Since the introduction of the current Skoda Octavia in 2013, I have had the pleasure of testing most of its model variants from the economical 1.6 TDI right up to the high performance 2.0 TSI vRS and to this day have struggled to find a single thing I do not like about any of them. I’d almost describe the car as bullet proof. As a motoring writer, things like this tend to annoy me. But on this occasion I am happy to say I have finally found something I do not like about the latest 4x4 example I recently had the pleasure of testing and that is…. the colour combo – denim blue with cream cloth interior complete with wood effect decorative inserts! Let’s just say it would not be my choice.
Having said that, it is annoyingly outstanding on all other levels. It’s comfortable, it’s very well put together, there’s a real sense of quality, ergonomics are great and it looks really good. I will go as far as to say that it has one of the most comfortable driving positions in any car I have driven. The gear stick is at the perfect level and the VW 6 speed manual in the Octavia in particular just feels that bit better. This may read like a sponsored piece but I can reassure you it is not. I just think the world deserves to know how good a standard size family saloon can be.
This particular weeks test featured the 2.0 TDI 150bhp ‘Elegance’ with a 6 speed manual transmission in 4x4 guise. Not that is a family car for off-reading, it just allows more room for confidence while driving in more challenging conditions. The Skoda Octavia 4x4 is fitted with Volkswagen’s Haldex system. In normal driving conditions this system puts the majority of power (48%) to the front wheels. If grip is not good it will share the power (25%) to each corner and likewise if grip is lost at the front or back, and it can even send 85% to one wheel if required. The car is never actually 4 wheel drive at any time which is good news for fuel economy.
Having two young children, each test cars tends to get a thorough going over. This includes school runs, shop runs and trips to see family. This means, child seats, booster, buggies, bikes, scooters, you get the idea. Again the Octavia comes up trumps here. Like its larger sibling the Superb, the Skoda Octavia allows ample room in the rear so getting the kids in and out is pretty easy, when they are willing to comply of course. The Octavia is also has a clever hatch which opens up into a cavernous boot so storage is not an issue. On the road, the Octavia feels agile with the 2.0 TDI adding plenty of grunt. Steering is nice and the 6 speed manual is rather silky. It can however be noisy on the move depending on the surface of our beautiful Irish B roads.
On a value for money level, the Skoda comes very well equipped but you do get what you’re paying for. The Skoda Octavia has an entry level price of €18,995 for the 1.2 TSI ‘Active’ petrol with our higher spec 2.0 TDI 4x4 ‘Elegance’ test car coming in at €31,445. That is quite a leap but it comes with quite a lot of kit. In addition to the multiple air bags, child safety systems and day running lights which are just some of the spec with the standard Octavia, the Elegance also comes with 17 alloy wheels, rear arm rest, Dualtronic climate control, auto dimming rear view mirror, rear park distance control, cruise control, light assist and rain sensors.
Skoda may boast about its practicality and reliability and rightly so, but it is also a very handsome, well-built car. So the next time you are thinking Volkswagen Golf, but actually require a bit more space, the Octavia could be the very car for you.