Good value package, but the performance of 16v engine is balanced by high oil consumption
Bought at 102,000 for £1000.
102,000 - Rear wiper wash didn't work upon purchase - refitted hose in engine bay to fix.
103,000 - Shortly after purchasing this car, I noticed quite high oil consumption - Research on briskoda forums pointed to piston ring (s) failure or blocked breather system. I cleaned the breather system, which didn't improve the oil consumption. I suspect the piston rings are worn causing blow by of combustion gasses, as new oil quickly blackens within a couple of hundred miles.
105,500 miles - Both front springs snapped within 500 miles of each other.
105,500 - Rear doors leaking water into footwells, and bulkhead leaking rain water due to blocked drain holes - easy fix. Removed door cards and siliconed around door carriers - problem solved.
106,000 - Noticed blue smoke on startup when the engine was revved - suspect valve stem oil seals (x16)
107,000 miles - Ball joint replaced at MOT.
107,000 miles - Track rod ends split.
This is my first experience of a Skoda vehicle; coming from an ancient Peugeot 205, the build quality and comfort of this car give a much more modern feel.
It is easy to feel the influence of the VW group in this car, as many parts including switchgear, suspension and engines are shared with other models, including the similar Polo. It has a 4 star EuroNcap rating, driver and passenger airbags seatbelt pre-tensioners side impact bars within the doors, traction control and ABS.
The driving experience reminds me very much of the Mk3 Golf. The suspension is quite soft as is common to other VAG cars - It's almost a magic carpet over the potholes around my area - feels slightly under-damped, but doesn't wallow through the corners.
The 16v model has ventilated disc brakes all round, which stop the car well. This is my first car with ABS, and I am impressed with the safety it provides once you've got used to the pulsing pedal feel.
The car feels roughly a similar size to the Mk3 Golf, although visibility is slightly less out of the back, and visibility is not so great around the thick front pillars. The boot is a good size, and 5 doors improves practicality.
The interior is quite grey compared to some of its rivals, but it is spacious for a small car and well constructed, having 5 good sized doors and ample leg room in the back. Height adjusting drivers seat is a bonus on my comfort spec model. So far, there are minimal trim rattles.
The handling of this car is much better than my previous Mk3 Golf, as it has an anti roll bar in the front suspension, which reduces body roll when entering corners.
Concerning the engine - this is somewhat a mixed message. I was delighted to have the 1.4 16v AUB engine with 100bhp instead of the other 1.4 MPI boat anchor, but have since learned that it is fragile.
High oil consumption appears to be a symptom of prematurely worn piston rings in this particular engine, which is disappointing considering the great performance. I would expect better from VW engines.
I can get through 1L in about 5-600 miles. Thicker oil can be used, but this reduces fuel consumption.
The characteristics of the engine require it to be revved highly to extract maximum power - this is probably not suitable for all drivers. The engine revs very freely above 4500rpm to the limiter. The flip side of this is that there is very little power available around 1000-2500rpm.
Motorway driving is reasonable; although the engine revs highly, it is well insulated and doesn't get too noisy - it's at its best revving highly. With light throttle, it is possible to get 55mpg average reading on the trip computer.
Using standard 95ron fuel, flooring the throttle at low revs/high load produces a pinking sound, although this doesn't spoil the overall drive.
Overall, I'm happy with this car, considering I paid only £1000 for it. I will have to live with the oil consumption and consider it a trade off for the 100bhp performance of this small 1.4 engine.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 25th October, 2010