The Octavia continues to delight and frustrate, but thankfully not in equal measure. Generally itís brilliant at everything it does, but as explained in the last issue, occasionally it throws a wobbly. No sooner had I submitted my last report than the phone system dialled somebody in my phone book at random, and that person just happened to be Ian Robertson, esteemed editor of this very organ.
Ian reckoned it was probably the phone playing up, assuming that I use the Apple CarPlay function. But I donít; I prefer to pair the car to the phone using Bluetooth, whereas hooking up via CarPlay means connecting the phone to the USB socket via a cable. Since I first paired the phone to the car back in May, the two have generally spoken to each other quite happily. But occasionally they need a nudge to do so, which means going into the phoneís settings and manually connecting the two at the start of a journey. After discussing these glitches with my colleague Vicky, who shares the Skoda, it turns out that sheís been having similar woes with her Android phone. Sheíll be having a conversation and the Bluetooth will disconnect without warning. On a recent call, it did just that and started to search for my phone even though I was miles away. All the while, the person sheíd been talking to could hear the Skoda radio playing in the background, but any conversation was off the menu. I wondered if the Octaviaís voice control function was playing up, thinking that I was asking it to do things when I wasnít. But as I donít speak to myself or sing along to the music (but I am great fun at parties, honestly) and I generally travel solo, I couldnít see where it might be taking its instructions from.
One of the reasons why Iíve not been bothered about using CarPlay is that to do so my phoneís Siri voice activation must be enabled, and I donít want my car or phone to think Iím telling it to do something when Iím not. Besides, CarPlay doesnít offer any useful functionality over and above whatís already built in to the Skodaís generally excellent multi-media system. While itís possible to add apps, the standard ones offer the same functions as those already integral with the media system: phone, music, maps and messages. I donít need to dictate text messages on the move, which means Iím left with just the other three ñ all of which are integral to the media system anyway. I think some of this is technology for the sake of it; others think Iím just a reactionary old duffer. I darenít put it to the vote.
Date arrived snd May 2017
Fuel economy 65.7mpg (combined) 52.5mpg (on test)
The seats are trimmed in Alcantara and leather and are excellent. Nicely supportive and comfortable, they make longer journeys a breeze.
Once the rear seats have been folded down, when they’re put back up again the seat belts get trapped too easily, marking the plastic seat surround.