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Old 7th December 2013, 15:28   #1
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Exclamation Do car platforms really matter? PQ35 vs MQB?

I am searching for a car to call my own for sometime now. I was driving a Skoda Superb earlier which had to sold off because of quite a few issues with the DSG. Now that brings me to my quest I have had the pleasure of test driving the following cars in the last 2 weeks:

1. BMW 3 Series 320d
2. Mercedes C Class 250
3. Volvo S60 D4
4. VW Passat Trendline MT
5. VW Jetta Highline TDI
6. Skoda Octavia Elegance TDI AT

While I had made this list the final on paper but on road performance and dues to some other factors I have dropped Mercedes C Class 250, Volvo S60 D4 and VW Passat Trendline MT. That leaves me with three and people might have figured out that I am trying to avoid VW DSG box's and it is only because of the safety kit do I have to include the Octavia AT. I got some technical pointers from SA from VW, Skoda and BMW and I am a bit confused with all the platforms used in VW and Skoda.

VW Jetta uses an old platform to build the Jetta called PQ35. This platform is has been around since early 2000's and has been increased in length. Increase in length means since the platform is made for smaller cars the platform has to be strengthened further to nullify the increase in wheelbase.

Skoda Octavia uses a spanking new platform called MQB platform. Since its newer than PQ35 used in Jetta it should mean its better right. Yes the weight of Skoda Octavia is less than Jetta but is safety should not be compromised because well PQ35 is a 13 year old platform after all.

While driving the two I felt the Jetta superior to the Octavia maybe because of the independent suspension or the way it was dealing with pot holes. One could say Octavia should be better because of better platform irrespective of the non independent suspension. I would rate Jetta as being closer to A4 than Octavia in terms of drive and feel. The 520d is obliviously the best once I drove with SPORT setting it has no current equal, I had regarded Linea T-Jet as a very good drivers car but the 520d is just better every which way.

Now on to safety since India has no official safety programs like euroncap I had asked the SA to guide me as to how to asses the safety in the models. He told me that for the most part euroncap can be refereed too. The Jetta/Octavia top trims are more or less what euroncap has in its database. I had a look and it was interesting what I found out.

http://www.euroncap.com/results/skoda/octavia/512.aspx



http://www.euroncap.com/results/vw/jetta/2011/445.aspx



Kindly look at the POLE results for the Skoda Octavia you will see chest protection is rated as weak, the same test for Jetta gets marginal rating. So this can mean two things either Skoda Octavia has less side airbags or the overall build lacks something. After looking at the equipment list for the Octavia and Jetta one thing is for sure side airbags are not omitted. In-fact the Octavia has side pelvis airbag as an addition over the Jetta , this is indeed puzzling a new platform should be better in dealing with any impact.

I am still thinking about which one will be better in long term, spares for Jetta might be hard to come by. The MQB means quite a few parts will be shared maybe that will reduce the price of the parts and increase the availability. What do you people think about this PQ35 vs MQB, do platforms really matter? The Jetta takes bumps better, drives better, has a better build but is a much older product with some dated interiors. The Octavia is newer with a better platform "?" with lighter weight and better FE but safety suffers.
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Old 8th December 2013, 17:15   #2
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Default re: Do car platforms really matter? PQ35 vs MQB?

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Originally Posted by Brishti View Post
What do you people think about this PQ35 vs MQB, do platforms really matter?
Forget about the platforms - the PQ35 or the MQB. That is a discussion that can get highly technical and confuse you. *It is not as if the Jetta is dated or the Skoda is infinitely more advanced. *Spare parts will also not be an issue as manufacturers usually make parts available for 10 years after discontinuance of a model. The extent of safety you require out of a car is purely a personal preference. Some may just want two air bags whereas some would want maximum safety. It is only you who can decide what is more important to you and from the looks of it, you like the Jetta so go for it.
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Old 8th December 2013, 18:24   #3
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Default re: Do car platforms really matter? PQ35 vs MQB?

Highly technical is the way to go. I am not confused with MQB, I am confused as to why a new platform lacks side protection even with more number of side airbags than the older platform.

I also found an article on the same:

http://www.motoring.com.au/news/2013...-a-trail-36228

So the basic extract of MQB is price reduction for VW and they want to pass this savings to the end consumer. This mean MQB should be cheaper than PQ35 but Jetta is cheaper to Octavia.

