We need a wagon. It seems. Despite it being just the two of us, there apparently needs to be a vehicle in the household that can hold a full length mirror, or a ladder, or anything that’s long enough not to fit in the 205. As we moved house this month, the 205 accommodated a ridiculous amount of stuff – and thiiiingggsss – but there are length limits to its cargo capacity. “You have the Saab, don’t you?” I hear you ask. That’s correct, but it remains tucked under a protective cover in a garage on the outskirts of town, as I don’t want to rust it out during this Salton Sea Season. And it being a thirsty car for weekend trips at heart, it’s not going to endure the daily traffic light beating the 518i and 205 have been subjected to.
Enter a bewildering array of used cars currently on sale in this town, whittling away the ones with a mileage too high to my taste. Initially I checked out a 650 euro Citroën Xantia wagon with 265k, but as it was dirty as a doormat and had Citroën Xantia Rear Quarter Mudtrap Acne™ coming through, peppering the flank even much worse than the Activa, I didn’t even bother to take any pictures despite taking it for a short drive. The white Tempra remains on sale, too, priced at double its worth.
And as I had taken some shots of a Skoda Felicia some time earlier, I was reasonably eager to see this one-owner example for sale nearby. I hadn’t driven one of these, so it was an omission I needed to rectify.
The Felicia Combi, to put it short, is as far as the old Favorit could be stretched. This 1998 car is already a facelift one after the initial Volkswagen-redesigned 1994 car, so it’s come a long way already – and since this is the long-bottom longroof, it’s the Felicia that holds the most.
As I noted in the weekend post, the Felicia wagon uses the same hatch as the hatchback one. The towbar is practically a necessity.
But in addition to that, it even uses the same parcel shelf, coupled with an extension section. You can see where the shorter car would end. The summer tires are TYFOON ones, which are completely useless for anything else than holding air, as much as the 205’s ones can be judged.
The engine is the old, non-VAG pushrod four, and it did feel exactly like that, sounding characterful even through the soundproofing. At 68 hp, there wasn’t much power to be extracted from 1.3 litres, and the more modern 1.6-litre would be the better bet. The old Skoda lump offers 106Nm of torque and is claimed to require 14 seconds to 100. In my opinion that’s a bold claim.
The dashboard is an interesting two-part affair: the bottom section is still the old Favorit one, but the upper part was designed anew in the 1990s. It’s for the better, and the Golf steering wheel makes it just a little bit sturdier to behold.
The gearlever is very vague even at 127k kms, a long-throw affair that isn’t really too pleasant to use. And the round switch next to the steering wheel is the headlight adjuster, not the light switch – that’s the button above the vent.
Little bit of VAG partsbin magic sprinkled here.
In fact, even if it was sold as a little old lady car, the interior wasn’t all too clean. The front seats would definitely need a good amount of different cleaning products to get the darkening staining out, and the rear seat wasn’t factory fresh either.
Perhaps it was due to the smallish wheels, or the rear-heaviness when it was loaded with tires, but on the heavily slushy backroad I use for used car evaluation the Felicia hardly felt sure-footed. Trying to drive it vigorously meant it kept searching for the right path, but still ploughing on in the corners. I wasn’t looking for a revelation when it came to chassis dynamics, but it would be interesting had the wagon version of my 205 made production – so that I could see how the wagonized, elongated hatchback derivative would compare to the regular length car. That is to say, on the same road in the same conditions, the 205 was a completely different animal, albeit unladen.
Kind of a shame the plastichrome was peeling on the prominent grille, as the nose is handsome on these cars.
The asking price of 2480 eur was stellar, even if the Felicia here wasn’t as rusty as they come. Some small fixes would be needed near the rear wheelarches and on the tailgate, but nothing that would put me off. Especially as a short discussion dropped the price by almost a grand. But Felicias should go for way less than a grand, and I do feel my money would be better used buying something a size larger at least. These have their uses, but the smallest engine is not what I would have in my ideal Felicia.