EDITORS PICKS - Skoda - For Cyclists The World Over
Some of you might know of Škoda’s humble beginnings, as a bicycle manufacturer. Mr Vaclav Laurin and Mr Vaclav Klement, the founding fathers of what is now known as Škoda Auto, began their journey with a deep understanding of human needs. What may have began as a rude response to Mr Klement for the shoddy quality of the bicycles he sold from a foriegn manufacturer, was to be the seed in the beginnings of something greater.
This spurred Mr Klement to team up with Mr Laurin to manufacture their own bicycles for their own native market, meeting the needs of their countrymen, both in product and after sales service. From bicycles, the duo naturally progressed to motorcycles (since Mr Lauren was very familiar with engines).
Their deep understanding of human needs is echoed in modern Škoda automobiles. Take for instance, the Škoda Octavia and Superb sedans, which both boast practical liftback style boot lids, generous cargo space and even storage compartments within the cabin. Their SUV range is equally innovative. The Kodiaq SUV has seats for seven, while the compact Karoq even features removable rear seats for added versatility. Škoda knows that the importance of day-to-day practicality is just as important as building a well-engineered car.
While the Czech automobile brand has progressed on to building cars, they have not forgotten their two-wheeler roots. Skoda has actively been involved in Tour de France as an Official Partner and Official Vehicle Partner since 2004. The star of the show this year is ‘Corrida Red’, a specially prepared Superb sedan, which hosts Mr Christian Prudhomme, A.S.O cycling and Tour’s race director. The Superb functions as the race’s literal control centre.
Fielding around 250 official vehicles for the official Tour fleet each year, that comprises most notably of Škoda Octavia Combi and Škoda Superb models. The Czech automobile brand has even extended their support to a wide range of cycling races, such as the L’Etape du Tour, Paris-Roubaix, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, La Flèche Wallonne, Paris-Nice, Critérium du Dauphiné and La Vuelta.
Locally, Škoda has become involved with the local annual charity event, Bike ‘n’ Blade. This serves to raise funds for St Luke’s ElderCare and The Salvation Army Peacehaven Nursing Home. The cycling event will see 120 participants take to the roads for a gruelling 300km ride up to Desaru, Malaysia on 3 September 2021, with an aim to raise S$500,000.
If you are keen to be part of their cause, registration is open.
Just like Mr Christian Prudhomme’s red coloured Superb, Škoda will be utilising their flagship sedan as one of the event cars.
The Škoda Superb, which has just gone through a mid-life refresh now benefits from a new 2.0 litre turbocharged engine, and a 7-speed DSG transmission, for improved delivery.
On the upmarket Laurin & Klement model, owners will benefit from the Superb’s… Superbly pliant ride quality, brought on by the Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) adaptive suspension system. Other features like its Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) for a more relaxed drive and added external light streaming in through a Panoramic sunroof, makes owning the Superb such a joy. For those who appreciate high quality audio, the Laurin & Klement model also features a premium 11 speaker CANTON sound system, and a larger 9.2” touchscreen. Adding to the comfortable environment, the Laurin & Klement model also features ventilated front seats.
Behind the wheel, a digitised virtual cockpit allows drivers to switch to their preferred mode of display. All Superb sedans are equipped with SmartLink technology for Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink™, allowing selected smartphone apps to be operated via the infotainment system’s display.
With very clever planning during its design phase, the Superb boasts excellent front and rear leg space. Speaking about space, the sedan’s 625 litre boot is best-in-class, and it benefits from a liftback-style lid for easier loading and unloading.
The Superb delivers peace-of-mind motoring, as safety is a top priority. The large sedan is equipped with Škoda’s Front Assist collision alert system that includes Predictive Pedestrian Protection, which warns the driver or even brakes the car in an event of an emergency. Radar Side Assist sensors mounted at the rear, with a reach of up to 70m, help with monitoring of blind spots… think of them as an additional set of eyes when changing lanes. Passive safety in the form of seven airbags offers excellent safety to the car’s occupants.
Even with its large footprint, the Superb is an easy car to drive, with good all-round visibility. The Laurin & Klement model is also easier to park thanks to Park Assist, which semi-autonomously helps you to park your car. All you need to do is accelerate and brake.
The Octavia offers owners the best combination of passenger accommodation and versatility in a compact sedan footprint.
Its spacious interior is the ideal place for the family, and offers occupants mobile device connectivity through Škoda SmartLink, supporting both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The Octavia’s ergonomics are excellent too, with easy-to-locate buttons. Even its 8” infotainment screen has its menu buttons flanking it for ease of operation.
With a generous 590 litre boot, combined with a liftback style bootlid, just like its larger Superb sibling, the Octavia boasts estate car-rivaling versatility.
While versatility is just part of the equation, being efficient is the other. The smooth 1.4 litre turbocharged engine, which produces no less than 150ps and 250Nm, ensures that the Octavia has much to offer when on the road. Gear changes are done in lightning-quick succession, thanks to its 7-speed DSG transmission, ensuring that there is no loss in drive between gears. The Octavia boasts an impressive combined 19.2km/l, and it delivers these figures without compromise in performance.
The assurance of 7 airbags, which play a large role in contributing to the Škoda Octavia’s 5-star Euro NCAP rating, adds to driving confidence. With standard features like its Rear-view camera with Park Distance Control (PDC), and additionally on the Ambition Plus model, Blind Spot Detect with Rear Traffic Alert, the Octavia is as easy to drive as it is easy to own.
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