While today Škoda Rapid is best known as an affordable five-door liftback sedan and hatchback, the history of this model dates back 80 years ago. First relating to engine models then a fastback coupé, until it finally became the model we know today.
First Generation (1935-1947)
Škoda Auto first used the name Rapid to cars fitted with a Rapid engine, the first one being a 1,195-cc engine fitted into the Popular Type 920 from 1934 to 1935.
Škoda later used the name for a larger model built from 1935 to 1938 - the Rapid Type 901. A four-cylinder 1,386-cc flathead engine producing 23kW powered it. With a top speed of 100 km/h and fuel consumption of 9 to 10 litres per 100km, it was an economical car at the time. The range of bodies included a two-door and four-door saloon, two-door four-seat convertible, as well as a commercial van version.
The Rapid OHV Type 922 succeeded it in 1938 until production ended in 1947. It featured a four-cylinder 1,558-cc overhead valve engine with 31kW which was a significant improvement over its predecessor while retaining the same fuel economy. The range of bodies was limited to two-door and four-door saloons, adding a more aerodynamic two-door variant in 1938.
Second Generation (1984-1990)
Carrying on the legacy of the sportier models of the family, the Škoda Rapid produced during this period was a fastback coupé with a rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive configuration. Many referred to the Rapid as the poor man's Porsche, a reputation that is not necessarily false. During the era when practicality and affordability were high on the list, producing an attractive model was a challenge. Regardless, Škoda managed to do so with the 110R, Garde, and finally, Rapid.
It was fitted with compact engines, mainly 1174-cc and 1289-cc inline engines, producing just above 40kW of power. Transmission options were four-speed manual for the smaller engine and five-speed manual for the larger variant. With a kerb weight under 900 kg and with modernised suspension and brake system, it was a reasonably sporty vehicle for the Soviet Bloc. Top speed was clocked at 152.9 km/h, while the 0-100km/h acceleration took 16.5 seconds, reduced to 14.9 seconds with later engine models.
The interior is spartan, featuring bare minimum required for a functional vehicle, with radio as the only luxury. When driving a Rapid, you will quickly notice the poor sound isolation, both from the environment and the engine bay. The inline-4 engine leaves much to be desired in the sound aspect.
On the British market, standard Rapids were imported and modified into convertibles. At the time, the Rapid Cabriolet was the cheapest convertible on sale in the UK.
Today, rarity and appeal have turned this model into somewhat of a classic, with significant demand in the countries that first produced it. Finding one would not be easy, as most owners have long neglected and scrapped it. If you do find one, it could only cost you pocket change, as original owners generally don't see any value in them.
Third Generation (2012-2019)
At the Paris Motor Show in 2012, Škoda presented a liftback sedan under the name of Rapid. Together with the later-introduced Rapid Spaceback hatchback, it was a completely different vehicle from the earlier models, produced to succeed Octavia Tour and fill the gap between Fabia and Octavia.
We see a return to minimalist appearance, directed by chief designer Josef Kabaň, and Škoda breaking away from the influence of Volkswagen design choices and heavy use of their parts.
It shares many features, such as interior design and body elements with the new Seat Toledo, with the production of both cars taking place at the same factory in the Czech Republic.
Another change from the previous model is switching to the front-engine, front-wheel-drive layout, chosen as the most practical and economical. Safety was a big concern for the manufacturer, resulting in an excellent performance in the Euro NCAP test and a rating of five stars.
Equipment and Trim Levels
- Standard equipment includes most of the features you'd expect in a modern car. It came with traction control, ABS, side and passenger airbags, remote locking, alarm system, adjustable seat and steering wheel.
- Greenline and E packages add more of the modern necessities - air conditioning, CD, alloy wheels, front fog lights, full-size spare wheel
- Elegance, SE connect, and SE L packages bring more options on top of previous packages - metallic paint, parking sensors, cruise control, satellite navigation
- Black and Sport editions share some of the luxuries with the earlier packages and add sports seats.
