Forest paths hidden under deep snow, frozen lakes, slippery slopes and roads covered in thick ice. These are typical driving conditions in northern Finland, where temperatures often fall below -20 °C during the long winters. It’s also where ŠKODA AUTO invited hundreds of journalists from all around the world so that it could demonstrate the virtues of its four-wheel drive on snowy roads, offroad tracks in Finland’s wildlands, and icy race tracks. Quite a challenge for an ordinary mass-produced car!
“The ŠKODA 4×4s proved that they are great family cars than can even handle extreme conditions beyond the Arctic Circle safely and gracefully, while offering plenty of space and practicality.”
The Lapland tests covered several different areas. ŠKODA’s SUV models, the agile KAROQ and the robust KODIAQ, were put through their paces on a difficult offroad track through the woods. Thanks to the Offroad and Snow modes, even less experienced drivers were able to cope with deep ruts, powdery snow and steep hills. No matter how tough the terrain, both cars handled confidently and remained calm, collected and comfortable. In a subsequent test, a snow-covered track on a frozen lake was perfect for long, controlled slides from one turn to another with the carefully tuned four-wheel drive, which can adapt to any situation.
Naturally, this was also an unmissable opportunity for ŠKODA’s powerhouses, such as the 280 hp SUPERB SPORTLINE and the diesel ŠKODA OCTAVIA RS, all featuring four-wheel drive. To show off their full potential, ŠKODA invited along Hans-Joachim Stuck, the famous former Formula 1 driver, Nürburgring champion, and three-times winner of the Le Mans 24-hour race. Even on a fast, icy racetrack, he was able to drive at incredible speed, making it an unforgettable experience for all journalists who took a ride with him.
“With my racing background, it may come as something of a surprise that ŠKODA is my favorite brand. It has made amazing technological progress and there are many great people behind it – so professional and modest. Its advanced four-wheel drive system gives you a lot of confidence and full control.”
Stuck, who used to drive a ŠKODA YETI and is now looking forward to his new KAROQ, is a great fan of four-wheel drive. As he points out, while it’s certainly a great help in the snow or ice, it also makes a big difference on wet roads, if the car starts aquaplaning, if you are being buffeted by a strong sidewind, and in all manner of other precarious conditions. Stuck even goes so far as to say that four-wheel drive is a safety feature as important as ABS and electronic stabilization.
Even the experienced Finnish instructors, most of them active racing drivers themselves, were astounded by the abilities of the ŠKODA 4×4 cars. No matter how slippery the conditions were, the ride was completely smooth and the car had no trouble staying on course. With a driver who controls the steering wheel and pedals confidently and smoothly, even family models are up for a dynamic drive and controlled drifting. Here too, though, whenever the car senses any kind of trouble or hesitation on the part of the driver, it immediately takes corrective action.
“Thanks to the multi-plate clutch’s predictive behavior and the ESC, XDS+ and TCS electronic stability systems’ gentle interventions, drivers can drive safely even in situations that would have required them to slow down considerably in the past.”
Press releases, infographics, technical data, footage and photos of ŠKODA 4×4 vehicles are available in interactive press kit.