Modular construction is the future so its inherently the better option, Volkswagen Audi Group’s MLB/MQB platform, Renault-Nissan’s CMF platform, BMW’s UKL platform, Daimler’s MFA & MRA platform, General Motors’ DII platform, PSA Peugeot Citroen’s EMPII platform, Volvo’s SPA platform are all modular and will power the future.
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Old 8th December 2013, 19:39   #4
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Default re: Do car platforms really matter? PQ35 vs MQB?

Platform has nothing to do with the consumer / end-user. It is a means of streamlining engineering, production and costs for the manufacturer. Platform brings standardization and reduction in non-standard parts in stock, thereby reducing logistics and inventory cost. On the production side, platform represents a limited range of tooling & settings - leading to minimum effort in model changes on production line (even the automated / robotic ones). Think how much savings if the line is reconfigured on a daily basis to cater to a mix of actual off-take of models.

All such keywords are fodder for marketing woo-woo, as the general public laps it up - without ever wondering how that, at all, benefits them.
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Old 8th December 2013, 19:59   #5
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Default re: Do car platforms really matter? PQ35 vs MQB?

Please keep in mind that the tests for jetta are from 2011 while the ones for the octavia are from 2013. These ratings are not directly comparable.

For example, a car that may have scored a 5 star NCAP in 2010 may only have scored 4 stars in 2013 due to the higher standards required by NCAP.
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Old 8th December 2013, 20:55   #6
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Default re: Do car platforms really matter? PQ35 vs MQB?

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Originally Posted by DerAlte View Post
Platform has nothing to do with the consumer / end-user. It is a means of streamlining engineering, production and costs for the manufacturer. Platform brings standardization and reduction in non-standard parts in stock, thereby reducing logistics and inventory cost. On the production side, platform represents a limited range of tooling & settings - leading to minimum effort in model changes on production line (even the automated / robotic ones). Think how much savings if the line is reconfigured on a daily basis to cater to a mix of actual off-take of models.

All such keywords are fodder for marketing woo-woo, as the general public laps it up - without ever wondering how that, at all, benefits them.
Platforms do matter in terms of construction and safety. For example to reduce weight car makers are using high strength steel instead of the old variant. The use of such steel is creative so that excessive expenditure is not a result. The MQB platform is made with weight reduction in mind and from what I have seen the platform such as MQB will be exactly the same here as it is abroad.

As far as it being fodder you are correct but seeing as the modular platform makes the underpinnings for a variety of manufactures in the future a thread on modular platforms is of significance.

Here is an extract from Golf Mk7

{

The new Golf: up to 100 kg less weight than its predecessor

Use high-strength & advanced high-strength steelgrades (HSS) and reduce sheet thickness

Ref. Page 28

http://www.volkswagenag.com/content/...on_Website.pdf

}

Quote:
Originally Posted by d3mon View Post
Please keep in mind that the tests for jetta are from 2011 while the ones for the octavia are from 2013. These ratings are not directly comparable.

For example, a car that may have scored a 5 star NCAP in 2010 may only have scored 4 stars in 2013 due to the higher standards required by NCAP.
That is correct but we are not comparing stars received by the car but the side impact analysis. As you can read from the Rating Plan from the below PDF there was no change is side pole impact markup and scoring meaning that the scores are comparable in this case.

http://www.euroncap.com/files/Rating...83a33645b5.pdf

Jetta - http://www.euroncap.com/files/445_datasheet.pdf

Octavia - http://www.euroncap.com/files/512_datasheet.pdf
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Old 9th December 2013, 08:02   #7
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Default re: Do car platforms really matter? PQ35 vs MQB?

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Originally Posted by Brishti View Post
Platforms do matter in terms of construction and safety. For example to reduce weight car makers are using high strength steel instead of the old variant. The use of such steel is creative so that excessive expenditure is not a result. The MQB platform is made with weight reduction in mind and from what I have seen the platform such as MQB will be exactly the same here as it is abroad.
Agree with you – platform do matter when in terms of construction and safety. All over the world, manufacturers are continuously looking to improve on shared platforms and weight reduction (without compromising on safety). The former helps on lowering cost, whereas the latter is key to attaining better efficiency, reduced emissions etc. Probably that’s why you get to hear in reviews that in the new Octavia, the tank-like feel (or the solid thud while closing the door) is missing.

In the specific case you have mentioned (between Jetta and Octavia), I don’t think there is much to differentiate when it comes to safety. Octavia being a newer model on a new platform obviously will have some improvements, but atleast from the data it looks marginal. PQ35 maybe an old platform, but there are quite a lot of proven cars on that platform; the current VW Jetta, Audi Q3, Skoda Yeti etc. In my opinion, instead of merely going by the platform, go by the model which gave you better driving experience, dealer/ASC competency etc.

