Tag Archives: Skoda

2018 Skoda Superb Laurin & Klement – Irish New Car Review

Anyone who is into 70’s, 80’s and 90’s classics and modern classics will find it hard not to be intrigued by trim lines. Yes, hear me out. We see Ford Cortinas, Mitsubishi Galants and Saab 9000’s around Ireland and find them fascinating with their corduroy cloth seats and simple, but at the time, futuristic features. Embracing them in all their period-correct glory. But we have been missing out on these “prestige” models of everyday cars in recent years. However, Skoda have kept with it and have achieved the ultimate luxury executive car replacement, the 2018 Skoda Superb Laurin & Klement.

2018 Skoda Superb Laurin & Klement

Laurin and Klement, or L&K, was an auto, motorbike and bike manufacturer founded in 1895 in the Czech Republic. Today, L&K is Skoda’s top spec trim on the Octavia and Superb. As for the Skoda Superb, it adds driver select mode with adaptive suspension, rear heated seats, electronically opening and closing boot lid and ambient lighting. This mightn’t sound like it is worth the €43,895 price tag the 2018 Superb L&K commands but it would be hard to get this value for money from its competition.

It’s all on the interior

I’m a sucker for brown leather. It makes any car 100 times better, in my opinion. The Superb is no exception, especially combined with Candy White paintwork on the outside. The Comfort seats impressed me from the moment I slouched into them when I collected the car. I drove a Skoda Superb Sportline and Volkswagen Arteon back-to-back a couple of months ago. This resulted in the Superb winning. But what impressed me most, other than the 1,100km range on one tank of diesel, was the comfort of the saloon on the motorway. So considering the Sportline has firmer suspension, you can only imagine how much more serene my hours spent on the M7 were this time round. Two round trips from Dublin to Limerick and back were helped eased by the 9.2-inch Columbus Infotainment-capable Apple CarPlay and Android Auto System.I must admit, I pulled the short straw everytime it came to driving the Superb. I would much rather have spent the time lounged in the rear, stretching my legs out in front of me. The 2018 Skoda Superb does space so well. Although I’ve driven almost every variant of the Superb at this stage, for some reason the Superb L&K felt a lot larger. This was evident when parking and negotiating tight streets and lanes.The same 2.0TDI 150hp lump that I drove in the Sportline and Arteon was in the L&K. Although, just because of what the L&K is, I would spec mine with either the 190hp version of the 2.0TDI or the 2.0TSI 280hp, also found in the Superb Sportline. I noticed a slight lack of power in the 150hp when pulling away from toll booths on the motorway and overtaking. However you can’t argue with the 6.3l/100km (45MPG) over 1,110km. Having the 7-speed DSG may have compromised this.A simple question to ask would be is the executive car dead? Definitely not, no. The Audi A4 and 2018 Audi A6 are very good offerings from the brand, as is the 2018 Mercedes E-Class. But, while the 2018 Skoda Superb Laurin and Klement might be not be as elegant in every way as these, it’s people like me who would rather one over the E-Class or A4. I don’t go for a certain brand, I go for value for money and, boy, does the Skoda Superb L&K offer that.

2018 Volkswagen Arteon vs. 2018 Skoda Superb – Twin Test Review

Back in 2016 when I drove my first Skoda Superb in Ireland, the Superb L&K, I thought Volkswagen had shot themselves in the foot with it. It was far superior than the Passat, and still is for that matter. However, is it better than the Volkswagen Passat CC’s replacement, the 2018 Volkswagen Arteon? I conduct a twin test on Irish roads between the Skoda Superb and Volkswagen Arteon to find out.I start on the most obvious point and that goes to the Arteon. The sheer beauty of this four door coupe is not to be overlooked. Volkswagen really worked their magic with its smooth, elegant and swooping lines. The elongated saloon almost pays homage to the Volkswagen Karmann Ghia of the 50’s. Especially painted in, one of my favourite colours on modern Volkswagens, Turmeric Yellow. It really makes this five seater saloon pop.As for the Skoda, the Superb is the Czech Republican company’s Flagship model. The lights are more angular, front and rear. In this Sportline trim, it gets black accents throughout; a subtle lip spoiler, the door surrounds, the grill and 19-inch alloys. What the Superb doesn’t have though, that the Arteon does, are frameless windows. This feature gives the Arteon’s already elegant design more suppleness and classiness. Although, pairing the Moon White Metallic paint of the Superb to the black trim details, it really stands out in Sportline trim. Enough to put it on par with the Arteon.Moving inside, both cars are alike. Both cars get similar tech, similar comfort features and similar novelties. But the Skoda takes the biscuit this time. The Superb now has an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Skoda Connect, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This is a Volkswagen unit so unsurprisingly, the Arteon also has the same system. But while the Skoda didn’t have Sat Nav on the infotainment, the Arteon did. This seemed quite pointless to me. This was because each time I got into the Arteon I connected straight to Android Auto, which has Google Maps.Although the Superb had adaptive Cruise Control, the Arteon had this and predictive speed control. This is self-explanatory. The car recognises speed zones while connected to adaptive cruise control and adjusts the car’s speed to that zone. This might seem convenient going from an 80km/h to a 100km/h zone without having to touch the steering wheel controls, it would also be convenient if the system actually worked as it should. When travelling along the motorway, the system would regularly pick up the 50km/h speed zones on the slip roads and begin harshly brake. This is not good when you are travelling at 100km/h and the cars in your review mirror get frighteningly closer. I didn’t see the advantage of the Arteon’s extra tech for the extra price, I am sticking with the Superb for the moment.As for space and comfort, both saloons are comfortable. Nothing has changed for the Superb’s excellent rear passenger leg room and the Arteon has taken this on board. The Arteon’s sloping roof takes a small hit on taller rear passengers compared to the Superb but really isn’t all that noticeable.As you might have grasped before even starting to read this new car review, the Skoda Superb and Volkswagen Arteon drive very much the same. I covered 1,100km behind the wheel of the Superb and 670km in the Arteon. Both were predominantly motorway kilometres so I got to put the 2.0 TDI 150hp diesel engines in their natural environments. I was very impressed by the Skoda Superb’s average fuel economy of 5.5l/100km, even though it is missing 1 gear on the DSG compared to the Arteon. The 7-speed DSG mated to the Arteon helped return an average of 6.1l/100km.

