Clarkson on Skodas - Cardew
There have been a lot of posts in the Backroom extolling the virtues of Skodas - how they are much better value etc than the VW equivalent model etc.

Well in the Sunday Times today Clarkson did a real demolition job on Skodas in general and the Superb in particular. Even allowing for his tongue in cheek comments, he was mightily unimpressed. He assessed the build quality as on a par with a Fiat and the quality of the materials as a "notch or two down on VW or Audi"

He summed up "But no matter how many times we're told differently. Skoda is still the crappiest badge that money can buy. Telling people you have one marks you out as someone with no style at all"

Fair comment?
Rubbish?
Has Clarkson gone too far?
Clarkson on Skodas - Marcus
In past years we have hardly had objective reviews from motoring hacks. It is therefore refreshing that we have motoring journalist who speaks his mind and is not compromised by fear of losing advertising for whomever he writes for. Or worried about missing out on all expenses paid junkets to exotic locations.

To be fair to Clarkson his main criticism today was that Skodas are not as well built as Volkswagens. I looked at the new Fabia for SWMBO and was frankly not impressed, it didn't appear to me to have the same quality as the Polo or Golf.

As for badge snobbery. Well if they can afford it people will buy Tissot watches instead of Timex, a Sony TV in preference to Samsung and Louis Vuitton luggage. Like it or not image and style counts for a lot of people; as does perceived value.

I cannot think why VW bought Skoda and then started to build down market versions of their own saloons, particularly with the reputation Skoda had earned. Especially as they are not that much cheaper and will depreciate faster.

They would have been better to follow the example of BMW whose reputation had fallen in the early 1960's and were reduced to making bubble cars. They overcame this by building the 1600/2002 and carving a niche for the firm and then building on it with a series of sporting saloons.
Clarkson on Skodas - bernie
"Not as well built as Volkswagens "

Is it not strange then that Skoda always beat VW in reliability polls and Skoda customer satisfaction is above VW's, cars and dealerships both !
Clarkson on Skodas - Humpy
That's not an objective test, seeing as you're assuming people had the same expectations when they both their cars. It could be that people expect a high standard when they buy VWs so they don't rave about them when they fulfill those expectations. On the other hand skoda buyers may be frankly relieved that the car hasn't let them down and rave about them in the surveys. They may also boast about them seeing as they may have been a bit sheepish about having bought them in the first place.
Clarkson on Skodas - Humpy
...when they bought their cars...
Clarkson on Skodas - Marcus
Bernie,
No I don't really think it is strange. The factors affecting reliability are mechanical and these are largely the same as VW. It is the assembly and quality of materials that Clarkson felt were of a lower standard.

Many people are defensive when buying something with a poor, image and Polls and Customer satisfaction surveys are always subject to the 'Mandy Rice-Davies' factor - see the thread on Alfas.

My point was that we have an influential journalist who states what he thinks. Of course he may be wrong, but then he may be right. I suspect he drives a lot more cars than you and I.

Marcus
Clarkson on Skodas - M.M
Humpy is right, owners are notoriously unreliable in reporting on their cars.

One car I look after (worth about £1000) has needed over £600 in repairs over and above tyres/servicing/MOTs for each of the last two years.

Yet the owner reports to any enquirer that it has been completely reliable and cost him almost nothing to run, he loves it! To many purchasers of a car in such a price range this level of repairs would be a disaster.

MM
Clarkson on Skodas - Big John
Even though I own a Skoda Octavia I agree with HJ regarding the Fabia the dash looks eastern block and the interior trim seems cheap. The engines are quite good except for the horrible 1.4 8v which is based on the original pushrod Skoda engine (unreliable, noisy and thirsty - dont beleive the official mpg). This should not be confused with the 1.4 16V engine which is VW's own and is much better. Whenever I get a Fabia as a loan car I find it a bit of a noisy buzz box in comparison and I hate the brakes!

I felt the Octavia was an excellent car being very comfortable, quiet and reliable with a much nicer dash (cross between Golf and Passat). This family sized car (528 litre hatch) only cost 9K!, the cheapest Bora at the time was 14K+. If was buying new today I would look at those cheap petrol Passats on offer,Bargin!



