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By Jonathan Crouch
Added 3rd October, 2014
, updated 9th August, 2019
ŠKODA's third-generation Fabia supermini aims at a younger audience and has in recent times been improved with smarter styling and more sophisticated petrol power. Jonathan Crouch reports.
ŠKODA's Scala claims to bring something a little different to the family hatchback class. Jonathan crouch takes a look.
ŠKODA is getting serious about SUVs and the core of the company's Crossover range is found with this mid-sized Qashqai-class Karoq model. It gets all the latest Volkswagen Group engineering, now including the brand's latest TDI technology, plus there's a hi-tech MQB chassis and cutting-edge safety and infotainment features. Everything in fact, that you'd want from a modern family-sized SUV of this kind.
True, some of the rivals it has to face are larger, more hi-tech or more efficient. Most of them are pricier too though and it's that very affordability that'll keep this ŠKODA in the frame for customers who want a more interesting and flexible alternative to yet another Qashqai clone in this class. It's a car that transcends lifestyle snobbery. A family car that doesn't shout 'family'. And a Crossover you could be genuinely pleased to own.
ŠKODA joins the segment for small, trendy SUVs with this car, the Kamiq. Jonathan Crouch takes a look.
A ŠKODA Octavia was once the least sophisticated of all the Volkswagen Group's family hatchback products. Not any more. Almost nothing has been held back for this third generation version, which now features a hi-tech 1.0-litre TSI entry-level petrol engine, the option of adaptive damping further up the range and more sophisticated optional smartphone connectivity.
The two bodystyles - hatch and estate - both feature smarter styling and are mated with TSI petrol or TDI diesel power. Petrol-wise, the range now starts with a clever 115PS three cylinder unit in the case of the entry-level version. Above that sits a 150PS 1.5 TSI derivative or a 2.0 TSI vRS variant offering 245PS. Diesel drivers choose between 1.6 or 2.0-litre TDI units and there's the choice of eight main trim levels - S, SE, SE Drive, SE L, Sportline, Laurin & Klement, Scout and vRS. 4WD is an option with the 2.0 TDI engine.
This more conventional Rapid Spaceback model was a much easier sell for ŠKODA than the ordinary Rapid model. Although its angular shape is distinctly different from that of, say, an equivalent Focus or Astra, customers can clearly see that those kinds of rivals offer direct competition. People like what they know - and they know what they like.
So will used buyers in the family hatch segment previously foreign to the ŠKODA brand be won over by this car? Possibly. It won't suit those always yearning for a spirited drive but otherwise, its list of attributes ought to be enough to earn a place on your family hatchback shortlist. After all, this car's more affordable than most of its rivals - and more spacious too. Plus it's well built, acceptably efficient - and really quite stylish too, if you stretch to the extra-cost Style Pack with its smart, extended panoramic glass roof.
Think of it as a much more affordable take on something like an Audi A3 Sportback and you'll probably have summed up for yourself what this car's really all about. Younger buyers will like that. So will older ones. Both groups then, have reason to try a ŠKODA. Just as the brand intended.
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