Powertrain options come in a large variety of 1.0L to 1.6L, petrol and diesel engines. They're generally turbocharged, produce power in the 100hp range, and have low torque and reasonable top speeds. Aside from idling, petrol engine turbine will always be running, while diesel's turbine will not engage when cruising at lower rpm. Both variants are highly economical, consuming 5-6 litres of petrol per 100km of combined driving, or 4 litres of diesel per official specifications. These kinds of powertrains are best suited for city traffic. They can serve for open roads, but at full seating capacity and some luggage, relaxed driving is a must.
- 1.0L I3 TSI12V DOHC, producing 70kW at 5500rpm and 160Nm of torque at 3500rpm, a top speed of 187km/h and 0-100km/h in 11 seconds, 5-speed manual or 7-speed automatic transmission
- 12V DOHC, producing 81kW at 5600rpm and 200Nm of torque at 3500rpm, a top speed of 200km/h and 0-100km/h in 9.8 seconds, 6-speed manual transmission
- 1.2L I3 MPI, naturally aspirated
- 12V DOHC, producing 55kW at 5400rpm and 112Nm of torque at 3750rpm, a top speed of 175km/h and 0-100km/h in 13.9 seconds, 5-speed manual transmission
- 1.2L I4 TSI, turbocharged
- 8V SOHC, producing 63kW at 4800rpm and 160Nm of torque at 1500-3500rpm, a top speed of 183km/h and 0-100km/h in 11.8 seconds, 5-speed manual transmission
- 16V DOHC, producing 66kW at 4400rpm and 160Nm of torque at 1400-3500rpm, a top speed of 186km/h and 0-100km/h in 11.2 seconds, 5-speed manual transmission
- 8V SOHC, producing 77kW at 5000rpm and 175Nm of torque at 1550-4100rpm, a top speed of 195km/h and 0-100km/h in 10.3 seconds, 6-speed manual transmission
- 16V DOHC, producing 81kw at 4600rpm and 175Nm of torque at 1400-4000rpm, a top speed of 200km/h and 0-100km/h in 9.8 seconds, 6-speed manual transmission
- 1.4L I4 TSI, turbocharged
- 16V DOHC, producing 90kW at 5000rpm and 200Nm of torque at 1500-4000rpm, a top speed of 206km/h and 0-100km/h in 9.5 seconds, 7-speed automatic transmission
- 16V DOHC, producing 92kW at 5000rpm and 200Nm of torque at 1400-4000rpm, a top speed of 208km/h and 0-100km/h in 9.0 seconds, 7-speed automatic transmission
- 1.6L I4 TDI CR, turbocharged
- 16V common-rail, producing 66kW at 4200rpm and 180Nm of torque at 2000rpm, a top speed of 184km/h and 0-100km/h in 12.0 seconds, 5-speed manual transmission
- 16V common-rail GreenLine, producing 66kW at 4200rpm and 230Nm of torque at 1500-2500rpm, a top speed of 186km/h and 0-100km/h in 12.0 seconds, 5-speed manual transmission
- 16V common-rail, producing 66kW at 4200rpm and 230Nm of torque at 1500-2500rpm, a top speed of 184km/h and 0-100km/h in 12.2 seconds, 7-speed automatic transmission
- 16V common-rail, producing 77kW at 4400rpm and 250Nm of torque at 1500-2500rpm, a top speed of 190km/h and 0-100km/h in 10.4 seconds, 5-speed manual transmission
- 16V common-rail, producing 85kW at 3500rpm, 250Nm of torque at 1500-3000rpm, a top speed of 201km/h and 0-100km/h in 10.0 seconds, 5-speed manual transmission
- 1.4L I3 TDI CR, turbocharged
- 12V common-rail, producing 66kW at 3500rpm and 230Nm of torque at 1750-2500rpm, a top speed of 183km/h and 0-100km/h in 12.0 seconds, 5-speed manual transmission
- 12V common-rail, producing 66kW at 3500rpm, 230Nm of torque at 1750-2500rpm, a top speed of 182km/h and 0-100km/h in 12.5 seconds, 7-speed automatic transmission