The 2020 Skoda Rapid is the name used for models produced by the Czech manufacturer Škoda Auto. The Skoda Rapid introduces a small gap in the market for those who want something bigger than a Fabia the size of a Fiesta, but not a car as big as the Octavia, a rival to the Ford Focus. It’s a lot cheaper than the Skoda Octavia as well, so it works for those looking for a useful dose of practicality on a budget.
The 2020 Rapid offers a healthy driving position. There is a lot of steering wheel range that can be adjusted to reach and height, as well as adjustable driver seat height. Yet there is some yang of that positive yin: the seatback is operated by a lever rather than the usual swivel wheel, offering a limited range of angles to choose from, and lumbar adjustment is not available. That said, even without it, the seat offers decent lower back support, but the lateral support is poor, leaving you to hold on to the steering wheel at fast angles.
2020 Skoda Rapid Interior
Inside, the look works well: everything from well-matched pedals that leave you sitting in a natural gait, to the logical layout of the dashboard along with large, clear keys. Forward visibility is good, and although the forward view is limited by thicker rear pillars, parking sensors are available as an option on our preferred SE section. All versions come with a 6.5-inch, touch-sensitive entertainment system. This is not one of the laudable infotainment systems of the latest generation used in models like the Octavia.
Instead, the relatively small low-resolution screen feels somehow behind the Octavia and those offered in the Astra and Focus. At least the menus are easy to process and respond reasonably to commands. On the input S equipment, you don’t even receive Bluetooth which is standard for all other parts, and on those, you still have to pay for DAB radio and sat-nav. Other options include mirroring smartphones that allow you to connect your phone using Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, or Mirror Link.
2020 Skoda Rapid Engine
Skoda offers several different engine options to choose from. They start with a 1.0-liter three-cylinder turbo-petrol that you can order in two tunes: 94bhp and 109bhp. We haven’t tried the 94 bhp version yet, but the 109bhp option is audible; it is a crackling engine that willingly pulls at about 1500 rpm and continues to do so until it reaches maximum speed. The 1.6 TDI diesel isn’t exactly smooth either, but it matches the pace of its rivals, including the Vauxhall Astra 1.6 CDTi 110. Most come in mid-range, making it a more relaxed performer than satisfied rev-1.0 petrol, and a slightly better suggestion for those who regularly carry a car full of people or luggage.
Each engine comes standard with a manual transmission, with the option of a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission on the 1.4 TDI only. There’s decent and smooth shifting in the manual, and the positive clutch warm-up makes smooth driving in stop and start traffic easier things than automatic; this tends to bounce off the line.
2020 Skoda Rapid Safety
Euro NCAP has given Rapid a five-star safety rating, thanks in part to standard six airbags and ISOFIX child safety seats. Automatic city braking with pedestrian recognition is also available, although only as an option in all versions. Thatcham security experts also rate the five-star Rapid range from five to prevent ragamuffin thieves from nailing it. 2020 Skoda Rapid also gets four stars because it prevents them from breaking in and stealing your valuables.