New generations of Kodiaq and Superb successfully complete super-cold testing in the Arctic Circle​

In-depth cold testing for the new Superb and Kodiaq generations by Skoda was completed successfully there. The quality, performance, and durability of the vehicles were evaluated in - 30 degree Celsius temperatures. These tests primarily examined driving stability, passenger comfort in slippery situations, and general dependability during protracted winter drives. The added weight of the snow and ice had to be supported by the vehicles as well. The testing of the new models has reached its final stage following the completion of the extremely cold trials. In the autumn of 2023, the second-generation Kodiaq and the new Superb will make their world debuts.

Johannes Neft, Škoda Auto Board Member for Technical Development, says: “Real-world testing in the toughest possible environmental conditions remains a crucial part of new-vehicle development, despite the advances in computer simulation. Our extensive test programmes in desert climates with extremely high temperatures on the one hand and on the other hand in the Arctic Circle ensure that Škoda customers can rely 100 percent on their vehicles in any weather conditions. At the same time, these tests give us the opportunity to identify optimization needs as early as possible and to design the vehicles in the best possible way to meet the requirements of everyday operation.”

Comprehensive range of tests covering all vehicle aspects

Intensive test drives in subzero temperatures are a regular part of the development schedule for new vehicles. The fourth-generation Skoda Superb and the second generation of the Kodiaq SUV have now shown they can handle any winter obstacle, and Skoda Auto regularly undertakes such tests in the Arctic Circle. The test vehicles' chassis, bodies, engines, heating systems, and entire electrical systems were all carefully examined.

Vehicle performance in snowy conditions

Skoda Auto studies the impacts of snow on the bodywork, as well as the results of snow entering the engine compartment and air intakes, to evaluate the vehicles' overall winter performance. Even at minus 25 degrees Celsius, the vehicle body's mechanical and electrical systems must operate faultlessly, and the engine must start easily at temperatures around minus 30 degrees. On PHEV vehicles, all doors, the bonnet, the tailboard, as well as the fuel filler cap and the lid of the charging plug, must be able to open even under such challenging circumstances.

Tests examining driving behaviour and assistance systems

The performance of the front and rear bumpers when the car strikes a snow barrier, for instance, is one of several characteristics of the vehicle's behaviour that are evaluated during real-world driving. Another is how the vehicle handles slush on the road. Driving over ice blocks puts the suspension and underbody's durability to the test. The test drivers evaluate the vehicles' handling on slippery and snowy roads as well as the effectiveness of the assistance devices. The testers rate the driving characteristics of the vehicles, the effectiveness of the all-wheel drive, if present, and the functional qualities and ride quality of the suspension. They check whether the transmission shifts faultlessly and whether the windscreen wipers and washers work. The vehicle lighting at night and the acoustic behaviour of frozen vehicle parts are also tested. High-voltage batteries of PHEV vehicles are charged in a frozen state, followed by a determination of the maximum range. To precisely assess the vehicles’ durability in winter conditions, the test drivers cover tens of thousands of kilometres.

Testing interior functions

The test programme also examines a variety of interior features, such as how well the heating system performs in extremely cold weather and the degree of thermal comfort inside. The inspectors also look at how quickly the windows can defrost and whether the windows mist up. Additionally, they check to see if the heating systems for the steering wheel, windscreen, external mirrors and seats function as they should. When appropriate, they also check the auxiliary heating option. The drivers also test how quickly the central touchscreen responds when the interior temperature of the car drops below zero.