Skoda aren’t renowned for their motoring ingenuity, style or robustness….but, according to Whatcar, the 1.3 litre Felicia ‘was built after the company got its act together, so what you get for your money – and not a lot of it – is a very solid and dependable little hatchback’. Apparently, most importantly, it has excellent paint quality, a high quality trim (see next paragraph) and good shut lines (whatever they may be). The truth of the matter, from a driving perspective appears somewhat less reassuring. A previous owner has described his five-door variant as ‘pretty gutless’ and having ‘awful brakes that required double the distance you would need in a modern car’ – although he is very happy with the ‘intermittent wiper setting’. The critical buy/don’t buy modification we all hinge our decision on!
Much has been done to develop and improve this once discreet and innocent wagon into a foreign cruiser with off road and endurance potential. The cabins traditional grey soft-to-touch interior has been stripped and replaced with break out hammers, fire extinguishers and an illuminated compass. The engine bay has been modified to include a second battery, larger coolant header tank and a second radiator fan. Underneath a protective skin has been installed to guard the oil sump and fuel tank. The vehicle has also been styled and given a practical hat – a steel roof rack has been constructed with fuel jerry can slots and equipment tie down points. To improve visibility, some high-watt spot-lights have been rigged to the roof rack in preparation for the lonely nights retracing Genghis Khans path. The bonnet has been fitted with an air intake scoop and the 38,000 mile carriage has been treated to a pre-jaunt service.