Skoda has the best car in the lightest weight class, but also one of the weaker contenders in the Rapid Spaceback. Skoda’s budget hatchback is not without redeeming features, but it’s weak in too many areas when there are so many good cars this year.
On the plus side, the Spaceback is priced to undercut most rivals of similar size. It’s also very roomy inside, with enough space for adults to get comfortable in the back. The boot is also a decent size, although not big enough for every last item from our typical load of holiday luggage.
However, in everyday driving the suspension struggles to smooth the road and there’s too much wind and road noise. And while the cabin may be roomy, it feels built down to a price.
As a tow car, the Spaceback isn’t short of muscle. The 1.4 TSI is surprisingly strong, pulling car and caravan from 30-60mph in just 13 seconds. The Spaceback also coped well enough with the hill start so long as the handbrake was pulled on firmly, and also proved reasonably stable in a straight line unless a strong crosswind was blowing. However, it was wrong-footed by the lane-change test. Our test driver didn’t attempt the third and fastest run as the back of the car broke away violently on the second run.