Even so, this is remarkable well-packaged car. It’s wide inside and the room in the rear is very impressive. I wish I could say more about the space under the hatch, but the boot lock was missing. Slamming the doors - which are so light they seem ready to bounce off the lock striker plate - demonstrates the Favorit’s featherweight construction.
The 58bhp, 1.3-litre Skoda-developed engine is tappety but reasonably willing. The long gear lever has an ever longer throw, but once the car is rolling along the bare 68lb ft of torque is not an issue. Rather like an old Renault 4, the Favorit has a very comfortable gait and is - perhaps not surprisingly - very happy on the roads on which it was born.
The interior plastics might be a disaster, and the switchgear feels very cheap and crude, but you can absolutely see why this car was so popular across central and Eastern Europe.
Driving the Felicia immediately afterwards - the VW-overseen model based on the Favorit - is a shock. Although this was a year 2000 model and had just 35,000 miles or so on the clock, it was a world away from the Favorit.
Introduced in 1994, just three years after VW bought into Skoda, the Felicia feels like a thoroughly modern supermini. Indeed, the example I drove felt very contemporary indeed. Although a bare 100kgs heavier in the lightest versions, the Felicia felt as solid and well-screwed together as the Favorit felt loose and floppy.
The fuel-injected engine was quiet, smooth and pulled impressively. The shift action was also unexpectedly meaty and precise. You might imagine it to be an entirely new car, but the Favorit is clearly still buried in here.
The short dash top and control locations give it away, and the key slot is still buried in the face of the dash to the left of the steering column. VW might want to run a rule over this Felicia because the interior space and luggage capacity remain impressive over such a compact footprint.
Skoda Octavia Mk1
The first-generation Octavia was unveiled five years after VW bought into Skoda and was the first model based on the then-new PQ34/Golf 4 family platform. The format of original Octavia showed how Skoda was allowed to be different.
A huge rear overhang might not have been elegant, but it meant that the hatchback and estate had the kind of super-practicality that rival Golf-class models couldn’t get near.