Did the Skoda Rapid Spaceback need an even smaller engine than the 1.2-litre TSI?
Skoda reckons so and replaced the previous four-cylinder engine with a diminutive 1.0-litre three-cylinder as part of the 2017 facelift.
Power and top speed matches the old 1.2-litre engine, but there’s 25Nm more torque and CO2 emissions drop from 111g/km to 106g/km.
For a modestly-powered small capacity engine, this 1.0-litre TSI performs well. The six-speed gearbox may be configured to deliver maximum fuel economy, but it doesn’t take much encouragement for the engine to wake up and get into its stride; acceleration feels more eager than cars in the class below – such as the Ford Fiesta and SEAT Ibiza – despite a slightly slower 0-62mph time of 9.8 seconds.
It’s frugal enough if driven gently too, managing to average around 45mpg over a week of mixed driving with the air-conditioning mostly on. This is some way off the claimed 61.4mpg, but with the engine spinning just above 2,000rpm at motorway speeds, we’d expect to see it nudging towards 50mpg on a long motorway stint.
Any drawbacks? The engine does send more vibrations through the steering wheel and gearlever than the old 1.2-litre engine. You do get road and wind noise filtering through into the cabin, however the engine remains quiet enough; with a distant off-beat warble adding a small dose of character throughout the rev range.
The handling is safe and neutral – there’s plenty of bodyroll to stop you mistaking this for a sporting hatch – but the relatively quick steering, short stubby gearlever and responsive pedals are just enough to make this unassuming-looking hatch a decent amount of fun.
Combine this with better refinement over the 1.4 TDI and this might just be the engine to pick in the range.
Read the rest of the full Skoda Rapid Spaceback review at Parkers below: