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Skoda Gearing Up To Go Electric By 2020

Skoda Gearing Up To Go Electric By 2020

As VW looks to its EV future, Skoda is coming along for the ride

Skoda is gearing up to expand its lineup with a fresh batch of all-electric vehicles. The Czech-based automaker says it hopes to offer customers five new battery-powered models in less than a decade.

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Skoda Kodiaq Scout And Sportline Arrive in Frankfurt

Skoda Kodiaq Scout And Sportline Arrive in Frankfurt

Two new trims bring variety to Skoda’s new SUV

The Skoda Kodiaq launched for 2016 and so far has been a runaway success. Based on the second-generation Volkswagen Tiguan platform (VW’s MQB architecture), the Kodiaq offers room for five in the two-row model and seven with the third-row seats ordered. Now for 2017, the value-themed crossover gets more variety thanks to two new trims Skoda brought to the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show – the Sportline and Scout.

Hinted by the names, the Sportline trim gives the Kodiaq a more street-wise appearance, while the Scout offers a more rugged, off-road theme. Both come with plenty of additional features, making them more than just an appearance package. In fact, the Scout comes with a raised ride height and underbody skid plates and the Sportline gets a sport-tuned suspension, a G-meter, and lap timer. Both models have adaptive dampers, too. Skoda isn’t changing the Kodiaq’s drivetrain options, however. Both the Sportline and Scout are available with choices of gasoline and diesel engine options. These include a 1.4-liter gasoline four-cylinder with 150 horsepower and range to a 2.0-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder with 295 pound-feet of torque. Both models come standard with AWD.

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An Electric Sports Car From Skoda Could Be What The Doctor Ordered

An Electric Sports Car From Skoda Could Be What The Doctor Ordered

It’s coming in the next few years

Skoda may not be the first automaker you think of when it comes to an all-electric sports car, but you might have to recalibrate those thoughts because, for the first time in the company’s history, an all-electric sports car is not only on the table, it could arrive sooner than we think. That was the sentiment expressed by Christian Strube, the company’s head of technical development, who told Auto Express that the Czech automaker is preparing a zero-emissions performance car that will part of a family of EV models the company plans to roll out in the next decade.

Specific details were not revealed, but the prevailing thought within Skoda seems to be grounded on the goal of diversifying its portfolio to include a good amount of electric vehicles. As it stands, there’s already some movement on bringing an EV version of the Citigo by 2019 and a production version of the Vision E SUV concept that the company unveiled at the Shanghai Motor Show a year later. One more electric SUV is expected to follow suit before the all-electric sports car hits the market. As for the planned EV sports car, the plan is for the car to use the company’s MEB electric architecture, the same platform that will be widely used across a range of models under the Volkswagen Group. Power numbers have yet to be mentioned, but expect it to fall right in the same neighborhood as the 300-horsepower Vision E concept. At the very least, look for the Skoda EV sports car to have at least two electric motors, each mounted on one of the front axles.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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10 Rear-Engined Cars That Aren't A Porsche 911

10 Rear-Engined Cars That Aren’t A Porsche 911

A quick look at today’s automotive offerings and you’ll notice that almost all passenger cars are front-engined, while most sports cars come with a mid-engined configuration. The Porsche 911 is the most known exception from this rule, having its engine mounted above the rear axle. The 911 isn’t the only rear-engined car on the market, the Smart ForTwo and ForFour, Renault Twingo, Tesla Model S, and Tata Nano have similar configurations, but all of them are part of the minority. However, it wasn’t always like this.

Decades ago, rear-engined vehicles were significantly more popular. The first notable rear-engined car dates back to 1886, when Karl Benz launched the Patent-Motorwagen. The concept gained more traction in the 1930 and remained somewhat popular until the 1980s. Mostly found in small, affordable cars, the layout allowed for the rest of the vehicle to be used for passengers and luggage. It was also preferred by many carmakers since the drivetrain can installed easily at the factory compared to front-wheel-drive layout where the driven wheels also steer the car.

