This old Skoda is reliable, cheap and easy to maintain
The first owner of this Skoda had clocked up 100,000 Km. He then let the car stand in a field on his country property for two years (possibly longer). It arrived at the local second hand dealer months ago as a trader in. I found it where it had been standing, unwanted and banished to the darkest corner at the rear of the lot. The dealer was asking 250 euros. I paid 200.
A new battery had been installed, but had since lost it's charge. With an electric boost, the engine turned over four times, then started. I had not expected this. Perhaps it was the smell of mildew and that hideous moldy mat-green color which put me off.
This being my first car, I was trying hard to look past the leaves and straw that had blown in and were scattered all over the engine and seating compartments.
What I saw was under the hood was simple, if utilitarian. I've been driving and maintaining an old BMW Boxer motorcycle for the past ten years. Looking at the Skoda engine I recognized a familiar, open design. Everything is visible and within reach, there are no complicated (and costly) electronic components, just straight-forward workable engineering.
Unfortunately, the inside of the seating compartment negates all these good vibes. Many of the plastic rivets holding the paneling in place are broken. Consequently, the paneling is peeling off. Plastic housings for just about everything are broken, including seat adjuster components. The clock does not keep time. The steering wheel squeaks. The windows roll only three quarters of the way down and the driver's side door locks only from the inside.
The silencer had fallen off the rear end of the exhaust pipe and the exhaust systems' rubber suspenders had disintegrated leaving the pipe to rest on the rear axle. The exterior of the rear right hand wheel hub is corroded, as are all the break lines.
Starts first time, every time.
It is a little noisy on the motorway, but sails along smoothly enough.
First gear and reverse tend not to engage fully, but always do if care is taken. In second and third gear the acceleration is reasonable enough to make this a fun car to drive. During the test drive, I got this machine moving at 130 Km/h in fourth gear, and slowly crept up to 140 Km/h in fifth gear.
To certify this Skoda as roadworthy I need only replace the break lines, exhaust silencer and the bulb which illuminates the license plate. However, I have also renewed the basics: oil and air filters, engine lubricant and coolant, gear box lubricant and spark plugs.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 26th June, 2004