It’s already six months since the Rapid Spaceback was delivered and the 10,000-mile mark is now tantalisingly close. In that time, thereís been much debate as to what the Rapid Spaceback is up against. I always assumed itís a C-segment model which would pitch it squarely against the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra and Peugeot 308, but some claim itís more of a generously sized B-segment car, which would make its rivals the Fiesta, Corsa and 208, among a raft of others. To settle the argument once and for all, I got out the tape measure to see how the Skoda stacks up. Well, I did so figuratively speaking ñ what I actually did was look at a series of online data tables, but you get the idea. Anyway, the upshot of my enquiries was the discovery that the Skoda is 4,304 millimetres long, while its load bay is rated at 415 litres with the rear seats in place, or 1,380 litres with them folded. The equivalent vital statistics for the Focus are 4,360 millimetres, along with 316 and 1,215 litres ñ the Fiesta is pegged at 3,969 millimetres and 290/974 litres. Meanwhile, the Astraís figures are 4,370 millimetres and 370/1,210 litres while those for the Corsa are 4,021 millimetres along with 280 and 1,090 litres. So, itís fair to say that rather than being a generously sized B-segment car, the Skoda actually offers more carrying capacity than the two biggest-selling C-segment family hatchbacks, despite being marginally shorter than both of them. And it does this while still offering decent rear-seat leg room.
Itís easy to see why thereís such confusion about the Skodaís size. Despite its Rapid name, the Spaceback looks more like a plus-sized Fabia that sits between the hatchback and estate. But at 4,257mm long, even the Fabia estate is around five centimetres shorter than the Spaceback. However, it can carry marginally more with the rear seats in place and only a little bit less than the Spaceback with them folded (530 and 1,395 litres respectively).
If your head is now spinning from a constant stream of numbers, all you need to know is that the Spaceback can carry a large quantity of wood, chopped up ready for a log burner. Because letís face it, thatís the only real-world test that matters. However, when we recently filled up the Skoda to cart hundreds of logs, it was less the space and more the payload that mattered; the maximum allowed is 535 kilograms. Thatís just five more than a Fabia Estate 1.4 TDI, which costs around £1,500 less and offers just as much interior space, despite the fact that itís officially a B-segment car. Which arguably makes the Fabia estate the Rapid Spacebackís most deadly rival…
Date arrived: 18th July 2016
Fuel economy: 78.5mpg (combined) 49.5mpg (on test)
Too many cars are painted in boring hues such as silver, grey or black.
The cabin’s sole 12-volt socket is positioned awkwardly for those up front.