Unless you dimly think of an intergalactic connection, the name Spaceback on Skoda’s latest Rapid model tells you exactly what you’re getting – a car with plenty of room inside.
The first Rapid models – which are proving to be popular sellers – were cleverly styled to look like a saloon but were in fact a hatchback.
The new Rapid Spaceback offers no such illusion and what you see is what you get.
And what you get is a Tardis-like car which offers rear seat passengers the most knee and headroom in its segment and boasts the largest amount of luggage space in any car in this category.
In fact with the rear seatbacks lowered there is a cavernous 1,380 litres available and a wide opening tailgate to make loading really easy.
Opt for the 1.6-litre diesel Greenline version and you also get a car which seems to dislike fuel stations and rarely needs to visit them.
In fact my initial call to one to fill up was the only visit during a week’s motoring, which is probably not too surprising when you realise that as I drove away the on-board computer told me I had a range of 730 miles.
And while I couldn’t quite reach the 74 miles per gallon claimed in the company’s official figures I was regularly completing journeys having recorded in the high 60mpg range. Combine that fuel saving with the fact that the Greenline has emissions of just 99g/km so attracts no road tax and it’s easy to see why it’s light on the pocket.
The car has a nice solid feel to it in everything from the switches to the armrests and offers relaxed, uncomplicated driving. The steering is nicely weighted, the five-speed gearchange is slick and precise and despite its relatively low bhp – to allow it to be as frugal as it is – it pulls well even when fully loaded.
I liked the interior design with its easy to read dials, intuitive controls and white inserts on the black dashboard and steering wheel to lighten the dark effect.
Little things are missing like one-shot electric windows – and they are wind up in the rear – and an auto category on the lights switch but most people will easily adjust to those. On the plus side there are features like front, side and curtain airbags, daylight running lights, manual air conditioning, tinted side windows and a tyre pressure monitor. And of course like all Rapid models it comes with a built-in ice scraper, located on the inside of the fuel filler cap for easy access. Just to make it even more user friendly the scraper doubles up as a magnifying glass, in case you can’t quite make out all the details on your road map.
The Rapid Spaceback is an ideal family car which offers space in abundance , low running costs and enjoyable driving. What more could you ask for?
Model: Skoda Rapid Spaceback Greenline
Mechanical: 1598cc, 4 cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 5spd manual gearbox.
Max speed: 114 mph
0-62mph: 11.9 secs
Combined mpg: 74.3
CO2 emissions: 99 g/km
Warranty: Three years / 60,000 miles