Clarkson on Skodas - Bromptonaut
My point was that we have an influential journalist who states
what he thinks. Of course he may be wrong, but then
he may be right. I suspect he drives a lot more
cars than you and I.
Marcus


My problem with him is that he takes what he thinks, in the sense of what comes into his head, and then tells us the bits that are most appealing to our prejudices. When can we have a motoring programme based on objective tests and not just grabbing the ratings.

IMHO the best presenters on TG were Chris Goffey and william Woollard.
Clarkson on Skodas - Marcus
Simon,

"IMHO the best presenters on TG were Chris Goffey and william Woollard."

I agree!! Sadly they were from another era.

But the review by Clarkson was in the Sunday Times not Top Gear and he gave good solid reasons why he thought Skoda were not as good as VW. The bit about the Skoda image and our prejudices, however unpalatable to some, also rings true.

Clarkson's style can irritate and he clearly sets out to be controversial. Still I can put up with that to get a objectively critical review, rather than the sugary pap trotted out by some hacks and then reproduced in the manufacturer's advertising blurb.

Marcus
Clarkson on Skodas - Imd
I couldn't agree less. Clarkson is just an appalling (but funny) badge junky - one of a dying breed who think image more important than reality.

For a start, all VAG Skodas keep their value very well. Just look at the stats! That's because they give real quality at a good (not cheap) price, and they consistently score better in reliability and consumer service comparisons too.

Top Gear is usually just comic-book juvenile car journalism -Who cares if a particular car can perform gymnastics at the cornering limit at the rate of one set of tyres per smoking circuit?

Top Gear makes me sad when I compare it to the serious and intelligent car programmes which several German satellite channels put out for people like me who want to know about cars and technology.

Jeremy needs to give us more facts and fewer opinions, and get behind the badge to the metal!

Regards, Ian
Clarkson on Skodas - mikesec
Punto,Yaris,206,Ibiza,Fiesta,Polo,Jazz,Fabia & C3.
Punto,Yaris & Jazz had appallingly harsh rides which completely overshadowed their other qualities.
The 206 sells in bucket loads but Peugeot still haven't fixed the terrible seating/steering position.
The Fiesta is under specified - normal goodies are all optional extras & the interior is bland as was the Ibiza.
The C3 had loads of kit and very smooth diesels. But no space in the back & flimsy build quality - an interior panel fell off in my hand in the showroom.
The Polo looked the part until I experienced a couldn't care less attitude from 2 different dealers. No Sir, even if you do want to spend over £10,000 we can't let you have a demo car for a unaccompanied test for an afternoon.
So I bought a Skoda Fabia TDI - Economical, goes like stink, reasonably comfortable, well equipped, not much interior storage but first rate local dealer. A compromise that suits me.
So don't get beguiled by Clarkson or even HJ. They have their own preferences. Get out there & test them yourself. It's your money!
Clarkson on Skodas - TrevorP
An attitude (and conclusion to same decision) that closely resembles mine.

I really cannot understand the Honda Jazz (fine car that it is in many other ways) with it's POOR ride being so popular with pensioners.
Is it the dreadful "I have had 4 Hondas, and they are wonderful" ?
Clarkson on Skodas - peterb
I've had a soft spot for Jezza since he told the truth about oversteer.

He pointed out that motoring journos like cars where the back can be made to step-out by lifting off in mid corner. This is amusing in the right sort of conditions and looks good on magazine covers. If a car is a real handful, then the journalist may mention the tail happy-ness but will reassure readers that this is "laughably easy to catch".

However, as JC pointed out, most of us, on coming round a corner and finding a tractor in the middle of the road, would instinctively lift off. In these circs, it's easier all round if the back end continues to go in the same direction as the front*.


peter

* Of course it's better not to go round the blind corner too fast in the first place!
Clarkson on Skodas - Toad, of Toad Hall.
I've had a soft spot for Jezza since he told the
truth about oversteer.


Maybe that why he hates skodas - lack of understeer - my rear engined Estelle would not understeer. I honestly think it cornered beter than any front engined car I've been in.
--
These are my own opinions, and not necessarily those of all Toads.
Clarkson on Skodas - DavidHM
I like the Jazz but, having never driven one, I can't comment on the ride.

It strikes me as a wonderful second car for a mother with young children though, as it's extremely practical for all the kids' paraphenalia.