If it’s a diesel AT, I would choose the Jetta over Octavia, and vice versa for Petrol. No extended warranty even after two years in the market is big downer for the Jetta though.
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Old 9th December 2013, 09:48   #8
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Default re: Do car platforms really matter? PQ35 vs MQB?

A newer platform/car may not always best an older one in terms of safety crash testing. From the links, it seems the Octavia has better frontal protection than Jetta, and poorer side pole impact protection, other things being more or less same.

Maybe, it has to do with wheelbase/length of car, and structural reinforcements on the sides ?
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Old 9th December 2013, 14:10   #9
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Default re: Do car platforms really matter? PQ35 vs MQB?

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Platforms do matter in terms of construction and safety. ...
As far as it being fodder you are correct but ...
Perhaps you can explain how a 'platform' are related to construction and safety? What would be the difference if a car has the same construction and safety level, but is not based on a / conceived of as a 'platform'?

Aren't you just proving that since the Marketing guys used the word 'platform', even you are associating the presence or absence of safety with 'platform' even though that association is redundant? Euro NCAP doesn't bother about construction and 'platform', but they look at safety standards independent of the same, don't they?
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Old 9th December 2013, 15:53   #10
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Default re: Do car platforms really matter? PQ35 vs MQB?

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Agree with you – platform do matter when in terms of construction and safety. All over the world, manufacturers are continuously looking to improve on shared platforms and weight reduction (without compromising on safety). The former helps on lowering cost, whereas the latter is key to attaining better efficiency, reduced emissions etc. Probably that’s why you get to hear in reviews that in the new Octavia, the tank-like feel (or the solid thud while closing the door) is missing.
I had a very lengthy talk with a senior engineer from Skoda when I had gone to ask about the new service plans for Octavia. He told me that MQB means parts will be shared and that means he can in theory use quite a lot of bits from cheaper MQB based cars in Octavia. This means due to standardization of parts I might get lower cost of ownership than the Jetta which will use model specific parts not to mention MQB platform will have a future something that PQ35 does not.

Referring to your advice I agree that diesel Jetta is better than diesel Octavia but those DSG box's are very unreliable to say the least. After the Skoda Superb fiasco parts availability and product reliability are of paramount interest to me.

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Originally Posted by lancer_rit View Post
A newer platform/car may not always best an older one in terms of safety crash testing. From the links, it seems the Octavia has better frontal protection than Jetta, and poorer side pole impact protection, other things being more or less same.

Maybe, it has to do with wheelbase/length of car, and structural reinforcements on the sides ?
The point of the new MQB platform is to be expandable without much r&d what that means is that a Polo based on MQB and a Passat based on MQB should have similar platform related characteristics. What this means is while VW had to use all sorts of reinforcements "After testing" when the expended the wheelbase of an older platform such as PQ35 now all the reinforcements needed to expand MQB are already known without much r&d.

Seeing how Jetta and Octavia have about the same wheelbase length its very interesting to see how the old and the new platform faceoff. As far as MQB goes it will be one of their two main modular platforms which will under pin everything from small to medium class cars so it has to be equal if not better than the older platform.

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Perhaps you can explain how a 'platform' are related to construction and safety? What would be the difference if a car has the same construction and safety level, but is not based on a / conceived of as a 'platform'?
Platform consists of floorpan which is one of the most important parts in an monocoque design. Its the foundation for the structural & mechanical components of monocoque design.

Bodyshell is what goes on top of the floorpan and while it does matter for the overall occupant cell the floorpan is the more important of the two for side safety and in effect has to be much more rigid than the side bodyshell owning the the lack of crumple space at the sides. For example in the pole crash test the floorpan has the greater participation than the bodyshell where as in frontal crash test the opposite might be true because the floorpan does not generally extend under the engine.

Last edited by Brishti : 9th December 2013 at 16:06.
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Old 9th December 2013, 16:26   #11
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Default re: Do car platforms really matter? PQ35 vs MQB?

"Platform" is a technique used to aggregate volumes at component level and at the same time achieve delayed differentiation at the product level. In simple terms manufacturers try to make many cars with minimum number of exclusive components.

The newer the platform better the safety can be a thumb rule. Newer platforms or cars generally have to meet stricter NCAP regulations than the older ones.

Eg: The Mahindra Scorpio got only 1 star rating in ANCAP, but XUV500 deserved a 4 star.

Lighter in weight does not mean the car is not safer. More and more composite and advanced lighter materials are used to keep the car light and tough in the newer cars.

