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2013 Skoda Rapid Review [complete]

2013 Skoda Rapid 1.2 TSI 105HP Elegance Review. When Skoda has announced a new compact sedan that will be in the range between Fabia and Octavia, I tried to figure out what’s the exact positioning of this new model. If it will be between Fabia (B segment, small compact class) and Octavia (C segment, middle-class), means that the new Skoda Rapid should be some sort of Fabia sedan. Wrong. Because Skoda clearly said that this is a compact car. And yet, there we already have Skoda Octavia, so the logic of such a model seems a little strange.

2013 Skoda Rapid

2013 Skoda Rapid 1.2 TSI 105HP Elegance Review

The time passed and after repeated visits at Mlada Boleslav and then at the Rapid’s international press test in Slovenia, we began to understand. 2013 Skoda Rapid is actually a compact car and can be seen as a simplified Skoda Octavia. Basically, the new Skoda model takes its place in the range of Octavia Tour, the Czechs giving up of presenting the same model on some of its markets, but presenting it in two different generations. In addition, Skoda Octavia 3 is going up in Skoda’s range by being larger and having more features than the old Octavia 2, somehow close to Superb. The new Octavia will remain a compact, but it will be positioned in the upper segment.

The summary of the whole set of arguments and explanations that are made to position the 2013 Skoda Rapid in a clear segment it’s simple: the new Skoda is a compact model that is addressed to those who want a model with German pedigree but can’t afford one a Jetta or Octavia. But another basic question is: Skoda Rapid is a competitor for Dacia Logan? The answer is complicated: not necessarily, but it’s closer than Octavia was.

2013 Skoda Rapid 1.2 TSI 105HP Elegance Full Review

2013 Skoda Rapid Engine / Transmission 4.5/5

Under the bonnet of the version that we tested was an engine that is already known from other models of the Volkswagen Group. It’s a turbocharged 1.2-liter petrol engine with 105 horsepower which made its debut four years ago on VW Polo. Although the German turbo engine already has a few years while it has been used, every encounter with it is a pleasure. There is anyway a small number of sold cars that are carrying this engine under the bonnets.

There is no reason in the world, excepting the fuel economy, for a client with his head on the shoulders to choose a diesel with identical size and power. The engine is incredibly powerful and manages to stay in good shape somewhere up at 5000 rpm, where the power available on paper meets the laws of physics. Yes, it is a 1.2 engine, which might scare you at the first sight. But it’s time to get over what you thought about small aspirated engines. When a turbine and the latest technology are involved, the things get brighter. The engine seems not to be forced at all, it feels natural and it sounds nice.

The engine was mated to a 6-speed manual transmission, the only one available for this engine in Rapid’s range. If until now we’ve tested the 1.2 TSI engine only in the company of a DSG that seemed designed for this engine, the manual gearbox also rises at the same level as the engine, but it doesn’t give you the comfort of driving without worrying about changing the speeds. If you want DSG on Rapid, you must choose a 1.4 engine with 122 hp, but you must take care of the fuel efficiency: in that area, the figures might not be the same as you would expect.

2013 Skoda Rapid Engine Specs

2013 Skoda Rapid Fuel Efficiency 4.5/5

The fashion of turbo engines with fewer cylinders, but with high power has grew rapidly in the past years. However, very few compact sedans benefited from technological contribution of such engines, the only representatives of this segment that have used the downsizing’s solution are Ford Focus sedan – with its 1.0 liter EcoBoost – and some of the Volkswagen Group models: Octavia, Jetta and now, 2013 Skoda Rapid. It seems like we face one of the segment’s performers in terms of fuel economy.

2013 Skoda Rapid 1.2 TSI of 105 hp uses 5.4 litres/100 km (43.5 mpg US; 52.3 mpg imperial) for a mixed fuel economy, the Czech model being surpassed in this chapter only by the “miracle” 1.0 EcoBoost that announces in its technical book an incredible 4.9 litres/100 km (48.00 mpg). The good news is that Skoda is excellent even in day-by-day life and doesn’t vary much from the official numbers. Thus, the Czech model displays a fuel efficiency of 8.2 litres/100 km (28.7 mpg US; 34.4 mpg imperial) after a week of running 95% in the city, in pretty bad traffic conditions. The technical book gives us an urban fuel economy of 6.9 litres/100 km (34 mpg US; 47 mpg imperial). I think 8.2 l/100 km is a commendable performance.

2013 Skoda Rapid Performance 4.5/5

The performance is a very interesting chapter in this segment. On one hand, you might say that the C class sedans don’t need a good sprint from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph), because we talk about a family car. On the other hand, no father would refuse a car that quickly leaves when the traffic light turns green, after he already left the children at school and it’s heading to the office.This dilemma seems to persist even in the logic of the manufacturers who are competing in this segment. I’m saying this because of the differences between the first (the C-Elysee surprise, with 9.4 seconds) and the last in this chapter (1.4 Astra Sedan with 100 hp and 14.2 seconds) at 100-115 hp power range is not less than 4.8 seconds . The 1.2 TSI Skoda Rapid is on the good side of the balance, being the second regarding these figures: 10.3 seconds. As about the top speed, the 1.2 TSI Rapid is the first in its segment, with 195 km/h (120 mph).

2013 Skoda Rapid Interior

2013 Skoda Rapid Interior 3.5/5

If you are familiar with the Spartan atmosphere (Sparta was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece), without color, taste or smell and your dream car is one that doesn’t attract attention, Skoda Rapid’s interior could be the ideal candidate for the highest position in this regard. It’s cold, spartan and the only elements that are contrasting with the dominant black color of the new car that we tested was the seats upholstery, which was also… gray. Otherwise, one chromed touch thrown here and there reminds you that you are in a car officially launched in 2012. The problem persists even when you take a general look at the car: practically the only color combination that would be somehow aesthetically appealing is the black seats with red inserts.