Even so, pensioners? I thought that's why they made the Skoda Fabia saloon :-)
Clarkson on Skodas - Lancia
The Jazz is picking up so much comments on this site ? I am due to pick up an SE Sport on Monday after much hunting around to try and source one at a good price, looked at importing, glad I didn't, nearly bought one in April, glad I didn't as I would probably have had a 2002 model (even harder ride). The main reason for a Jazz is exactly a DavidHm says "wonderful second car for a mother with young children though". I tested one when they first came out and after 50meters of exiting the car park I turned around to SWMBO and said "the ride is a little firm". I then managed to arrange one for a day and found it to be a great little or is that big car and the ride, I can live with but I will not the main driver. I will still continue to run around in the old banger 1.4d citroen AX but when it die's definately not another French car. Mind you that C2 sport looks nice on seconds thought NO MORE FRENCH. Anyway will let you know how the Jazz performs as we are due to take it on a long journey within a few weeks.
Clarkson on Skodas - THe Growler
I was watching Top Gear out here last night. I have always found Jeremy Clarkson a stultifying self-opinionated boor and continue to do so. I'd buy what I wanted not something which I would be afraid to be seen in because some minor TV personality didn't thionk much of it.
Clarkson on Skodas - RickyBoy
Ha, the opportunity of a lifetime...

Clarkson is an amiable pink fluffy dice. He has an \'image\' to live up to/maintain and yes, if you\'re able to borrow an Aston Martin for the weekend then I suppose the Skoda is a marque too low?

As regards the ordinary \'person\' in the street... I ran an Octavia SLX for 5 years. I would NEVER have looked at Skodas before the introduction of the Octavia. Needless to say I was well impressed and apart from tyre wear \'n\' tear, one broken electric windo motor and general servicing costs it NEVER let me down apart from complete battery failure two weeks before I sold it!

I\'ve just upgraded to the vRS and for me it is THE DOG\'S! Different strokes for different folks \'n\' all but it really does give me a \'semi\' every time I draw back the blinds in the morning. I\'m 52, most definitely NOT a boy-racer (although it \'floated\' down the M1 @ 100 yesterday evening) and I\'m as happy as Larry with it. I got over a grand off list, a more than decent trade-in (last week in June negotiations) and 0% finance – so when all\'s said and done, for around £200 a month, I feel I\'ve got myself a damn fine motor. Jeez, I even bought some AutoGlym shampoo the other week so I must be smitten!

I\'ve driven a Fabia (too small) and sat in a Superb (too big). I drive past VW and Mercedes HQ\'s twice a day here in MK so can\'t fail to notice lots of the latest enviable \'metal\'. Badge snobbery? Bring it on...
Clarkson on Skodas - AlanGowdy
Wise up everyone - Clarkson\'s a clever pink fluffy dice who says things he knows will be contentious at just about every opportunity. Ignore him and with a bit of luck he\'ll eventually go away.
Clarkson on Skodas - harry m
i will second that.
Clarkson on Skodas - apm
If the build quality and longevity of Skoda's ever crosses your mind as an issue, just look at any cab rank in any big city these days. Seem to be at least 50% Octavias. Have asked most of the drivers I've been ferried by and they swear by the car.
I considered a vRS, but went for the Leon Cupra instead- I don't need the extra space, and I like the look of the new style Cupra. My decision wasn't based on the Skoda badge!
On a slight tangent, there's been a thread about badge snobbery on the Seat owners' forum: conclusion seems to be that non-petrolheads feel that the Leon is the 'poor-man's golf', while petrolheads feel it's the 'thinking-man's golf.

What do you lot reckon??

Alex.
Clarkson on Skodas - Kuang
I think people should believe a little less of what they read ;)

It's the old 'engage brain before putting mouth into gear situation' - I doubt any of the critics OR advocates have actually driven both cars enough to form a sound opinion.

Personally I think the Leon and the Octavia and both fantastic cars for the money - I haven't had a great deal of personal experience of either, but I think the Leon is far better looking than the Mk4 Golf (and infinitely nicer that the shots I've seen of the Mk5) and the Octavia packs a surprising amount of quality kit in and offers a shedload of space for not very much money at all.

Then again, I approach cars the same as I approach guitars - you play with it for a while, see how it fits, work out where the sweet spots are and see if you click with it - at no point do you give a toss about the name printed on it, or you may miss out on a little gem.

*looks over at the Sunn Mustang Strat, which looks and sounds the spitting image of a pre CBS Strat, and cost £30...* :)

 

Value my car