This is a little gem of a car.
We brought it from new and since then its been nothing if not reliable. After so many miles on all kinds of roads its only recently showing signs of old age. The car has never once broken down on us once in all its years, and always starts in the morning, regardless of how cold it is.
In terms of performance, it's surprisingly plucky. The amount of drivers who are left red faced at traffic lights as they get blown away by a Skoda, no, sorry, a Skoda Estate car never fails to make me smile. It is however quite a heavy car, especially with passengers, but performance is quite decent when you bear in mind that this is a big car. Once you get out onto the motorway and hit anything above 60 the car really feels the pressure, and the noise can become quite overwhelming at times, although the noise generated at 60 is no differant to that generated at 80 or 90. However, despite the high noise the car can be pushed to do 70 without problem, even up to 100 on flat roads. The car's low torque rate means that once you hit any kind of incline the affect at high speeds is noticeable.
The handling is average, avoiding under-steer quite well, however the lack of power steering is a serious blow, and at time, especially when trying to maneuver, it really feels its size, not helped by a huge steering wheel. A bit like trying to dance to Swan Lake in a 5 ton tank. However out on the road it grips the road surprisingly well for such small tyres. And performance isn't compromised in the wet either, with due care and attention of course.
Comfort and style, is probably the major setback for the Skoda. The styling for the Favorit is not a pretty sight to behold. Everything on this car is square. The general shape of the body is flat with no curves at all, the interior boasts square air vent, square buttons for the lights, square glove box, square dashboard, square indicators, the list goes on. The only things on this car that aren't square are the wheels, and I'm not too sure they didn't think about making those square either. The interior isn't pretty. Its all made from brown tacky plastic, which looks very uninviting, as do the seats. However, this was remedied recently by leather seat covers, which have improved the styling a lot. It is however quite a comfortable car whilst driving, and having made many long journeys, including a huge trip from Wolverhampton up through England and Scotland to the Orkney Islands and back, it is quite comfortable on long journeys.
Servicing has never been a problem. Our local Skoda dealer is very helpful for any questions we've had, and even knocked a substantial amount off the price when we brought the car, if we would agree to buy it in white, as he was selling every other colour, but could not sell a car in white. So no problems there.
Space in the boot is huge. My brother is disabled and I a wheelchair, hence the reason we went for an estate in the first place. The car regularly takes the wheelchair in the boot with plenty of space left over. Holidays are no problem!
Any niggles? Well, the heater does take an age to warm up, and the rear window heater doesn't work particularly effectively. But these are just minor things.
Overall, it's a beauty of a car. It will shock a lot of people, especially those who still hold prejudices against Skoda. It is a reliable, hard-working decent car, with enough performance to satisfy all except boy racers, which, lets face it, if you're a boy racer, you won't be looking at estate cars. Although the temptation to convert it to rear wheel drive and place a V12 engine in the boot with a couple of turbos is growing by the day.
In a few words, a great work horse and family car. Don't be put off by Skoda's rapidly vanishing poor reputation. This is the first of many great cars they have built during and since the nineties. You can pick them up pretty cheap and insurance costs are low. Give it a go and you won't be disappointed.