To describe the Volkswagen Passat CC as striking would be completely accurate. In the eyes of The Good Car Guy, it’s an offense against past handsome Volkswagens, though the starting point (regular Passat) wasn’t exactly a lean, mean, fighting machine. Considering the typical price of a Volkswagen in North America as at or near the top of their segment or nudging up against the next class, it appears as though VW has slightly lost the plot on our continent.
Across the globe, Volkswagen has long been perceived as a mainstream brand where top notch cars with supreme engineering were had for prices the people can afford. When VW’s quality struggles and prices increase, it’s tough to make that case.
That’s what makes Skoda so interesting. Firstly, Czech-based Skoda is owned by Volkswagen. (It seems that Volkswagen will soon be owned by Porsche.) Along with Spain-based Seat, Skoda attacks the price bracket underneath Volkswagen. While we North Americans see desirable cars that can’t justify their price – with a few exceptions like the GTI, a Good 12 winner – Europeans now see desirable Skodas that can’t be made fun of and appear to be worth more than their MSRP.
Take the Yeti, a small crossover set for production next year. A little bit of Golf/Rabbit and a little bit of Polo combines with the same styling themes that set the Roomster apart. The Octavia, a Ford Focus competitor, will be facelifted soon. Every automaker needs a mini-MPV in Europe, so Skoda will borrow new Volkswagen Touran bits for that cause in 2010. Of course, the oh-so-dull Touran will be converted into something hip and inexpensive. Also in 2010, Skoda will release a wagon version of the Superb. The Superb is already a practical car with its two-element trunk – is it a hatchback or a sedan?
Skoda’s Yaris-sized Fabia is a hit in vRS formula. Up until now, the Fabia vRS has been powered by diesel, but 2010 should see the advent of a gasoline-fuelled Fabia vRS. Finally, in 2011, Skoda will receive a version of the much-loved up! from Volkswagen. Already cool, the up! concept will likely be dramatically transformed on the exterior while maintaining unique engineering. Of course, it’ll cost less at the Skoda dealer.