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Spaceback addsto Rapid appeal 

SKODA widened its Rapid appeal earlier in the year when it added a hatchback to the range.

Buyers now have the option of the new Spaceback model or its saloon sibling.

And I reckon the hatchback is the more stylish looking of the two with its shortened rear.

You can also enhance this model’s looks further by adding a large panoramic glass roof and extended tailgate glass which are among the styling options available.

It offers three trim levels – S, SE and elegance – with a choice of three petrol and two diesel units with power ranging from 87bhp to 120bhp.

Spaceback models also get more equipment than Rapid with the S standard spec including air conditioning, front electric windows and reach adjustable steering column.

SE features 15-inch Carne alloy wheels, acoustic rear parking sensors, cruise control, front fog lights and rear electric windows, while Elegance models additions include 16-inch Dione alloys, height-adjustable passenger seat and cornering front fog lights.

The entry-level S 1.2 petrol model is well priced at £14,340 and I sampled a SE 1.6 TDI with a seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox.

This was priced at £18,440 – £1,160 more than the manual equivalent.

The 89bhp diesel engine performed well enough through the auto box and was never too noisy, even under hard acceleration.

It’s no hot hatch, going from zero to 62mph in 12.1 seconds and capable of reaching 113mph, but was punchy enough.

Road grip was also good when taking bends at speed and overall ride comfort couldn’t be faulted.

Quality fit also gets pass marks as there were no squeaks or rattles during my time with the Spaceback.

It proved to be a practical, family hatchback with plenty of interior space – lots of rear legroom and headroom – and good all-round vision.

And economy-conscious buyers will be impressed with the 62.8mpg combined fuel economy figure – 72.4mpg extra urban and 50.5mpg urban.

Skoda will be looking for its latest arrival to further boost record sales.

The Czech brand celebrated its best April in the company’s history with worldwide deliveries increasing 15.5 per cent, from 77,500 to 89,600 cars.

Its sales were up by 22.1 per cent in Western Europe to 36,600 vehicles, meaning Skoda has grown significantly in all individual markets.

In Germany – the brand’s largest European market – deliveries increased 16.2 per cent to 12,900 cars, where the Czech manufacturer is also the clear leader in import models.

With an increase of 26.2 per cent to 6200 vehicles delivered, the brand continues to perform well in the UK market.

And you can look for some more gleaming new models arriving in the coming months as Skoda chases even more growth.

The Octavia G-TEC – the first Octavia to run on natural gas – is due to celebrate its premiere and the new Octavia Scout arrives this summer.

In addition, three new sporty Monte Carlo versions of the Yeti, Rapid Spaceback and Citigo will be coming out soon.

It’s a busy and highly successful time for Skoda.