At that level the Skoda five-door hatch undercuts many of its mainstream alternatives such as the Toyota Corolla (from $19,990), Hyundai i30 (from $20,990), Mazda 3 (from $20,490), Ford Focus (from $19,990) and Holden Cruze (from $19,490), while it sits level with the Nissan Pulsar (from $18,990).
It also means the Skoda small car undercuts its German sibling model, the Volkswagen Golf (from $21,490), by a considerable $2500.
However, for that buy-in the Rapid comes sparsely equipped. No Rapid model can be had with a potentially life-saving reverse-view camera, nor is there the choice of a touchscreen stereo system, or satellite-navigation. Many rival cars at least offer reversing sensors, but Skoda charges buyers for that technology unless they choose the top-spec model. However, all Rapid models do have six airbags, electronic stability control and a five-star ANCAP crash rating. (See the full specification breakdown below).
The entry-level model is the 77TSI Ambition, which is powered by a 1.2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine and can only be had with a six-speed manual gearbox. The engine is good for 77kW of power at 5000rpm, and 175Nm of torque between 1550-4100rpm.
Fuel use for the 77TSI model is rated at 5.4 litres per 100km, though it must be run on premium unleaded (95 octane minimum).
The next step up is the 90TSI Ambition, which is priced from $21,890. This variant is powered by a 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 90kW at 5000rpm and 200Nm between 1500-4000rpm, and is available only with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. Fuel use is rated at 6.0L/100km, and it needs premium fuel too.
The top model is the 90TSI Elegance, which is priced from $23,750. It is powered by the same engine and gearbox as the aforementioned Ambition version, but gains a range of inclusions such as 17-inch alloy wheels, climate control air-conditioning, rear parking sensors, and automatic headlights and wipers.
The Czech-made hatchback can be optioned with a Style Pack that costs $2100 on the Ambition grade and $1800 on the top-spec Elegance. It includes 17-inch alloy wheels, a full-glass panoramic roof and glass tailgate, darkened tail-lights, blackened fog-light housings and black mirror caps.
There’s also a Sports Pack that can be optioned in addition to the Style Pack (as seen on the car in these images) or on its own. It costs $1600 for the Ambition variant and $1000 for the Elegance model (or $1400 for the Ambition and $1000 for the Elegance if the Style Pack is already fitted), and includes xenon headlights, front sport seats, rear parking sensors, a double-sided boot floor mat, tinted glass and stainless steel pedals.
All Skoda Rapid models attract the brand’s capped price servicing campaign, but Skoda has yet to confirm pricing and details of the plan. It is expected to be a six-year plan with services every twelve months or 15,000km.
Skoda has opted to only sell the Spaceback version of the Rapid, with the Liftback (sedan) model off the radar at this point in time for Australia. The hatch offers a roomy 384-litre boot with 60:40 split-fold seats and a space-saver spare wheel under the floor.
2014 Skoda Rapid Spaceback pricing (plus on-road costs):
Skoda Rapid 77TSI Ambition manual: $18,990
Skoda Rapid 90TSI Ambition DSG: $21,890
Skoda Rapid 90TSI Elegance DSG: $23,750
2014 Skoda Rapid Spaceback features, model by model:
1.2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine
Six-speed manual transmission
Electronic stability control
ISOFIX child seat anchor points (outer rear seats)
Bluetooth phone and audio streaming
16-inch alloy wheels
USB and media input
Leather-wrapped steering wheel, handbrake and gearknob
‘Swing’ radio system (not touch screen)
As above, with:
1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine
Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission
As above, with:
17-inch Camelot wheels
Rear parking sensors
Climate control air-conditioning
Cornering front fog-lights
Click the Photos tab above for more images of the new Skoda Rapid Spaceback.