

There’s plenty of space to store as many umbrellas as you would ever need, too. As well as large door bins and cupholders in the front and back, the 550-litre boot is much bigger than the 380 litres offered by the VW Golf or the 440 litres in a Fiat Tipo.

It’s also larger than the boots of many crossover cars, which combine the efficiency and comfort of a hatchback like the Rapid with the higher driving position of an off-roader. The Nissan Qashqai only has 430 litres of space; the Peugeot 3008 has 530 litres. The seats don’t fold completely flat in the Rapid, but the hatchback still offers a large 1,490-litre load area when they are down - more than enough space for all but the biggest flat-pack furniture binges.

Inside, there’s a similar amount of legroom as in a Golf, as well as the Tipo and Nissan Pulsar, which means that there’s a reasonable amount of space in the back for two average size adults to get comfortable, although three will find it a squeeze.

Passengers will appreciate the comfortable ride, which does a good job of soaking up bumps on rough roads without the stomach-churning bouncing that can affect cheaper cars. It’s quiet too.

The steering is very light at town speeds but becomes slightly heavier the faster you go, helping you to steer more gently at higher speeds. It’s quick and accurate, but you won't want to zoom around corners because the car does lean uncomfortably. It also feels like it has less grip than the more sophisticated Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra and Volkswagen Golf which makes it feel less stable - particularly in wet conditions.

High-mileage drivers should consider a diesel engine for decent economy and relaxed cruising, even if it is a little rough and noisy. The petrol engines are smoother but some do need revving to keep up at higher speeds, which makes journeys noisier.

Two Isofix points in the rear seats will secure compatible child seats and a five star Euro NCAP safety rating, based on crash tests by the independent organisation in 2012 is reassuring, although cars tested more recently have been put through tougher tests.

For some buyers, who need as much space as possible for a low price, then the Skoda Rapid may make sense - especially now the car is only available second-hand. But you may also be tempted by the Fiat Tipo, which offers similar value, as well as the more spacious and higher-quality Octavia.

To make matters more confusing, Skoda now offers the Karoq crossover too - yet another car with a big boot and decent legroom, but this time with a higher driving position. It is a pricier proposition, though. At least you can’t complain about a lack of choice.



Key facts

Warranty 3 years / 60,000 miles
Boot size 550 litres
Width 1706mm
Length 4483mm
Height 1461mm
Tax £140 to £160 in first year, £145 thereafter

Best Skoda Rapid for...

Best for Economy – Skoda Rapid S 1.4 TDI CR 90PS

Both manual and DSG automatic versions have an official fuel economy figure 70.6mpg, although, according to the Equa Index of real-world fuel consumption, you can expect 52.3mpg

Best for Families – Skoda Rapid SE L 1.0 TSI 110PS

Decent petrol economy (expect 45mpg in the real-world) and performance, plus a good level of equipment (rear parking sensors, centre storage box, front armrest and climate control) make this version the most family friendly.

Best for Performance – Skoda Rapid SE 1.4 TSI 125PS DSG

Not only the quickest (0-62mph in 8.7sec) but this is also the smoothest and most relaxing version to drive.

One to Avoid – Skoda Rapid SE L 1.4 TDI CR 90PS DSG

The addition of the DSG gearbox makes this version the most expensive Rapid. You could have a larger, more refined Skoda Octavia SE 1.0 TSi 115PS DSG for the same price.


  • June 2012 The Skoda Rapid goes on sale with a choice of five petrol engines or two diesels.
  • January 2014 Limited edition versions go on sale. SE Connect has rear parking sensors and sat nav; Sport models include sports seats, rear spoiler and unique alloy wheels.
  • July 2016 Recall of Rapids built between November 2015 and April 2016 to check child locks on rear doors that may disengage without warning.
  • June 2017 An updated Rapid goes on sale, with an updated dashboard display, plus the option of a small and efficient 1-litre petrol engine.

Understanding Skoda Rapid names

Trim level SE

The trim levels indicate the amount of standard equipment that's included with each Rapid. Least well-equipped is S, followed by SE, SE-L and Sport

Engine 1.4 TSI 125PS

The Skoda Rapid's engine size is shown in litres (here it's 1.4). The letters TSI indicate a petrol engine, while TDI CR is used for diesels. The engine's power is given in PS - a similar measure to horsepower.

