It’s funny how perceptions of a car can differ between people, and also how a brief conversation can change those perceptions. Ever since our Octavia arrived on the long-term fleet, it has averaged just over 52mpg, which bearing in mind its size and available performance, plus the fact itís driven generally at high speeds, Iíd say is pretty good.
But recently I got speaking to a friend and I began to wonder if 52mpg is so good after all. Heíd run Ford Mondeos for years and after owning three in a row he decided it was time for a change. He asked me what he should buy instead, and I recommended an Octavia as it ticked every one of his boxes. He was sceptical, because he didnít know anybody who owned a Skoda and he still perceived the brand as a bit rubbish. Despite this, he visited his local Skoda dealer and came away with a new Octavia 1.4 TSI DSG in range-topping SE L trim.
Two years on he still discovers features on his car that he didnít know were even a thing, and heís never less than evangelical about it. He loves everything about his Octavia ñ the performance, reliability, comfort, spacious cabin, the equipment levels, the dealer. And the list goes on. Then came the crunch; despite driving his car rather hard for the past two years, heís averaged 52mpg with it. So his small-capacity petrol engine (albeit turbocharged), with an automatic transmission, gives exactly the same fuel consumption as our 2.0-litre diesel, which rather put things into perspective.
Despite this, I still think that 52mpg isnít bad over the 9,000 miles weíve done so far. And the engine isnít just parsimonious when it comes to fuel, as it has also used virtually no oil; Volkswagen Group powerplants have a reputation for needing regular lubricant top ups. The ownerís manual states that half a litre every 600 miles isnít unusual once an engine is run in, and consumption can be even higher for the first 3,000 miles. The dipstick is almost up to the mark, although it hasnít been topped up for at least 9,000 miles (it had 2,465 miles on the clock when it arrived), so in theory itíll be okay up to its first service, due at around 18,600 miles.
By this point the tyres will probably be low on grip as theyíve got about 4 millimetres of tread left. With new tyres having 8 millimetres and the car now sitting at just under 12,000 miles, realistically weíd be able to get at least 19,000 miles out of a set. So 52mpg, negligible oil usage and over 19k from a set of tyres seem pretty good to me. Or am I pleased too easily?
Date arrived 2nd May 2017
Fuel economy 65.7mpg (combined) 52.7mpg (on test)
The infotainment system is user-friendly with clear graphics.
The car is so well sealed that with the doors closed, the hatch has to be slammed surprisingly hard if it’s to latch properly.