• Mar 7, 2008


Click image for a gallery of the new Superb's Twindoor system

Czech automaker Skoda unveiled its new 2009 Skoda Superb (based on parent company VW's Passat) at the Geneva Auto Show this week. It's a great-looking car that represents an excellent execution of the platform, but that's not what makes it so eye-catching. We were more intrigued by that trunk... or is it a liftback?

The Superb features an innovative combo trunk/tailgate system that Skoda calls the "Twindoor." Its design allows the hatch to be opened like a conventional trunk, or like a rear hatch. The clever 'lift-trunk' sports not one, but two small releases in the same general spot that a single trunk release would normally be found. Press the button in the center, and it opens as a conventional trunk with spring assist. Press the button on the right, and it opens as a rear hatch with strut assist. Opened wide as a hatch and with the seats folded, the Skoda Superb has 565 liters of cargo space (our math says that's about 20 cubic feet).

The Skoda Twindoor deserves merit. It is a brilliant idea that we hope catches on with other manufacturers, hopefully on this side of the Atlantic. However, it does leave us wondering if we are witnessing the first signs that sedans are also evolving into that abyss of vehicles classified as the CUV. Thanks for the tip, Johanes!


[Source:Skoda]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 39 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      I can't certainly see the appeal to this design! It allows folks that buy a large item once in a while to actually use their vehicle to transport it! As for complexity, I would imagine under the surface is a fancy hinge array and seals! It's cool nonetheless...
      • 6 Years Ago
      Wow, such a NEW IDEA!!! My dad's 1968 Dodge station had this. My 1998 Mercury Mountaineer had this. Come to think of it. at least 2 or 3 DOZEN cars, wagons and SUV's have had the exact same thing in the last 40 years!
        • 6 Years Ago
        Wrong!

        They opened the glass before the hatch which kept the lower portion still in the way. Now its the lower part that moves. UN-like your 1968 Dodge, or the Mountaineer...

        So a three step tip for reading future blogs. Read, Think, Post only when you can offer something to the conversation.

        I think its a neat concept, but the overall application is desgned more for theory than reality, more moving parts mean more things can break, and for what gain? I can appreciate that sometimes you don't need to open the whole hatch, but when is it something that is that much of a hassle?
      • 6 Years Ago
      These downsides to hatchbacks that keeps getting mentioned - structurally rigidity and noise isolation - are so muted in today's better examples as to be non-factors. Kinda like well designed convertibles don't have cowl shake.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Pointless? I disagree. A lot of people dislike the look of hatches, and with this, they can have a sedan with a trunk that turns into a Saab 900 when needed. What's so hard to understand about that? Looks like a great idea if it's executed with high quality.
      • 6 Years Ago
      If you've ever had to carry a big box (say, a TV) in your sedan and had a hard time fitting it in, you'll see the amazing utility of this concept. I love it!
        • 6 Years Ago
        I have a 2002 Saab 9-3. I've carried a wardrobe in it. I really fail to see why this at all revolutionary. I feel it's rather gimmicky and doesn't really offer anything that a "normal" hatch would.

        If you've seen a pre-2003 Saab 900/9-3 or a Mazda6 Sport (or a Dodge Magnum, in a way, this isn't at all innovative. In Europe it's certainly nothing new. Heck, I've seen Acura RSXs schlepping 42" rear-projector TVs.

      • 6 Years Ago
      This is a great design for use in the American market. The look of a trunk with the utility of a hatchback might actually sell more cars over here. I can't see Europe really having a need for this, as they tend to like the wagon/hatchback design better.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I've been to Europe (Italy, Germany), but I'm going by comments made by Europeans on here. From what I've read, most agree that the majority of Europeans prefer the hatchback/wagon design. My own experience supports this.

        What I meant by that comment is, I think the design would do better over here than it would it Europe, as Americans on average prefer the trunk design, but would probably enjoy the utility of a hatch.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I absolutely agree with Andrew. Traditionally there is a strong divide between eastern europe and southern europe that favour trunks and western europe that favours hatches. This divide still runs through germany. For example Skoda Fabia sedans are virtually nonexistent in western germany, here in the east they are very common. Trunk versions of some cars aren't even sold in some markets.

        The Skoda Superb has to fit nearly all european markets so you can see this solution as a compromise to build one model that fits all.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Pointless? Hardly when you consider it's target market...

      On someparts of the Continent Hatchbacks are preferred, whereas on the British Isles and elsewhere sedans are preferred.

      This allows Skoda to meet the preferences of both markets with the same car - as well as negate the image of a "budget" VW with a chrome grille.
      • 6 Years Ago
      While I think the option of opening only the "decklid" section of the hatch is totally pointless and that full hatchbacks are clearly superior to trunks, if this Skoda design (regardless of it's design inefficiencies, added complexity, weight, etc.) is in any way is a step in the direction of creating more widespread acceptance for hatchbacks in the USDM... then I'm all for it.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is a good idea. Especially in the mid-size market where it is difficult to find a nice hatchback that is not a SUV,CUV thing-a-ma-jig. This could have made the Malibu Maxx better looking and just as functional.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I would like to see how something like this would sell in the US. Personally, I prefer a plain hatch with an aggressively sloped C/D pillar (yes, it reduces interior space, I know) like the MAZDA6, or better yet, the 88 Mazda 626 but most Americans stubbornly yearn for the dignity of a sedan. It would be interesting to see the US market acceptance of such a thing.
      • 6 Years Ago

      This is different than glass opening on a hatchback.

      This would be like the lower half of the tailgate opening upward, OR the whole tailgate opening.

      I WANT THIS ON MY CAR, or at least a sedan with a full hatchback.

      If one has a 5-door sedan, with a hatch all the way to the roof, do you really NEED to open it like a trunk?

      It might be easier for shorter folks, though, or for quickness.

      I wish the Mazda6 5-door had 300hp, a manual transmission, and real AWD. I would be SET. OR if my Legacy with those things, had the 5-door hatchback.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I can think of several groups that this would be very useful for: women and the elderly to begin with. My mother is only 5' tall and always had trouble closing hatchbacks because she couldn't reach them. The same is also true for many elderly people.
      The idea isn't entirely new though, being similar to the Kaiser Vagabond introduced in 1949!
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