Tag Archive | "Skoda"

The Skoda Rapid – Quality And Value

The only thing the 2014 Skoda Rapid has in common with its 20th Century predecessor is the name. This is a good thing. What is also a good thing is that this car really fits the bill for a small family; especially one that has to watch the pennies.

rapid 2 The Skoda Rapid   Quality And ValueThe Rapid sits between the Fabia and the Octavia in the Skoda family. From the back, the car looks oddly narrow but this is deceptive. Despite the saloon-like appearance it is in fact a five-door with a large easy-close hatch, a low-loading lip and an absolutely massive boot – best in class (550L with the back seats up) as it happens. Inside, there’s ample legroom and storage. The designers have made a great use of the space available. There’s  room for five adults and an absolutely masive boot. Incidentally, the rear seats split and there’s the option of a ski hatch/armrest. A nice touch is the reversible floor mat with one side carpeted and the other a mud-shrugging rubber surface. The Rapid has a space-saver spare and useful extra space under the boot floor.

There’s the usual variety of seven engine options from a 1.2L petrol with 75PS to a pokier 1.4L turbo with 122PS and the excellent DSG gearbox. If your mileage is going to be mostly local then one of the petrol engines should fit the bill. If however you are going to cover a higher mileage there’s a choice of three diesels. The tested example had the 1.6L (105PS/114g/km) driving through a five-speed ‘box and it was brilliant. Motor Blogger achieved a splendid 60.5mpg over mixed driving. Overall, a very creditable fuel economy figure.

This was not at the expense of performance either. Although by no means fast, this diesel Rapid delivers brisk, acceptable rapid 1 The Skoda Rapid   Quality And Valueacceleration and never feels like it is out of its depth at any time. The Company reckon the car will nip to 62mph in 10.6 seconds. Handling isn’t dynamic but it is safe and stable and ride comfort is good on the cloth upholstered seats, with little evidence of body roll.

The Skoda Rapid has the usual array of safety features, like ABS and ESC and so on, plenty of airbags and Isofix for the kids. The brakes needed a bit of pressure to get some bite but pulled up straight and true. The featured car had the optional 17” alloys (which look great) but for even better ride comfort stick with the standard 16 inchers.

This Skoda was in ‘Elegance’ trim and had all the accessories needed including Bluetooth, climate, a multi-function leather steering wheel, cruise, Aux, USB and parking sensors. No navigation on this model though, although it’s an option.

All of the Rapid’s electrical and mechanical components are tried and tested given the German DNA and it feels built to last too, with a solidly constructed interior and that well known reassuring ‘clunk’ when you close the doors. The Rapid is good value, with prices starting from around £13,000. Our version with a large selection of optional extras including the rather fetching ‘Race-Blue’ metallic paint has a list price of just £19610, although I expect there are some deals around.

With the Rapid, the Czech company has created a car that appeals to family car buyers everywhere. It’s practical, efficient, unpretentious and easy to drive. Clearly it is never going to set your pulses racing but there are lots of people out there in the automotive world who will need a car just like this. With the attributes I’ve mentioned and a competitive price there are few better choices on offer.

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As Long As It’s Black – New Skoda Editions

The debut of eight new models in one day usually only happens at a motor show, but ŠKODA has done it anyway with the launch of their ‘Black Edition’ cars.

A striking and ‘high-on-style’ limited edition model is now available on every one of Skoda’s award-winning cars – that’s everything from the Citigo supermini to the Superb executive Hatch and Estate.

Based on the already well-specified mid-level SE trim, the Black Edition range is available in either black or white exterior paint. Each gets at least £1,200 worth of desirable optional extras, with Superb buyers benefiting from more than £3,200 of additional specification. The customer benefit is up to £1,720 depending on the model.

The exact detail of the enhancements varies by model, but examples of equipment that features in the Black Edition range includes black alloy wheels, additional black exterior styling details, sunset privacy glass, ‘Amundsen’ satellite navigation, DAB digital radio, full leather upholstery, cruise control, floor mats and metallic/pearl effect paint.

S2 As Long As Its Black   New Skoda EditionsLikely to prove extremely popular is the ŠKODA Octavia Black Edition (pictured), available in both Hatch and Estate body styles and with a choice of 2.0-litre TDI CR 140PS with a manual or DSG gearbox, or 2.0-litre TDI CR 170PS with similar manual/DSG powertrains.

The Rapid sits between the Fabia and the Octavia in the Skoda family. It too is available in this edition. Recently, Motor Blogger had the chance to drive this car and found it to be excellent.

From the back, the Rapid looks oddly narrow but this is deceptive. Despite the saloon-like appearance it is in fact a five-door with a large easy-close hatch, a low-loading lip and an absolutely massive boot – best in class (550L with the back seats up) as it happens. Inside, there’s ample legroom and storage.

The designers have made a great use of the space available and not only was I able to load four adults (incl. self) and a child but also the boot swallowed everything we needed for a long weekend with space to spare. Incidentally, the rear seats split and there’s the option of a ski hatch/armrest. A nice touch is the reversible floor mat with one side carpeted and the other a mud-shrugging rubber surface. Our Rapid had a space-saver spare and useful extra space under the boot floor.

Overall, Skoda now have a great range of cars. Something for everyone in fact. And now you can get them in black.

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Skoda On A Roll

It seems so long ago now but Skoda cars were once the butt of jokes but these days they produce a range of quality vehicles that have caught the buying public’s imagination. Well, if you’re on a roll you might as well make the most of it. That must be the attitude in the Skoda boardroom because over the next couple of years a batch of new and refreshed cars will be coming on stream.