Gearbox DSG

The letters DSG indicate an automatic gearbox.

Skoda Rapid Engines

Petrol: 1.0 TSI 90PS, 1.0 TSI 110PS, 1.4 TSI 125PS
Diesel: 1.4 TDI CR 90PS, 1.6 TDI CR 115PS

Despite its name, the Skoda Rapid's engines focus on smoothness and efficiency over performance.

Most engines take around 10 seconds to accelerate from 0-62mph, which is adequate for any British road, but won't blow your socks off.

The petrol range, badged TSI, starts with a small 1-litre engine with either 95 horsepower (hp) or 110hp. You may also see the power written as PS, which is an almost-identical measure. Both of these engines are extremely efficient, and it's not difficult to achieve 50mpg or more. The Equa Index, which estimates fuel economy based on public road testing, suggests that you can expect an average of 45mpg from either engine.

Both engines are smooth, but require revving to deliver their best performance; there's not a great deal of difference between the two. Neither is available with an automatic gearbox. They replaced an older 1.2-litre petrol engine in 2017, which was still quiet and efficient, and is a good used car choice.

The larger 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine is noticeably the fastest, with a 0-62mph acceleration time of under nine seconds, and fuel economy that's barely worse. However, this is only available with an automatic gearbox, and in SE trim.

Both diesel engines return around 50mpg in real-world driving, according to the Equa Index, but are noisy compares with the petrols. The smallest 1.4-litre TDI version is sluggish; you would be better off with the marginally more expensive 1.6-litre diesel, unless you need an automatic gearbox - only the least-powerful diesel has that as an option.



Fuel economy


Acceleration (0-62mph)

Top speed

1.0 TSI 95PS






1.0 TSI 110PS






1.4 TSI 125PS DSG






1.4 TDI CR 90PS




11.3 - 11.4sec


1.6 TDI CR 115PS






Skoda Rapid Trims

S, SE, Sport, SE L

The Rapid is offered in four trim levels ranging from entry-level S to top-of-the-range SE L. Not every engine or transmission is available with every trim.

Mid-range SE offers the widest choice, being available with all engines and gearboxes. Entry-level S cars can't be fitted with the most powerful petrol engines and don't spoil you inside, either. It has the essentials – driver’s seat-height adjustment and a 60:40 split-fold rear seat – but that’s it.

SE is the one with air conditioning, alloy wheels and rear electric windows but even then it feels a little light. There are no steering wheel controls, for example.

Sport adds some exterior design features, such as a spoiler above the rear screen and tinted glass, as well as sports seats inside. It's only available with the 1-litre 110hp petrol engine.

That engine, and all of the diesels can be combined with the most expensive SE L trim, which includes rear parking sensors, steering wheel controls, larger alloys and climate control. It doesn't feel particularly top-of-the-range, as it lacks a digital radio and sat-nav, which are both optional. It has a storage box between the driver and front passenger but no rear centre armrest with load-through or cupholders. This item is a £180 option across the range.

Skoda Rapid Reliability and warranty

Skodas have a good reputation for reliability and the larger Skoda Superb finished top of the 2017 Auto Express Driver Power owner satisfaction survey. There weren't enough responses from Rapid drivers to include the car.

The Rapid’s warranty is an industry-standard three years or 60,000 miles, compared with Hyundai’s five years and Kia’s seven. If you plan to keep your Rapid longer than three years, it’s possible to buy an extended Skoda warranty starting at £230 for an additional year or 20,000 miles.


Used Skoda Rapid

The Skoda Rapid is not as popular as the rest of the manufacturer's range and it shows in used car prices - which is excellent news for anyone looking for a bargain. You can save around a third off the brochure price with a nearly new Skoda Rapid that's less than a year old.

The low used prices mean that there are plenty of recent Rapids available for less than £150 a month, and make higer-specification cars much more affordable, so there's no need to endure the basic entry-level Rapid S.