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2017 Skoda Vision E

2017 Skoda Vision E

The concept that previews Skoda’s first all-electric model

Skoda is gearing up to kick Tesla’s ass with a competitor for the Model X. The production model will be Skoda’s first electric vehicle and is set to go on sale at the turn of the decade. But, before all of that happens, Skoda has decided to preview that model with an “SUV coupe” known as the Vision E at the Shanghai Auto Show. Said to have a range of more than 300 miles, all-wheel drive, Level 3 autonomy, and a silhouette that’s sure to grind wonder boy’s gears a bit, the Vision E proves that Skoda isn’t playing around these days.

Its production equivalent will likely be toned down as far as exterior design goes, especially in the front end. But, that’s usually the case when it comes to concepts, right? Back to the subject at hand, the Vision E is just a bit shorter and wider than the new Kodiaq and is built on VW’s MEB platform. So far, we’ve yet to see official images, but Skoda saw fit to release a few sketches to keep us on ice until the Shanghai Auto Show kicks off. So, let’s dive on in and talk a little more about what’s going on with the Vision E, and what it tells us about Skoda’s future.

Continue reading to learn more about the Skoda Vision E.

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2017 Skoda Octavia vRS

2017 Skoda Octavia vRS

The Octavia vRS gets a power boost

For a while, Skoda was soldering on as a dated company that produced less-than-modern vehicles, but all that changed in 1996 when the brand introduced the Skoda Octavia. The car has since gone through a couple of redesigns and, for the 2017 model year, it went through a facelift. This facelift brought an even more modern design outside while upping the Octavia’s interior game and bringing some updates to the powertrain department as well. Skoda revealed the facelifted Octavia back in November of 2016, and just over a month later, the brand announced a range-topping version of its resident four-door: the Octavia vRS. The vRS brings a more aggressive set of fascias on the outside, some performance-focused tweaks to the chassis and suspension, and a small increase in power that’s enough to make it the “fastest series-production model in the history of the Octavia.”

Needless to say, Skoda is really excited about its new vRS, and in all honesty, it probably should be. But, you really need a trained eye and a good sense of logic to get through all of the PR talk that comes along with the announcement for this new “performance” model. Highlights do include an increase in 10 horsepower over that of the standard model, a slightly lowered suspension system, and it even comes stock with a pair of 18-inch wheels that can be swapped out for 19-inch models if you desire to do so.

All told, the vRS looks to be a fairly decent little compact car, and its looks certainly float the bill for something that will be passed off as a range-topping model. But, is there more to it than what meets the eye? Well, let’s dive on in and talk a little more about it.

Continue reading to learn more about the Skoda Octavia vRS.

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2017 Skoda Octavia

2017 Skoda Octavia

Comprehensive facelift adds new face and new tech

Essentially the car that transformed Skoda from a dated company into a modern, competitive carmaker, the Octavia arrived in 1996 and went through two major redesigns since its introduction. The latest occurred in 2012, when the third-generation (or Mk3) model was launched. Also available in notchback (five-door, hatchback-like sedan) and wagon body styles, the restyled Octavia arrived in showrooms with a more modern design, a more upscale cabin, and a revised engine lineup. The new model was met with great enthusiasm, which helped the Octavia remain one of the brand’s most popular vehicles. Both the sedan and wagon received their mid-cycle facelifts in 2016.

Unlike other compacts, especially the Volkswagen Golf it is based on, the Octavia received quite a comprehensive update. Skoda introduced a newly designed front fascia and a more aerodynamic design. While the interior remained unchanged styling-wise, the car did receive a host of new gadgets, as well as new and improved safety features. The drivetrain department also gained its fair share of updates, but we will talk about them in the review below.

“The Skoda Octavia has always been in a class of its own in the compact segment,” said Skoda CEO Bernhard Maier. “As the ’heart of the brand’, the Octavia has decisively shaped Skoda’s outstanding development from the very start, and has made the company what it is today: an internationally successful automotive manufacturer with a presence in more than 100 markets worldwide. With the now extensively revised Skoda Octavia, we are keen to continue this development sustainably.”

Look for the revised model to hit European streets in the first quarter of 2017.

Continue reading to learn more about the Skoda Octavia.