The Fabia is getting a bit long in the tooth now but it has been the mainstay of Skoda’s sales strategy and still sells well. Nevertheless, the company are mindful that a change is as good as a rest and a new Fabia supermini will be launched next year. Although it is based on the company’s smallest platform it is still expected to be half as big again as the current model. This is no bad thing and follows the trend of superminis maturing into big superminis.

Also in development is an Evoque inspired version of Skoda’s planned seven seater SUV. The regular model is well on the way to production but apparently this more sporty up-market version is well past the drawing board stage. This new SUV is the replacement for the less popular but no less good Superb and is likely to retain that traditional name. It will be sold alongside a refreshed Yeti.

So far so good but possibly the most interesting development is the Skoda Rapid Spaceback – pictured above. This is the first of the new cars to break cover and we will see it first at the Frankfurt show next month, ready for taking orders for the end of the year.

Motor Blogger likes the simple but effective design of this car which starts off at the front as a Rapid but is all new from the B pillars to the back. Although the wheel base is the same as the hatchback this version is surprisingly shorter and loses a bit of luggage space so it can’t really be called an estate version. At first glance the question has to be asked, ‘what is this car for?’

It’s a matter of appeal. The regular Rapid is popular but is it aimed at, shall we say, a certain population segment? Skoda will offer the Rapid Spaceback with a range of customisation options in an effort to increase appeal for younger customers. Options include a full-length tinted glass roof and a “prolong” rear window which extends the tint further along the car. In our opinion it is the better looking of the two. With the choice and variety of the new coming range of Skodas, the company is certain to build on the present success.

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Sponsored Video: Skoda – The Power behind The Tour De France

The line between insanity and genius is said to be a fine one. Anyone who attempts one of the most arduous sporting events on the planet must be either one or the other: Welcome to La Grande Boucle – The Tour De France.

Although a very French affair the race in recent years has branched out to other countries. In 2012 over 12 million spectators lined the roads to watch the event flash past them in a whirr of gears and colour or cheer on the struggling climbers as they battled on the slopes of the mountain stages.

The hardest men in cycling at the peak of their physical fitness gather once a year to contest this historic event but they can’t do it without back-up. That plan includes a support team of dedicated mechanics, masseurs and managers who follow the progress of their athletes behind – and sometimes in the midst of – the race itself. The ideal choice of team vehicle is supplied by Skoda.

Skoda are one of the oldest established car makers in Europe. Their beginnings originated from a bicycle repair shop owned by Vaclav Klement and Vaclav Laurin which opened in 1895 in what is now the Czech Republic. They grew their business and began to build motorcycles and trucks until finally in 1924 they merged with an arms manufacturer called Skoda. That union formed Skoda Auto and has gone on from strength to strength since, bolstered by joining the Volkswagen Group in 2001.

In 2012 Skoda supplied the Tour with no less than 250 vehicles, primarily the Octavia Combi and, for the team cars, the Skoda Superb. For ten years now the company have supplied automotive support to the legendary bike race and in that time they have not suffered a single breakdown! Not one. That’s a pretty impressive record given the difficulties the cars face on a daily basis.

Skoda’s legendary reliability is vital but, well, accidents happen. Remember, the cars have to follow the riders over the most difficult terrain. It takes its toll. Through over-exuberance or simple bad luck the cars can sometimes sustain damage. Examples of this can be found in the masterly little bit of film-making on this video. That doesn’t stop Skoda though. Repairs are instigated and the cars are back on the road in no time. Surprising Skoda indeed!

This post has been sponsored by Skoda but all thoughts are our own.


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Small But Perfectly Formed

My Citroen C1 has just returned from rugged North Yorkshire en route to which and during its stay it encountered all sorts of roads, terrains and weather. It ran through the briars and it ran through the brambles. It ran through the places where the rabbits wouldn’t go. It ran so fast that a Hummer couldn’t catch it – all through the dales of Yorkshire and on to Scarboro’. This little car has performed faultlessly. It kept up with the big boys and went down lanes too narrow for them. And they call them city cars. Frankly, my car laughs in the face of such sobriquets.

The point is that these small cars are growing up. Sure, a motorway express is always going to be better for long journeys, no question, but what if you can’t afford one or indeed afford to run one now that motoring costs have risen out of all proportion? Motor companies are beginning to understand that tastes are changing. For some, it is because the drip – drip – drip of the green lobby has finally worn them down and for some, to be fair, it is because they are genuine believers. Either way, small modern cars are becoming increasingly popular for all the right reasons.

For some of the more unscrupulous in the halls of government this is a worrying trend. Revenue from fuel and road tax is falling. Expect any day now for the VED rates to be ‘re-aligned’ to bring healthy electric cars into the tax bands, even though they were supposed to be exempt. The Citroen C1 pays only £20pa now and sips petrol so don’t be surprised if the fuel price stays artificially high. Just to remind you – this is the party that castigated those labour chappies for their ‘war on motorists’. Ha!

If you keep the revs up the Citroen C1 has zippy performance, The same presumably goes for the Toyota Aygo and Peugeot 107 because they are, effectively, the same car. It can only be a matter of time, as drivers adjust to smaller vehicles, that manufacturers will start to offer hotter versions of their baby cars. In fact, it has started already with the news that both SEAT and Skoda have shown concept versions of a Mii FR and a Citigo Rally, respectively; both were revealed at the GTI Treffen Tuning Festival in Austria. It is suggested that the SEAT Mii FR will not have any chassis or tuning upgrades, just that it will look ‘the business’. No word yet on performance upgrades for the Skoda Citigo Rally but it does look like a miniature Fabia S2000 rally car (pictured above with optional accessory). Brilliant!

As far as most regular drivers on regular budgets are concerned, the larger car may well have had its day. In the not too distant future small city cars are going to be big.

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