Is Skoda a Good Car? How Often Does it Break Down?

Ever since Volkswagen bought them out in the late 80s, Skoda has become well known for their solid, budget vehicles. Is that all still true?

Let’s have a closer look and find if Skodas really do live up to their name as reputable, good value cars.

Is Skoda a Good Car?

Skoda is one of the best automakers in the world. It offers above the average reliability, long-lasting cars at one of the lowest prices on the market.

Skodas have been Volkswagens with lower price tags. Although they don’t quite match VW for their great resale value, it hasn’t stopped Skoda from being one of the most acclaimed manufacturers.

They’re certainly better than many. In essence, Skodas have been Volkswagens with lower price tags. Although they don’t quite match VW for their great resale value, it hasn’t stopped Skoda from being one of the most acclaimed manufacturers. These days, they have gone from strength to strength and are generally seen as excellent all-rounders.

From the versatile Yeti to the aspirational Superb, the Czech brand has very quickly formed a large and satisfied customer base. What’s most impressive about them is how there’s not a single dud in their large range of cars. Finding a Skoda that’s garbage is near to impossible now unless you’re talking about its much older Cold War cars.

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How Long Does Skoda Last?

Skodas cars tend to last very long. A Skoda Octavia, for example, will happily crack past 250,000 miles and very much more, so long as you give it the needed care. Truth is, any Skoda can be a real workhorse and one that won’t complain.

It’s why you’ll find a lot of taxi services that use Octavias and Superbs in their fleets as they’re roomy, good value, and can rack up the miles. It’s also why it’s still very common to see older Skodas being used. To give you an idea, there are almost 2000 Octavias in the UK with well more than 250,000 miles on the clock.

Does Skoda Rust?

Generally, Skoda cars are one of the most rustproof cars on the market. However, some Skoda users report minor corrosion problems with second-generation Octavia and Yeti.

Normally, to find a Skoda with a rust problem, you’d have to look deep into its pre-Volkswagen history for cars that are badly affected. Eastern European cars from those times are infamous for their very poor build quality. The old, typically rear-engined Skodas weren’t much different and earned a very unflattering legacy.

Today, rust hardly poses an issue, though that doesn’t mean all modern Skodas are indestructible. The second-generation Octavia, for instance, has had a bit of trouble with rust. You’ll find some owners have complained about seeing it around the passenger side and the boot.

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Even the beloved Yeti can have a few spots of rust at times, but otherwise, it remains a highly recommended used buy. If you’re in the market for one, it’s best to be selective and aware of any corrosion, though chances are it won’t be hard to find a good one.

What are the Common Skoda Faults?

The most common Skoda problems are:

  • Rust (Octavia, Yeti)
  • Dual-Clutch DSG Transmission (Octavia)
  • Trouble with the clutch (Roomster)

Typically, there’s not a lot that can be said about Skodas having common faults. However, that’s not to say they’re immune to them. As I’ve said, rust can rear its ugly head just a little bit on second-generation Octavias and maybe a Yeti or two, but there are a couple of other issues to keep an eye on.

If you’re looking to buy a third-generation Octavia, a very common and well-liked car in Skoda’s range, then you’ll want to look out for problems with cars possessing the dual-clutch DSG transmission. This transmission has seen wide use amongst Volkswagen Group’s many brands, but you’ll have to beware of electrical (or mechanical) faults and glitches. If the transmission runs the gears smoothly and there’s little to no hesitation, then it’ll be fine and dandy.

Amongst other cars, the Roomster can suffer a leaky sunroof as well as trouble with the clutch. However, that’s more to do with earlier cars. Later ones should prove just as dependable as any other Skoda.

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Is Skoda Well Equipped?

The cheapest trim Skodas are known for being a bit basic (although that’s improved in the present), but once you move up the range, equipment is fairly good. An Octavia these days grants you a lot of standard kit across its range, such as climate-control and digital instruments.

In the past, Skodas in their most basic trim could be a bit sparse on the toys included, but the brand’s never-ending ambition has driven them to change that. Typically, most people opt for SE trim, which stands as either basic rim or lower mid-range. For the most part, it offers all the essentials, plus a little bit more.

Is Skoda a Cheap Brand?

Skoda practically built its brand around the selling point of being cheap. Even today, where the brand has been moving upmarket, they remain extremely good value. A Skoda Octavia, despite its large size and more premium appearance than before, remains cheaper than the much smaller Golf.