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2017 Skoda Kodiaq

2017 Skoda Kodiaq

Skoda looks to inject life into its lineup with a production version of the VisionS concept

After months of teasing us with images of the new Kodiaq Skoda has finally spilled the beans. Of course, photos of the car were leaked a little before the official debut, but now we finally have all the fine details. As Skoda’s second crossover after the Yeti, and with all the hype that has come before it, the Kodiaq has some pretty big shoes to fill. Offered at launch with the choice of five different engines, three different transmissions, an elegant interior, and a sharp exterior, it shouldn’t have too much of a problem filling its role.

The Kodiaq is pretty elegant and sporty, and it needs to be, considering it competes against the likes of the Mercedes GLC-Class, Audi Q5, and – as far as price and power goes – the BMW X3. Highlights about the car include a luxurious and functional interior, seating for seven, and some DNA from the Skoda VisionS that debuted earlier this year at the Geneva Auto Show. So, with that said, let’s dive on in and take a look at the all-new Skoda Kodiaq and why Mercedes, Audi, and even BMW should be worried.

Updated 09/01/2016: Skoda dropped the official details on the new Kodiaq with just one month before its official debut at the 2016 Paris Auto Show.

Continue reading to learn more about the Skoda Kodiaq.

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Skoda Kodiaq Unveiling

Skoda Kodiaq Unveiling

The Kodiaq is making its debut live right now!

It’s been a long time coming, but the Skoda Kodiaq is finally making it’s world debut. And, you can watch it live by clicking play on the video above. Afterward, why not check out our full review of the Kodiaq here and let us know what you think about it in the comments section below the review.

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Skoda Kodiaq Leaked Online Before Official Debut

Skoda Kodiaq Leaked Online Before Official Debut

The company’s second crossover breaks cover earlier than expected

The 2016 Paris Motor Show is just around the corner with tons of brand-new cars, including the Skoda Kodiaq, the Czech company’s second crossover after the Yeti. As it is often the case, the crossover surfaced the Interwebz earlier than planned through a handful of leaked photos. Granted, it’s not like the Kodiaq was much of a mystery having already seen the VisionS concept and with test cars already on the road, but now we can get a better glimpse at the production model we’ll find in showrooms in 2017.

As expected, the SUV is a toned down version of the concept, featuring an exterior design closer to Skoda’s current vehicles. Sure, there are plenty of new styling cues that will redefine upcoming vehicles, but the Kodiaq is highly recognizable as a Skoda and shares some features with the Octavia and Superb sedans. The front grille, which many argue that it looks to similar to Kia’s "tiger nose" design, is very similar to the Octavia’s, but comes with redesigned vertical slats and a solid center piece. The headlamps have a more aggressive design and extend into the grille’s chrome frame, while the foglamps are no longer mounted in the bumper, which received a new intake that’s nearly as wide as the car.

The taillights are also unique to this model, becoming slimmer as they advance toward the license plate. The tailgate has a big crease right in the middle, giving the rear end an exotic look. Like many modern SUVs, the Kodiaq features muscular fenders, big wheel arches, and sturdy side skirts and rear bumper. Big wheels, large side windows, and roof rails complete the picture.

Overall, the Kodiaq looks like a solid crossover, and its interior isn’t bad either given the large infotainment screen and seemingly good fit and finish. But we will find out more about Skoda’s new SUV as it makes its debut at the Paris Motor Show, so make sure you stay tuned for details and check out our full review here.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Cars And Olympians: The Marriage To Create The Perfect Olympic Athlete

Cars And Olympians: The Marriage To Create The Perfect Olympic Athlete

The race for perfection definitely has no finish line

So the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics is going on now. American swimmer Michael Phelps is once again making headlines. God bless that man. Fiji also won its first-ever gold medal, so congratulations to them. There are so many storylines going on in the Olympics that it’s hard to keep up. So I’m ditching it all entirely to focus on what this whole story is all about. This is about something that’s been going on for quite a while now, but not a lot of people, at least those who watch the spectacle of the Olympics as fans, are even aware of. This is about how some of today’s most finely-conditioned athletes have found unlikely partners to help them prepare for the Olympics. This is about the Olympians and the world’s automakers and the growing partnership between the two sides to create the perfect Olympic athlete.

On the surface, it sounds a little too Terminator-ish, right? It might even sound like somebody’s idea of a B-rated sci-fi movie. But all joking aside, this is all real. Automakers have, for quite some time now, in fact, helped train Olympic athletes using whatever technology is available to find the right kind of edge that can propel athletes to the top step of the medal podium.

