Friday, February 13, 2009

Goodbye to the Skoda, hallo to the bus: the thaw begins

This video most certainly does not show me abusing the car I've had on rental for the past three days. However,I can unreservedly recommend the Skoda Octavia 4x4 Tdi. It was absolutely brilliant in all the snow conditions I encountered, from two-foot deep drifts to packed, icy surfaces. Why has nobody told me about this thing?

The four wheel drive system is permanently engaged, so there are no diff locks, lower ratio levers or other fiddly bits. Instead, something computer-controlled called a Haldex Clutch electronically senses how much power to send to which wheel. So on dry tarmac, as much as 90 per cent of your traction may be at the front. In dire straits, it can send 85 per cent to a single wheel. It's the same system as found on Audi Quattros and TTs. Not to mention VWs.

But then Skoda is owned by VW, and the Czech factory is reputed to have the highest standards of any in the group. No surprise, really. Long, long before the name 'Skoda' became a joke, Czech technology was allegedly ripped off by Dr Ferdinand Porsche to produce the original Beetle and Porsche designs.

Classic VW interior, reeking of quality. Incredibly boring bodywork. I've been told that adding Vredestein SnowTrac winter tyres turns the Octavia 4x4 into the perfect Shetland car, and I can see no reason to disagree.

Anyway, back it went to the hire company as the snow at last started to retreat. And so it was the bus back home tonight. I've been warned that the snow's coming back just in time for the Northmavine Up Helly Aa next Friday. Och well. Grand old vikings and all that...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello Tom,

nice to hear that you were satisfied with performance of Octavia 4x4 Tdi :-).

Petr (your fan from Czech Republic)