The brilliance at play here is not just Skoda’s undercutting so much of the competition but also that they’re offering cars of such a high standard. The budget-focused manufacturers are normally very basic and lack much luxury. With Skodas, however, you get a well-equipped, well-built car for a lot less than most cars like them.

Does Skoda Have Good Engines?

Overall, Skoda’s cars have enjoyed many excellently made engines for a long time now. The 1.0-litre three-cylinder found in the Citigo and Fabia is great for those going the economical route, while the 2.0-litre TDI diesel found in larger cars is very dependable.

The only major problem is its parent company, Volkswagen, being involved in an emissions scandal that erupted in 2015. While the German brand continues to see a ripple effect from the legal ramifications, Skoda has managed to get out relatively unscathed.

Although the controversy left a bad mark, Skoda’s range does use some very useful, efficient engines. Needless to say, they’re fairly reliable as well, with Skoda ranking high in surveys.

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Is Skoda Expensive to Maintain?

Depending on the car, a Skoda can be relatively cheap to run or on the costlier side. An Octavia can wind up cheaper to run than similar cars like the Volkswagen Passat, but a Fabia could potentially cost more to maintain than its Seat Ibiza and Volkswagen Polo cousins.

The upside is that, as I said, a Skoda will very much last a while without having anything go badly wrong. You’ll find they even share a lot of parts with various cars throughout the Volkswagen Group family, so repair costs can be low cost.

Another detail is that a Skoda will give you cheaper insurance costs. Since replacement parts are low cost and safety is very top-notch across the range, getting insured will not be breaking the bank. If there’s one financial snag, it’s that a Skoda will not hold onto its value the same way a Volkswagen will.

These are the official Skoda service prices in the UK workshops.

Is Skoda Better than its Competitors?

Critics have put Skodas in a very positive light, with many finding Skoda’s cars superior to many of its rivals. These days it’s almost expected of a Skoda to receive at least four out of five stars. While they don’t have the outright high quality of a BMW or Mercedes, for what they’re worth, Skodas are impressively well finished.

In comparison tests, reviewers will normally favour the Skoda over others, as few can match their price and have won numerous awards. From the cavernous Skoda Superb estate to the brilliantly well-valued Scala hatchback, it’s proving harder and harder to find a Skoda that hasn’t been critically acclaimed!

Also read: Are European Cars More Expensive to Maintain? (Comparison)

What are the Best Skoda Models?

The best Skoda models are: Octavia, Scala, Yeti, Suberb and Fabia.

For the most part, it’s hard to say as most, if not all of Skoda’s cars, are marvellous performers. Although some are truly the cream of the crop.

The Octavia is now in its fourth incarnation and maintains its place as one of the best cars on the market for how much you can get on a lower budget.

For those seeking even cheaper sets of wheels, there’s the Scala, which is something of a cheaper Golf, seeing how they’re both the same car underneath. It’s been heaped with praise for its roominess and being more refined than some cars in much higher price brackets.

As for used Skodas, a Yeti must always be considered simply based on its incredible jack-of-all-trades nature. Its cabin is enormous, the engines can be unexpectedly punchy, yet economical and four-wheel-drive versions are more adept at off-roading than you’d first believe.

For something cheaper, though, an old Octavia or Fabia will do their job well. There’s a reason you see so many of them on the road.

Today, Skoda has grown its popularity at a rate that would raise a lot of eyebrows. In 2019, Skoda delivered 1.24 million cars, which is two times more than its Seat sibling and several hundred million more than Citroen. This success was a 10.9% growth on the previous year’s total, but it still paled in comparison to Volkswagen’s 10.8 million sales.

In all fairness, Skoda does not have as wide a market as its parent manufacturer, nor does it possess a large commercial vehicle division. Despite the smaller infrastructure, the brand carries on with growing in Europe and making a large footprint in India. Recently they launched their first major EV, the Enyaq that, unsurprisingly, won over reviewers for its low price and fine quality.

Perhaps another reason to consider is the specific car market Skoda aims for: small and large family cars and SUVs. Make no mistake, these sectors are full to bursting with numerous brands trying to get noticed. This can cause some manufacturers to get lost in the crowd.

Sure, Skoda isn’t quite as widely known or popular as many other brands, but for around 25 years, they’ve put increasing effort into changing that. Every new car they release is almost guaranteed a high rating, and even used ones remain recommended choices.

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