Our Octavia continues to have a relatively easy life, with the mileage increasing at the rate of 1,500 or so per month. The only annoyances in that time have been the same ones that struck our previous Octavia; namely Bluetooth glitches that see the phone disconnecting mid-call, or the streamed music doing weird things, such as skipping between playlists or playing only short snippets of a track before jumping onto the next.
Overall, this Octavia impresses every bit as much as the hatchback that we ran before it for seven months. However, while Iím a big fan of the Octavia, I canít match the enthusiasm that my uncle Stephen has for his. A taxi driver based in Telford, Shropshire, Stephen has racked up hundreds of thousands of miles in Skoda Octavias, and reckons itís the best car that a taxi driver can buy, which is why many of his colleagues on the rank are running them too.
Says Stephen: ìIím on my second Octavia, having bought my first one brand new about a decade ago. I took that from delivery mileage to 195,000 miles, before selling it to another cabbie who took it to 350,000 miles; it could have done a lot more, but it was hired out to some drivers who abused it. The dual-mass flywheel failed at 70,000 miles, so that was replaced along with the clutch, while the camshaft was replaced later on, but that was it.î
He adds: ìThat first Octavia was an entry-level Classic edition, so when I came to replace it nearly six years ago, I opted for an Elegance model with a bit more luxury. I also bought a used car; at a year old with 9,000 miles on the clock it was nicely run in. Now it has 245,000 miles on the clock and itís been almost completely reliable in that time. Itís still on the original clutch, but it needed a new EGR valve (at £700) along with a replacement oil cooler that cost £500 to fix. A £50 replacement glow plug has also been fitted, but thatís it.î
Itís easy to see why so many cabbies drive Octavias. Stephen enthuses: ìMy 1.6-litre car averages 50 to 52mpg, even though I do a lot of driving around town. On a run itís not hard to get 65mpg, yet thereís never any shortage of power on the motorway. When you consider how much car you get for your money ñ I paid just £12,000 for my current Skoda ñ along with how comfortable and spacious it is, the Octavia is the perfect taxi. My customers are always amazed at just how much the boot will swallow; itíll easily accommodate a wheelchair with plenty of luggage or some shopping.î
Thereís only one car that Stephen would replace his Octavia with, and thatís either another Octavia, or ideally a Superb. He quite fancies one of the current Superb estates, a car that would be the ideal taxi with its space, comfort, low running costs and reliability.
Date arrived 29th November 2017
Fuel economy 64.2mpg (combined) 45.5mpg (on test)
A lot of cars come with automatic headlights, but without any indication of whether or not they’re activated. The Skoda’s switchgear lights up when the lights come on in automatic mode.
The 18-inch wheels of this car delivers ride comfort that’s noticeably inferior to the 17-inch alloys on our previous Octavia. Both cars share the same adjustable suspension.