Both test cars I had were optioned up with 19-inch alloys giving both cars loud-ish cabins while on the move. I say “ish” because it wasn’t so loud that I couldn’t have a conversation with my passengers.Up to now, both cars seem to be on par with each other, in my books. So in this case, it all comes down to price. The Skoda Superb range starts from €28,150 with the Sportline starting at €36,500. The Arteon starts from €38,270, with R-Line starting at €43,270. Both cars optioned up cost €43,908 and €53,553, respectively. Particularly with both of these cars, I couldn’t justify spending the extra €10,000 on the Arteon. As standard on Skoda Superb Sportline, buyers get the 8-inch infotainment system, 19-inch alloys, Alcantara sports seats and driving mode selector (Eco, Comfort, Sport and Individual). As for the Volkswagen Arteon R-Line, it gets predictive cruise control, the 8-inch infotainment system, 19-inch alloys and high beam headlight control.So really it comes down to whether you want to spend the extra money on a re-bodied Volkswagen Passat or the Skoda Superb. Yes, the Superb is based off the Passat but the interior is different. Sitting inside the Passat and Arteon you don’t notice a difference. It doesn’t feel as special. And frankly, this means a lot. Besides, you’ll be spending most of your time behind the wheel. Based on this, I’ll have the “Made for Ireland” Skoda Superb Sportline.

Skoda Superb Sportline

Skoda Superb Sportline – Review

It’s no secret that the Irish love a good hatchback or saloon. The Volkswagen Passat is one that is a popular choice. But in recent years, the Skoda Superb has been winning customers over, and too right! But the Skoda Superb Sportline has the potential to be the best sleeper in it’s class.

dsc_0032-min

A Few Facts:
Model Tested: Skoda Superb Sportline
Engine: 2.0TSI Petrol – 280hp and 350Nm
Transmission: 7-Speed DSG Automatic, four-wheel drive.
Price: Prices for the Superb range start at €27,500. Price as tested – €50,156.

dsc_0006-min

I’ve always said it, and I have no shame in admitting it either, but the Skoda Superb is miles ahead of the Volkswagen Passat. In terms of styling, practicality and value for money. This leads me to the love of the Skoda brand. Skoda will do the weird and wacky stuff, along with SEAT, that Volkswagen feels it cannot afford to do. The Superb Sportline is one of these. Who ever thought putting a 280hp 2.0TSI in a family saloon would be a good idea only Skoda? Well, for Ireland anyway. The same engine variant is available in the Passat in other countries.  The Superb Sportline is what Nissan and Toyota used to do with their V6s, only the Superb is actually quite “sporty”.

Styling

However, other than the oddball Dragan Skin Yellow Metallic paintwork, which I dig much like that of the VW Up!, the Superb Sportline would make the ultimate sleeper. But more on that later.

dsc_0047-min

The Superb Sportline, similarly with the regular Superb, is a lengthy, elegant looking family saloon that happens to be effortlessly classy. The whole car measures 4.9m in length and 1.9m in width. This is almost on par with the Passat, but the way it is proportioned, it looks much more elongated.

