I’m no technophobe. Indeed, I’m something of a gadget lover, even if Iím rarely an early adopter. Perhaps it was my enthusiasm for Sonyís ill-fated Minidisc tech, soon after its arrival, that put paid to me jumping onto any technological bandwagons before the masses. Whatever the reason, I love trying out new things, although Iím often not persuaded by the claimed benefits. Many modern cars are the perfect case in point, as theyíre filled with tech that seems to be there because it can be, rather than because itís genuinely useful.
Our long-term Octavia doesnít particularly fall into this trap, although itís got more than its fair share of buttons. The multi-media system is a good example; every feature in there seems to have a menu with further sub-menus. Spend an hour delving and itís guaranteed to be a voyage of discovery. Something that I reckon is a universal truth is that voice control is rarely more convenient than having buttons, unless theyíre hidden in a sub-menu. Iím also convinced that no factory-fit navigation system can match the user-friendliness or convenience of a TomTom. Both of these things apply to the Skoda, and Iím no Luddite, so no protestations of me being reactionary please.
What really ground my gears recently was a couple of glitches within the multimedia system that shouldnít have been possible ñ yet they happened on several occasions. The fun started on a long journey one evening, when I was streaming music from my phone and suddenly things went quiet. The display then informed me that I was being connected to a random person in my phone book. It connected before I had time to intervene, but I rang off before the call was answered. The system then called someone else and while I was trying to disconnect that call the first person was leaving me a message, so I had to then call them back to say my car was the culprit, not me. In the end, I had to switch off the Bluetooth to disconnect the phone from the car ñ hardly ideal.
The next time I tried to stream music from the phone the car decided to skip through tracks on my chosen playlist, before then moving to a different playlist altogether ñ but at least it didnít unilaterally decide to start phoning people from my contacts list, although it had done so on three different occasions before this point. As I write this, the multi-media system has been behaving itself for more than a fortnight, so hopefully itís now calmed down. For all I know it could be a glitch with the new iPhone SE that I got in the same week that the Octavia was delivered, rather than with the car itself. The chances are weíll never know.
Date arrived 2nd May 2017
Fuel economy 65.7mpg (combined) 51.8mpg (on test)
There’s a retractable hook on either side of the boot. Sturdy and spring-loaded, they’re just the job for stopping bags from flying around.
All Octavias come with cruise control as standard, apart from the entry-level S edition. But adaptive cruise control is a £390 option.