Space­back gives more room to its pas­sen­gers

Cynon Valley - - MOTORS WALES - ROBIN ROBERTS news­desk@waleson­

SPACE is a con­fus­ing place and it’s not been helped by the Skoda Rapid Space­back land­ing.

The Rapid hatch­back neatly filled a gap in the Skoda range be­tween the Fabia and Oc­tavia but then the Czech car maker added Space­back.

From the out­set it has to be ex­plained that the Rapid hatch­back has a roomier boot but the Space­back gains ad­di­tional rear seat head­room with its “stretched” roofline.

The suf­fix is per­haps sur­pris­ing and pos­si­bly mislead­ing but makes sense when you think of it purely in pas­sen­gers get­ting more space than lug­gage.

And that won favour with our fam­ily who reg­u­larly fill back seats but rarely need to trans­port larger ob­jects than a week’s shop­ping. It was def­i­nitely a win-win with the Space­back SE Sport 110ps.

This is the stronger ver­sion with its lower emis­sions and greater econ­omy, and we were de­lighted to see fuel fig­ures ap­proach­ing the new test­ing regime’s com­bined fig­ure. The mid-range SE Sport is also or­dered by 70%of buy­ers.

The range was up­dated last year and has new front and rear end lights and styling changes with the cleaner and more eco­nom­i­cal 1.0litre engine re­plac­ing the orig­i­nal 1.2-litre unit. Now it runs to 14 mod­els in the Space­back series util­is­ing 95 or 110ps 1.0 petrol and 90 or 115 1.4 and 1.6 diesel units, in S, SE Sport or SE Tech edi­tions and with man­ual or DSG au­to­matic trans­mis­sions.

The lit­tle engine is a gem. It has in­stant start up and freely revs, is cou­pled to a man­ual gear­box with care­fully cho­sen ra­tios so it can be sur­pris­ingly flex­i­ble at times and pulls rea­son­ably strongly too, although its over­all per­for­mance is mod­est.

It is in the area of fuel ef­fi­ciency that you have to ad­mire the pow­er­train, stretch­ing our over­all fig­ure to 57mpg but on some trips we ac­tu­ally edged over 60mpg.

I would have pre­ferred greater feel through the steer­ing and foot­brake, although it turned tightly and eas­ily when park­ing and that park­ing brake se­curely held it on our reg­u­lar test slope.

For a fam­ily car, the Skoda Rapid Space­back had plenty of oddments’ room with big door bins, a range of cen­tral trays and re­cesses and some big pock­ets on the backs of the front seats.

The abun­dance of hard, fea­ture­less plas­tic trim is dis­ap­point­ing. There is lit­tle to high­light in the fas­cia de­sign and you feel this is a car which says what you see is what you get.

That means it’s an hon­est work­horse for a fam­ily, will not cost the earth to buy or run and can do what is ex­pected in a re­li­able way. It is not a modern sports tourer or cross­over model but it’s carv­ing out its own space in the mar­ket. Brid­gend, Port Tal­bot and Swansea

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