Take BMW for instance. We reported the other day that the German automaker is helping the U.S. swimming team improve their techniques that they can utilize in the Olympics.

Judging by how the team has done in Rio so far – all together, it has won 34 total medals, including 21 gold medals – it’s easy to surmise that the assistance the U.S. swimming team has received from BMW has helped the team in a lot of respects.

Here’s the interesting part. The U.S. swimming team’s partnership with BMW isn’t the only athlete-automaker collaboration that will be put to the test in the 2016 Rio Olympics. Other automakers have been doing it too and for this Olympics, a certain Czech brand is helping its own cyclist prepare for his event.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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Skoda is Filing Trademarks in the U.S. like They're Going out of Style

Skoda is Filing Trademarks in the U.S. like They’re Going out of Style

It looks like Skoda might bring something fun to the U.S. — if it really comes

Almost two months ago we brought you news that Czech automaker and member of VW group, Skoda, had filed trademarks for the Superb, Octavia, and Yeti – three of Skoda’s best-selling models. Then, Skoda filed for the use of the name “Skoda H-Tec,” adding even more fuel to the fire. Now, Skoda is at it again, this time filing a trademark application for “VRS” – a badge that is reserved for the performance variant of the Octavia.

This being the case, it seems almost unlikely that Skoda isn’t coming to the U.S. at some point in the future. Sure, the brand could just be protecting the names the use in other markets, but there’s probably something more to it. Think about this for a minute. Skoda hasn’t sold a vehicle in the U.S. since the 1960s. Now, here we are in 2016, and the trademarks with Skoda’s name on them are piling up fast. On top of that, Skoda is the best-selling brand globally under Volkswagen’s umbrella with the exception of Porsche and Audi. In June, the brand sold nearly 100,000 models and, for the first half of 2016, that brand set a company record with just over 569,000 examples sold.

Obviously, Skoda is doing pretty well these days, and the U.S. market could certainly increase its revenue even further. Plus, this could be a strategic move by VAG. Keep reading to hear my thoughts on that.

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Is Skoda Coming To The U.S.?

Is Skoda Coming To The U.S.?

Volkswagen patents could lead to the Czech brand’s entry into the U.S. market

Americans may not be familiar with the automotive brand Skoda, but over in Central Europe, the Czech manufacturer is considered as one of the region’s biggest automakers. The company is also regarded as one of the Volkswagen Group’s biggest money-makers alongside Audi and Porsche. That status could very well pave the way for the company to make its first ever foray into the North American market. Recent reports indicate that Skoda has filed a number of trademarks with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, specifically trademarking the names Skoda Superb, Octavia, and Yeti. Not surprisingly, those three models are some of Skoda’s biggest selling models in Europe.

The company hasn’t come out and explained the decision behind the trademarks, but there are a couple possibilities. The first is that Skoda simply wants those names protected and having them trademarked ensures that those names won’t be used by another automaker in the North American region. The second and more intriguing reason is that the Volkswagen Group could be planning to launch Skoda in the U.S., a possibility that has grown in the wake of the emissions scandal that has plagued Volkswagen. The drop in public trust for models with the VW badge has sullied the automaker’s status in the U.S., and it wasn’t even considered high in the first place. But with sales going south for VW models, the German auto conglomerate could mitigate that swoon by bringing in Skoda to either take Volkswagen’s place or just offer a new alternative for increasingly discerning U.S. customers.

Whether that situation happens is still up in the air, but the mere suggestion of Skoda entering the U.S. market is interesting to say the least. There are still a lot of questions that need to be answered, particularly the reception the brand will get from a market that’s largely unfamiliar with the brand and its status over in Europe.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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2016 Skoda VisionS

2016 Skoda VisionS

A few years back, Skoda dropped the 2014 VisionC design study, which was said to represent a new design language for the brand’s car lineup. Finally, Skoda had a more interesting design to look at, without falling victim to being overpowered by the design of similar Volkswagen models. Now that a few years have passed, Skoda is planning another show car dubbed the VisionS that is slated to debut at the 2016 Geneva Auto Show.