In terms of tactile sensations, things aren’t better. The materials are tough and the only soft to the touch areas are – maximum efficiency! – the steering wheel, the shift lever, the parking brake and the elbow’s rest on the inside of the door. Obviously, these solutions have an explanation. And in the case of Skoda Rapid, this explanation is its price. With at least 1000 Euros cheaper than the compact sedan already “stucked” in people’s heads.

And the price has its good parts. For example, in the Czech model you will be sure to have all the space in the world, whether you sit in the back or the front. The trunk has 530 liters -18.7 cubic feet- (20 liters more than Dacia Logan, for example and above the segment’s average) and Rapid stands out through a series of clever storage solutions. Starting from the garbage bag on board and the space under the seat dedicated to the reflective and finishing with the two-sided mat – a textile one, a rubber one – there are elements that are fitting the ”Simply Clever” idea that Skoda relies on.

2013 Skoda Rapid Price 4.5/5

2013 Skoda Rapid arrives with a starting price of 10,990 Euros (~  £9,500 / $15,000 – at the current exchange rate) and the tested version, of 1.2 TSI and 105 hp, starts at €14,900 (~  £13,000 / $20,000) with VAT included for the Active trim level and €16,751 (~  £14,500 / $22,500) for the Elegance version. The price is excellent for this segment and is surpassed only by the fresh-launched “brothers” Citroen C-Elysee and Peugeot 301, which are much cheaper.

2013 Skoda Rapid Safety 5/5

Obtaining five EuroNCAP stars, 2013 Rapid managed to rise to the family claims. It was normal to be like this: with six airbags and ESP for the standard version, Rapid had all the premises to behave well in the crash tests.

2013 Skoda Rapid Exterior side front rear

2013 Skoda Rapid Roadholding 3.5/5

Skoda focused on comfort when they imagined how Rapid’s passengers will feel on the road. The roadholding imposed by the semirigid rear isn’t brilliant, but isn’t below the standards of a family that expects that their own car to help them in all the situations that may occur on highways or streets.

You’ll pass over tramway lines or small to medium bumps with minimum physical and mental effort, but this doesn’t mean that the car is a “boat” designed exclusively for this type of running. Skoda engineers have found a compromise between what can provide a model of this price and the customers requirements for this kind of car, so we’re talking about an optimal behavior for the most of the time.

2013 Skoda Rapid Visibility 4/5

Skoda Rapid has generous glass areas, starting from the ceiling and ending with the car rear window that’s equipped with a wiper. The side mirrors are as small as the ones of a Volkswagen Jetta, a deficiency that can be corrected by a perfect adjustment.

The central mirror also requires some adjustment. The reverse maneuvers may receive additional accuracy using a set of parking sensors.

2013 Skoda Rapid Technology 3.5/5

Skoda Rapid comes with suitable solutions in terms of technology, but is overwhelmed by the segment-caliber opponents like Opel Astra Sedan, Ford Focus or Mazda3 Sedan because they fully benefit from the advantages of the hatchback brothers. Ford, for example, equipped Focus with all the “nutty” features of the segment when it comes to technology, bringing many of this elements of this type directly from the upper segment. They were also have been automatically transferred to the sedan.

Unfortunately, Skoda Rapid has a slight disadvantage here. The name of it: Octavia . Skoda might seem to focus more on the new generation Octavia (which was launched at the end of 2012), so Rapid has been regarded as a “poorest” relative of this model. True, you’ve got the navigation on the options list, you have music via USB, Aux, automatic climate control, heated seats and heated mirrors. But that’s pretty much about it. Yet, once again, the difference can be saw when it comes to price.

2013 Skoda Rapid price

2013 Skoda Rapid Design 3.5/5

A sedan from Skoda is not an unusual occurrence in the automotive world. Octavia and Superb are already names both familiar and appreciated.

What’s new about Skoda Rapid? The new design of the Skoda, that comes with a slightly angular touch in all the chapters: from the front headlights to the grid and the tail lights. Skoda Rapid has a properly aesthetic design, but doesn’t make you to turn your head as soon as it passes by. A normal car, a family one, that carry on the style required by Skoda on its models since a few years ago.

2013 Skoda Rapid 1.2 TSI 105HP Elegance Test Drive

What we liked:

  • Excellent engine
  • Good fuel economy
  • Interior space
  • Good price

What we didn’t liked:

  • The quality of materials
  • The technology
  • Unattractive design

2013 Skoda Rapid 1.2 TSI 105HP Elegance Specs

No. doors
Engine type/cylinder
No. seats
Displacement cc
Length mm / in
4486 / 176.6
Maximum power HP (rpm)
105 (5000)
Width mm / in
1706 / 67
Torque Nm / lb-ft (rpm)
175 / 129 (1550)
Height mm / in
1461 / 57.5
Top speed km/h / mph
195 / 121
Weight kg / lbs
1175 / 46.2
Acceleration: 0-100 km/h / 62 mph
10.3 seconds
Wheelbase mm / in
2602 / 102.4
Fuel tank volume liters / gallons
55 / 14.5 US / 12.1 imperial
manual (6-speed)
Trunk volume liters / cubic feet
550 / 19.4
2013 Skoda Rapid 1.2 TSI 105HP Elegance receives in our Review an Overall note of 4.1 out of 5.

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