The Skoda Karoq, set to replace the much-loved and highly versatile Yeti, is due to arrive in Irish dealerships in early December according to Skoda Ireland. The five-seater compact SUV, essentially a smaller version of the new Kodiaq, will be officially unveiled at the Frankfurt International Motor Show next month.
For those who work Monday to Friday, 9-5, hunting for a new car can be a difficult. As most dealerships are closed on Sundays, and finish early on Saturdays, the window for finding your next set of wheels can be a little small.
Skoda, however, has opened its first digital showroom, allowing people to view cars from the comfort of their couch. Currently running as a pilot project in Spanish dealerships, Skoda consultants can use video calls to speak to customers and take them through their vehicles. It’s a nifty idea – twelve stationary and four mobile cameras can show the vehicles from different perspectives both inside and out, demonstrate features or answer specific questions.
There are a few cars that have made a lasting impression over my few years of motoring reviews. The Audi R8, for obvious reasons. The outlandish electric BMW i3 and the fantastic Toyota GT86. And now the Skoda Octavia RS has joined that list.
There is the possibility that I may be a little biased when it comes to the Octavia. My first car, the car in which I learned to drive, was a Mark I Octavia, which I quickly came to appreciate for both its simplicity and its cavernous boot during my college years. And the latest Octavia RS is a great example of how much the brand has evolved.
Some people are often surprised to learn that their favourite supercar brands also produce vehicles that are more at home in a field. The first Lamborghinis, for example, were tractors, and are still manufactured today (after approaching Ferrari about a broken clutch on one of his cars, Ferruccio Lamborghini was told that as a tractor manufacturer he couldn’t know anything about sports cars, a mistake that led Lamborghini to peruse the creation of the perfect grand tourer). Then there’s Aston Martin, which was acquired by Sir David Brown, founder of a company of the same name that began manufacturing tractors with Harry Ferguson in 1936. Brown later purchased Aston Martin in 1947 and, although the two companies are no long aligned, what has become known as the ‘David Brown era’ saw the production of the famed DB series, the best known of which is probably the DB5.
Porsche falls under the same category. Their older tractors are quite rare, and quite expensive if they’re in good condition – late last year a lovingly restored 1959 Porsche Master 419 was put on sale via Done Deal for €49,500.
There’s no doubt that the design of Skoda’s ever-widening stable has come on on leaps and bounds over the years, as has the Czech car manufacturer itself. The Octavia, for example, has gone from strength to strength, not just in its build quality but also in terms of looks. The new Superb looks just that – superb, a hint of the higher-spec Audis creeping into its design.
The new Fabia is a lot like its elder brothers now, all sharp lines and strong curves, as Skoda seek to attract a more youthful buyer for their popular supermini. That’s also likely the reason behind the introduction of ColourConcept, which allows for some colour customisation of the wheels, side mirrors and the roof, a little similar to the Mini Paceman. The roof has been lowered by 3cm too, reducing its profile from awkward to more sporty, and reducing roll on the road.
April 1st is the day when many companies around the world completely misunderstand the concept of creating something fake yet believable, and instead come out with something a little ‘wacky’ and offbeat. And the auto industry is no different. Here’s a round-up of the best (or worst, depending on your view) efforts from car makers in 2015.
The tasty Audi A8
There’s no doubt that Audi Japan knows their market. Although April Fools’ Day gags aren’t generally a part of Japanese culture, they are slowly but surely creeping into life in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Audi enthusiasts in the east were teased with the announcement of a special edition A8 luxury saloon known as the 5.5, which would feature a rice cooker. Audi Japan said that the new device, which honoured the rice-eating culture in Japan, could be controlled via a special touchscreen with multiple cooking options. Customers who bought the new model on April 1st would also be greeted by a special gift in the form of an Audi-branded rice paddle.
Top notch stuff from Audi. Though we imagine there may be a few confused and disappointed customers out there.
If, by some chance, you’re in the market for a lime-green, Audi/VW-inspired saloon car, with massive alloys and a Skoda badge, you’re in luck.
That’s because Skoda have just announced their VisionC concept model, “the next stage in the development of Skoda design language” as Skoda themselves put it, in that form of English known only to marketing executives.
So far we’ve learned that it’s a five door coupé with room for four people and (unsurprising in a Skoda) plenty of space for luggage in the boot. Under the bonnet is a 1.4 TSI turbo engine with 108bhp running on either petrol or natural gas, with estimated fuel-efficiency figures of around 70mpg.