Like the VisionC, the VisionS is designed to showcase and represent Skoda’s new design philosophy, but this time, it is focused on the SUV segment. So far, Skoda has given us a preview of the VisionS with the release of the renderings you see here. Right away, you can tell that the VisionS will be significantly larger than the Skoda Yeti and should be more visually appealing.

Since we have these newly released renderings, let’s take a journey down the page and take a deeper look at what we can expect from Skoda at the Geneva Auto Show.

Updated 02/17/2016: Skoda dropped the official details on the new VisionS concept car with just a few days before its official debut at the 2016 Geneva Auto Show.

Continue reading to learn more about the Skoda VisionS.

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2015 Skoda Fabia

2015 Skoda Fabia

The Fabia is Skoda’s best-selling model next to the Octavia and has sold more than 3-million models as of 2015. To keep a ball that large rolling at full momentum, Skoda found it necessary to redesign the Fabia for the 2015 model year. For the third generation, the Fabia has evolved into a car that sits lower and wider and has shed even more weight compared to its predecessor. On the outside, the car has wider headlights and a wide air dam to go with a sleek side profile and a more squared rear end. Inside, the car has a wide feel to it, with more passenger space and increased cargo room. There is a new infotainment system based on VW’s MIB technology that brings smartphone connectivity via Mirrorlink and SmarGate connectivity protocols – a first for any Skoda. Under the hood, there is a choice of 2 gasoline engines tuned to deliver between 59 horsepower and 1098 horsepower and one diesel engine that delivers 88 horsepower or 103 horsepower. Not bad for a small hatchback.

We would like to see better interior materials as well as a better fit and finish, but the car starts out below $17,000 so at that price point, you can only expect so much. The competition is strong too, with models like the Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Up, and a handful of other tiny hatchbacks that anxiously compete for the title of best seller in this competitive segment. As the story goes, Skoda hopes that the new Fabia will continue to be a big seller like the first- and second-gen models, from an initial standpoint, it looks like it Skoda might be in some luck. Be that as it may, check out the full review below to see how it competes in its very competitive market.

Read on to learn how Skoda has kept the Fabia fresh.

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2015 Skoda Octavia vRS 230

2015 Skoda Octavia vRS 230

Czech automaker Skoda began producing the Octavia way back in 1996, then it introduced the second-gen model in 2004 and the third-gen model in 2013. It was the start of the third-generation that saw the introduction of the vRS model, which was a more performance-oriented version of the compact liftback sedan. And now with the Geneva Auto Show set to start on March 3, 2015, Skoda is primed to unveil a special version of the vRS dubbed the Octavia vRS 230.

With a few more PS, the vRS 230 is officially the fastest Octavia ever built. The problem is that Skoda lives under the Volkswagen umbrella, and anything it can do, VW can do better. This means that regardless of how much leash VW gives Skoda to beef up the Octavia, it always leaves a little something in reserve to bump up the Octavia’s more expensive platform mate, the Passat.

Does the vRS 230 badge and its added power give the Octavia the oomph it needs to finally one-up the Passat?

Continue reading to find out.

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EuroNCAP Announces Best In Class Cars Of 2014

EuroNCAP Announces Best In Class Cars Of 2014

Dozens of new cars get tested each year by the main European crash testing organization, EuroNCAP, but only a small percentage of those vehicles achieve truly high scores. This happens in part because EuroNCAP has kept improving its testing procedures almost on a yearly basis, with the newest requirements in 2014 involving autonomous emergency braking (AEB) systems and other technologies part of the "Safety Assist" criteria, which is a branch of active safety.

A couple of novelties happened during the crash tests that took place in 2014, with EuroNCAP testing no less than five models available with either full-electric or hybrid propulsion. The second premiere was probably the fact that all the so-called Large Family cars tested in 2014 achieved the top five star rating, with the only difference between them being the overall score. With that being said, EuroNCAP has just released a list of the five highest performing cars in terms of overall score, spread around five different model categories: Supermini, Small Off-Road 4x4, Small MPV, Small Family Car and Large Family Car.

As it happens, only one Supermini achieved a five-star rating, and therefore the highest overall score in its category, despite no less than 14 cars in its segment having been crash tested during 2014. Pretty much the same situation happened in the Small MPV category, where only one car received the highest rating — over half of the vehicles tested scoring a rather shameful three stars. Interestingly enough, the Tesla Model S was surpassed by the Lexus NX hybrid as far as the best-scoring alternatively fueled vehicles go, albeit by only a small margin. The five best scoring cars of 2014 at EuroNCAP are the Skoda Fabia, Land Rover Discovery Sport, Volkswagen Golf Sportsvan, Nissan Qashqai and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

More details after the jump.