Interior

Inside, not much differs from a regular Superb. It oodles alcantara and the black headliner is a generous touch. As for rear space, I could rant and rave on it for days on end but that would just be boring. Lets just say, the Skoda could give a  BMW 7-Series a run for its money.

dsc_0058-min

However, I did find the driving position to be awkwardly high. I forever found myself adjusting the driver’s seat position trying to find a lower position. It feels like you are sitting on the car rather than in it.

On The Road

To start, if someone was to ask me to explain the Superb Sportline in one word I would have to say; BRAAAP! The Skoda Superb Sportline can sing and chant all day long, or until the tank is empty, and leave you smiling every time. The four-wheel drive system, much like on the Skoda Octavia RS, is super grippy. 0-100km/h can be achieved in 5.8 seconds, which is brisk I can tell you that.

dsc_0055-min

Although the name suggests that the car is a sports one, it is not a full blown sports saloon. The suspension is wallowy and body roll plays a part when hard cornering. However, 350Nm comes in handy when taking off from the lights leaving some motorists in disbelief.

This leads me to the conclusion that the Skoda Superb Sportsline would make the ideal sleeper. It’s suspiciously quick, makes a nice sound and, with the exception of the Dragon Skin Yellow paint, looks just like a regular Skoda Superb.

dsc_0041-min

Practicality/Boot Space

Just because the Skoda Superb Sportsline has added performance does not mean practicality is compromised. Boot space equals 625l and can be expanded to 1,760l.

dsc_0083-min

Skoda being Skoda, they have added some simply clever features to the Superb Sportline. These include space for a tablet holder in the rear armrest, umbrellas in the doors and easy-open cup holders. All which can be found in the Skoda Kodiaq.

Equipment

The Skoda Superb Sportline adds Interior ambient lighting, sports seats, Gloss Black boot lip spoiler and black headliner, which makes all the difference.

dsc_0072-min

Running Costs

I will admit now that I had a bit of a heavy foot with the Superb Sportline and only managed to average 10.6l/100km. However, Skoda claims that the Sportline is capable of 7.1l/100km. However, this would be near impossible for any driver getting behind the wheel of it.

It costs €570 per year to tax down to the emissions figure of 132g/km of CO2.

Pricing

The Sportline comes in two body styles; a hatchback/saloon and estate. The Skoda Superb Sportline Estate with the 2.0TSI 280hp engine price starts from €49,050; a €1,800 premium over the saloon.

Competition

Back in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, hot saloons were very much popular with some popular examples including the Ford Mondeo ST220 and some quick variants of Peugeot’s 406 and 407.

Opel Insignia OPC – The Insignia is due an update this year so a new OPC should be on the cards. However, steer clear of the current Insignia OPC for the rate of tax alone; €2,350. If the Corsa OPC is anything to go by, it’s not worth its price tag.

Audi S4 – Although they are in different classes as eachother, the Superb and S4 are the same concept. The S4 is a recent addition to the A4 line-up, as is the Superb Sportline. However, the S4 has a starting price of €69,000. But, it does have more power on tap.

Conclusion

Spec the Sportline right and you will have yourself one of the ultimate sleepers on the road. Spec it in Dragan Skin Yellow and you will have yourself one of the most respected cars on the road. Either way, you will defintely not have made the wrong choice. If you are to take one quote away from this review, let it be; “Brap” (Skoda Superb Sportline, 2017)

dsc_0006-min

Skoda Kodiaq Ireland

Skoda Kodiaq – Review

The Skoda Kodiaq is Skoda’s first attempt at a 7 seater SUV. Skoda has launched the car into Ireland with a starting price of €28,795. I have put the 2.0TDI 190hp 4×4 DSG variant through its paces. Will Skoda do well with the Kodiaq in Ireland?

A Few Facts:
Model Tested: Skoda Kodiaq
Engine: 2.0TDI diesel, 190hp and 400Nm.
Transmission: 7-Speed DSG automatic, four-wheel drive.
Price: Prices start at €28,795 for the Polo range. Price as tested – €46,545.

dsc_0001-min

Czech Republican Crystal No Less

The designers at Skoda got their muse for the Kodiaq from Bohemian Crystal, a renowned glass art of the Czech Republic. This motif can be seen throughout the car but namely the front and rear lights. The Front lights blend into the grill giving a muscular shape. The rear lights have the triangular silhouettes building up inside the reflectors.dsc_0055-min

Overall, the SUV looks like it was built in two halves due to the styling crease going the whole way around it. The Bohemian Crystal motif is also present on the 19-inch “Triglav” alloy wheels. The Skoda measures in at 4.8m long and 1.9m wide, it is seriously big for its class.

dsc_0022-min

 

The Interior is typical Skoda. The test car I had was equipped with the Style trim level, which is the highest currently on offer in Ireland. You mould yourself into half leather/half alcantara sports seats. You grip a leather, almost D-shaped steering wheel. The vastness of the Kodiaq is noticeable before you even set off on your journey. The 8-inch touch screen infotainment is placed dead centre on the centre console so the reach to the far side of the screen is quite long.

dsc_0079-min

The space on offer is something to be praised, however. With the driver’s seat in my driving position, a 6-foot human, I managed to adjust the middle row seat to a comfortable position for me. On top of that, another, smaller than 6-foot, adult could sit in the most rear.

