If you think car makers are having a laugh when they quote “combined” fuel economy which seems a world away from reality, it’s time to put a smile on your face with the Skoda Rapid 1600 90ps Greenline.
The Greenline series in the Skoda range has been optimised to stretch economy as far as possible in real-world driving conditions and the medium sized Rapid, which falls between the Fabia and Octavia models in the Czech car maker’s range, can produce some startling results.
The official combined fuel consumption figure for the car is just over 50mpg, but in brim-to-brim tests over a variety of roads we managed to push-up this economy by almost a third to 66.2mpg. If we had been really trying to save every thimble-full of fuel we might have touched 70mpg. But what we did achieve was really impressive anyway.
The Rapid Hatchback – a semi-estate is also available but strangely afforded less carrying capacity – is a genuine five-seater with a boot which takes from 550 to 1490 litres.
At the other end there is a wide range of petrol and diesel engines but the 1.6 90ps diesel is the most popular and when ordered with the Greenline tuned features it delivers best environmental and economic savings.
With less than 100gkm of CO2 coming out of the exhaust it gets tax advantages for registration and business users.
You will find the 90ps engine is a very willing performer and the close-set five-ratio gearbox produces good pulling power, a reasonable acceleration and relaxed motorway cruising. Oh and did I mention the fuel consumption of over 66mpg without trying!
That means you could cruise from Cardiff to Clapham and back, because I cannot imagine why you’d want to stay there, for about £25. Five up that’s a fiver-a-head.
Skoda Rapid is therefore a sensible person’s choice of car.
But it doesn’t lack too much in equipment either with the Rapid Greenline getting air conditioning, electric front windows, multiple front airbags, CD-player in dash and central locking. Too much smooth plastic is used for my taste, but some would like this easy-clean nature.
It’s roomy without being cumbersome in city driving thanks to its well-geared and weighted power steering, it has strong progressive brakes and it rides over bad roads with a comfortable character. Handling is safe and sure.
Seats are well sized and shaped to comfortably keep occupants located on twisting roads and visibility is excellent throughout, helped by good wipers and bright headlights for bad conditions.
Noise levels are generally low apart from some suspension bump-thump sounds over potholes or when the 1600 cc engine is really stretched as when overtaking.
At the price the Skoda Rapid Greenline stands up well against costlier and no more refined rivals which are also not laughing at its abilities to deliver value with a smile.
Fast facts: Skoda Rapid 90ps 1.6 Greenline 5dr
Mechanical: 4cyl 1598cc 9ps, front wheel drive, 5sp man
Max speed: 114mph
Combined mpg: 50.4mpg (66.2mpg on test)
CO2 emissions: 99gkm
Insurance group: 13E
BIK rating: 12%
Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000miles