I’ve been enjoying an affair this month. In the last issue you may recall that Iíd written about the Rapid needing some TLC thanks to a warning on the dashboard flashing up to say an oil change was due. I called my local dealer (Startins in Worcester) to book it in, but their availability didnít match up with my hectic diary, so it didnít work out. The fact that the car only had 13,000 miles on the clock set alarm bells ringing at Startins, as the first oil change shouldnít have been necessary for another 5,000 miles.
Unsure of what to do, I called the Skoda press office, only to be told that theyíd prefer to service the car themselves, as they werenít sure how the maintenance schedule had been set up. The result was an Octavia vRS courtesy car for what should have been a week ñ but it became three times that. Oops. That pesky diary again. It wasnít entirely my fault though, because when the Rapid arrived back at Skoda headquarters, a fault was detected and a part was needed. Iíd noticed that sometimes, even in low ambient temperatures, the engine cooling fan would cut in and stay on once the ignition had been switched off. It wasnít a problem, but it did seem odd. The upshot was that when Skoda snatched the car back for its oil change, they noticed that a mystery part needed to be replaced, and it was on back order. As we went to press, we hadnít received confirmation of which part needed to be swapped, but we do know it was something to do with the cooling system. Now when the car is switched on, the electric fan no longer comes on to cool the engine.
I was rather hoping that the unavailable part would remain out of stock for a while longer, as I was rather enjoying the Octavia vRS that took the Rapidís place for those three weeks. With its 181bhp engine and DSG twin-clutch automatic transmission, the Octavia provided effortless transport, and over 3,000 miles I averaged 48mpg, which only adds fuel to my theory that if you downsize an engine too much, it proves less economical in the real world. The 1.4-litre Rapid averages 50mpg ñ a 4 per cent improvement, yet it has just half the power. Itís all academic anyway, as by the time you read this there will be facelifted versions of both the Rapid Spaceback and Octavia wending their way to showrooms. As a result, our Rapid Spaceback is set to be swapped for a facelifted Octavia 2.0-litre TDI in a month or soís time, and after those three weeks with the high-powered vRS, I must say Iím rather looking forward to the change.
Date arrived 18th July 2016
Fuel economy 78.5mpg (combined) 49.8mpg (on test)
The air vents snap shut in a very pleasing way, so you feel like they’re definitely open or closed, rather than somewhere in between.
The high loading lip means it’s easy to scratch the bumper when loading heavy or large objects into the boot, such as a bike.