Out of the Woods and onto the Road; this Kodiaq cannot be Tamed

The Skoda Kodiaq is available with a 1.4TSI petrol and 2.0TDI diesel in Ireland, with my test car being the 2.0TDI 190hp mated to a 7-speed DSG automatic. The 190hp engine is more than enough power to shift all of this 1,795kg Czech SUV along. Although the 7-speed isn’t as snappy as I would like it to be. Although, it is sufficient for the kind of driving that the Kodiaq is meant for.

On the road is where the Kodiaq’s sheer size really becomes a disadvantage. As expected from a 1.6m high SUV, the Skoda Kodiaq certainly has body roll present when entering and leaving corners. However, with this comes comfort from the softer suspension. However, it is disconcerting looking in the rear view mirror and still seeing the back end leaving the corner while you are already sitting on the road. It is THAT long!

dsc_0042-min

Comparing to its competitors though, mainly the Nissan X-Trail, the Skoda Kodiaq is miles ahead. The manual gearbox in the Kodiaq shifts so much smoother than that of the X-Trail. The cabin is much quieter while on the road than the Nissan, although some wind noise can be heard from around the wing mirrors while at motorway speeds in the Kodiaq. However, overall this SUV feels much better built than its Japanese rival. The quality that is lacking in the X-Trail can be clearly found in the Kodiaq.

Simply Clever

Skoda’s motto is “Simply Clever”. Most Skodas have small unique features that give it a personal touch. The Skoda Kodiaq is definitely not lacking here. Firstly, when you open the door, retractable protectors pop out to save you damaging the door off a wall, for example. Ireland being Ireland, it rains almost 100% of the time. No problem, Skoda have taken a page from Rolls-Royce’s book and added umbrellas into the doors. Have a twist-cap bottle and only one hand to open it? No problem, just push down on the bottle in the cup-holder and it can be opened with one hand. Inside the fuel filler cap door is an ice scrapper and magnifying glass, if you’ll ever need one. All these features are, well, Simply Clever.

kodiaq-min

With these features aside, the 5-seater Skoda Kodiaq has 720l of boot space on offer which can be expanded to 2,065l. In the 7-seater Kodiaq, this is decreased to 660l/2,005l with the most rear seats collapsed and 270l with them in place.

What Equipment is on Offer?

In its most basic form, Active trim level, the Kodiaq comes with cruise control, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, 17-inch alloys and Skoda Connect, including an emergency call system. Skipping the middle trim level, Ambition, and jumping to the highest level, Style, the Kodiaq continues to appeal. Style adds 19-inch Alloys, 4G LTE sim card slot for WiFi services, rear view camera and ambient interior lighting. However, surprising from a Volkswagen Group product, it doesn’t offer adaptive cruise control as standard with any of the trim levels.

dsc_0052-min

She Diesel?

I spent my week mostly doing suburban commuting but some motorway driving was involved too. I averaged 7.0l/100km. This is some way off the 5.7l/100km that Skoda claims is achievable.

Prices

Pricing for the Skoda Kodiaq starts at €28,795. My test car, specced in Style with options, was priced at €46,545.

What Else is on Offer?

In recent years, the SUV segment has become quite a prominent one in Ireland. Naturally, this means competition for the Kodiaq is plentiful with rivals such as the Hyundai Sante Fe and Kia Sorento. However, other competitors include;

Nissan X-Trail – There is no doubt that the X-Trail is popular amongst Irish motorists, even though I can’t see the appeal. Although the X-Trail is more spec-heavy in its highest trim level, the overall quality of the Kodiaq is much better.

Mazda CX-5 – In my opinion, Mazda’s KODO design is right on point at the moment. Every one of its cars, with maybe the exception of the clown shoe-like Mazda3, looks really good and spec is generous. A new Mazda CX-5 is on the way to Irish shores this year too so it could be a serious competitor for the Kodiaq. However presently, there is no 7-seater option.

dsc_0094-min

Would I Buy One?

Overall, the Skoda Kodiaq was most definitely worth the wait. It is practical, looks good and is affordable. I’m a 22 year old soon-to-be full blown adult and have no desire to own something that can fit the whole family. But, the Skoda Kodiaq is something I could live with, for sure.

What is Next for Skoda?

Skoda are trying to break into the American market. They have registered the trademark there but have yet to hint any signs to the public. Until now, the Kodiaq may well be the first glimpse that the USA will see of what Skoda have coming for them. Consider yourselves lucky, America; she’s a good ‘un!