That said and done, even older cars go through a ton of changes every now and then.
A car sold in EU currently, either old or new, needs to be safer.

the list that is mentioned above contains truly safe cars, sure to protect the occupants.
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Old 9th December 2013, 17:13   #12
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Default re: Do car platforms really matter? PQ35 vs MQB?

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... Platform consists of floorpan ...
Platform for a car manufacturer is a base BOM (Bill of Materials) of common parts, and the accompanying engineering drawings explaining how those parts go on together. 'Floorpan' or pressed chassis is one of the parts - there are a few hundred others. In MQB there are 2 or 3 of those making the chassis of a certain model or variant. Essentially the main 'floorpan' is part of the platform, with engine mount joined to it at production time. The engine mount part has holes pre-drilled to accept different engines and suspensions. The rear pan will differ based on whether the model is hatchback, sedan, van or SUV.

You still haven't answered my question. How does the *Platform* (not floorpan) relate to safety (to be considered validly relevant to the end user)?
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Old 9th December 2013, 17:59   #13
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Default re: Do car platforms really matter? PQ35 vs MQB?

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You still haven't answered my question. How does the *Platform* (not floorpan) relate to safety (to be considered validly relevant to the end user)?

Car platform does includes floorpan which includes higher strength metal frame outlining the floorpan. The following diagram shows the pink area as to what I am talking about:



Now this pink area is a part of the platform and thus has an huge impact on side safety. Furthermore this pink area can be expanded as and when required meaning if its expanded without proper reinforcement the end result will be lower side protection.

Do car platforms really matter? PQ35 vs MQB?-149647.jpg

Another extract:

"The complexity involved in trying to reduce costs and the number of components, meeting exceedingly strict emission and safety standards all the while reducing waste and consumption is obviously quite huge"

http://www.vwvortex.com/features/tec...-architecture/



I would summarize the answer to you question as simply that platforms weights are being reduced by using more and more higher strength metal in the platform. Floorpan outline is made of such a higher strength metal and this outline of higher strength metals very responsible for car side impact protection.



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Last edited by GTO : 11th December 2013 at 16:29. Reason: Please take a look at the mod note that has been added to the end of your post.
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Old 9th December 2013, 18:18   #14
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Default re: Do car platforms really matter? PQ35 vs MQB?

The Skoda Octavia platform in 2013 is definitely more superior that the 13 year old PQ35 platform. However, VW group's main focus to change the platform was to make it more accommodating and more flexible, safety was never an issue in the PQ35 chassis. If you're looking at Volvos, why don't you give a try to the V40 cross country. It is an excellent vehicle with brilliant dynamics and is filled with technology to the brim. VW group has solved some issues with the DSG by replacing the oil in the gearbox and they should not come back. Skoda should not have skimmed the independant suspension on the Octavia, afterall european cars are driving machines and it simply disconnects the rear of the car. This sort of set up is better in places like Germany where Autobahns allow you to travel at high speeds and near perfect roads, this is where this suspension is better. The Octavia also doesn't feel anywhere as solid and tanklike like the Jetta. If rear legroom is not an issue, the Jetta is an excellent vehicle. Also, Diesel would most likely get deregulated, so consider a petrol vehicle like the Camry, it definitely is best in class. Even I am confused at buying a car in the same segment.
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Old 9th December 2013, 22:13   #15
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Default re: Do car platforms really matter? PQ35 vs MQB?

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Now this pink area is a part of the platform and thus has an huge impact on side safety. Furthermore this pink area can be expanded as and when required meaning if its expanded without proper reinforcement the end result will be lower side protection.
The pink area pointed out by you has got nothing to do with the lower Euro Ncap rating in the tests.

In the two tests, the issue on safety is only wrt to Side Impact - Pole and not Side Impact - Car. I trust you know the difference between the two as I am not going into that here.

If you look at the Side Impact - Pole data it is the thoracic region which is shown as weak whereas the pelvis region is good and the abdomen is adequate. The safety in the thoracic region is a function of the A pillar, B pillar, side impact beams and to some extent even the C pillar.

The fact that the abdomen and pelvis regions are shown as having good / adequate safety indicates that there is adequate safety closer to the platform area or the pelvis and abdomen would have been effected too. The platform has passed the safety tests adequately as the Side Impact - Car tests indicate the safety level as good and there is an issue only in the thoracic region of the Side Impact - Pole tests which is not a function of the platform area.

The PQ35 and the MQB platforms therefore have adequate safety as per the Euro ncap tests.

Last edited by VeyronSuperSprt : 9th December 2013 at 22:17.
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