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2014 Skoda Octavia Black Edition

2014 Skoda Octavia Black Edition

Skoda’s popularity in Europe can’t be understated, even if the brand is relatively anonymous in this part of the world. But Europeans love their Skodas and the company knows that, which is why it has undertaken an initiative to launch a special ’Black Edition’ set for the entire range. The Octavia is arguably the most popular Skoda model today. That’s why we’re focusing on this one instead of those ho-hum Citigo and Super Estate models. To its credit, the Octavia is actually a pretty decent model that comes packed with a lot of nice touches and useful technology.

The Skoda Octavia Black Edition is available in either the Hatch and Estate body styles, and carries a 2.0-liter TDi engine that produces either 138 horsepower or 167 ponies.

We’re never going to see the Octavia or any of the Skoda models here in the U.S., but for our friends across the pond, the whole range is available, including the Octavia Black Edition that retails for £21,685. That’s about $37,000 as of 7/22/2014.

Click past the jump to read more about Skoda Octavia Black Edition.

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2015 Skoda Octavia RS+

2015 Skoda Octavia RS+

The Skoda Octavia vRS, a high-performance version of the company’s notchback sedan and estate, was launched in 2001, five years after the Octavia nameplate was revived. The first-generation model was powered by a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine that delivered 178 ponies. The unit was later upgraded to displace 2.0 liters and churn out 220 horsepower. Going into the 2015 model year, Skoda is rolling out an even more powerful version of the Octavia, taking its output into the 280-horsepower territory.

Developed to mark the 40th anniversary of the RS brand, the fastest Octavia ever built joins the lineup to take over the range-topping model crown from the already powerful vRS. Dubbed Octavia RS+, the new member of the Octavia range also comes with a host of visual improvements meant to raise the bar in terms of sportiness and aggressiveness. A number of exclusive features set it apart from the regular Octavia and even the vRS, but we’ll talk more about that after the jump.

Click past the jump to read more about the Skoda Octavia RS+.

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2014 Skoda CitiJet Design Concept

2014 Skoda CitiJet Design Concept

The Skoda Citigo, essentially a rebadged Volkswagen Up!, is basically unknown in the United States, a land where very few city cars have dared come and managed to survive. However, the Citigo is a bit more popular in Europe, where it’s being retailed in both three-door and five-door body styles.

The tiny, front-wheel-drive car never made it past beyond its box-shaped configuration on an official basis, but a new concept unveiled ahead of the annual Worthersee tuning festival in Austria suggests the Citigo could make a great two-seater convertible.

Designed and built by 16 Skoda apprentices over the last six months, the CitiJet Concept is actually a Citigo that had most of its roof chopped off, while part of the C-pillar remained intact. Also setting it apart from a production car is its unique paintjob, a blue and white metallic coating that shares each side of the vehicle.

The left blue side features a contrasting white stripe beneath the windows and white rims, with the right side being painted the other way around, with the wheels finished in a blue/white combo.

Click past the jump to read more about the Skoda CitiJet Design Concept.

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2014 Skoda Octavia Scout

2014 Skoda Octavia Scout

The Skoda Octavia Scout will make its public debut at the Geneva Motor Show and it should mark Skoda’s intention of becoming a player in the crossover market.

To be fair to Skoda, the new Octavia Scout does possess some notable elements, even though the crossover does follow some of the same characteristics of its predecessor. The notable rough and sporty exterior is a big plus, given the rather bland public perception the company has in the industry.

More than that, the Octavia Scout also gets a choice of engine and a four-wheel-drive system that should improve the car’s performance and handling credentials.

Whether it’s enough to attract a new segment of buyers is another thing; Skoda still has some work left to do in that regard. But it’s pretty comforting knowing that the company is trying and at this stage in its ascent, you can be sure that it’ll have more surprises for the Octavia Scout when the vehicle makes its debut in Geneva.

Click past the jump to read more about Skoda Octavia Scout

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