So the Octavia hasn’t exactly been good as gold whilst with Mr Fossdyke, but as far as I’m concerned, the car comes to me with a clean sheet, and we’ll see how long that lasts. Niggles encountered aside, James was positive towards the Octavia, and who can blame him. It’s a Skoda and a nice one. The makers have yet again managed to magically create a car that’s super-size on the inside, but somehow isn’t on the outside. It feels airy, has a big boot and six footers can comfortably sit behind me, despite the fact that I’m 6ft 3 – no wonder these cars are a cabby’s favourite.
The swap over of keys took place at a Sainsbury’s car park at Cheltenham, and first impressions were good. The seats are a beautiful design, even if they feel a little unsupportive of my fussy back, but nobody else has complained. The cabin is a lovely, clean design with some really classy touches, like the chrome strip on the door that doubles up as the door handle. It’s really refreshing to see some flair and imagination utilised on the inside after a few generations of predictability. That said, I’m not completely sold on the external appearance of the car so far, but equally haven’t worked out what is troubling me about the design. No doubt it’ll come to me in time.
I thought the large touchscreen containing all of the functions was going to be an annoyance, as is the trend amongst car makers right now, but no, so far all is well. Yes, the climate control buttons are buried in the interface, but the actual temperature settings are always on show, which makes it more logical than other systems that I’ve used. It’s a little fiddly to switch between the radio and Bluetooth, for example, but is a whole lot easier than its sister cars, the Golf and Leon. Whereas the dashboard volume control just adjusts the radio on the Octavia, it also adjusts the temperature settings on the Golf, so you’re never quite sure if you’re adjusting the temperature or volume, or both with that one.
In the Octavia 2.0 TDI, there’s a choice of 114, 148 or 197bhp, and it’s the most modest of three outputs that we’re running here, paired to a six-speed manual gearbox. It’s a lovely engine, which feels like it has so much more punch than it’s letting on, and I’ve been impressed with the low down pulling power. One of the complaints that I had with my old Superb estate long-term car from way-back-when was if the engine revs dropped below around 1,600rpm, it was totally finished and some frantic gear changing was needed to prod some life back into it, but the Octavia will literally pull from near tick-over without fuss or complaint.
Date arrived 10th September 2020
Economy (WLTP combined) 55.4-62.8mpg
Economy (On test) 58.8mpg