Our cars: Skoda Octavia 2.0 TDI - January

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  • The Octavia's heated windscreen employs very fine wire elements, and clears ice in seconds

    The Octavia's heated windscreen employs very fine wire elements, and clears ice in seconds

  • The standard stereo is pretty good, and although the upgraded system is better, it's not significantly so

    The standard stereo is pretty good, and although the upgraded system is better, it's not significantly so

  • Our Octavia's touch-screen system has developed a habit of freezing

    Our Octavia's touch-screen system has developed a habit of freezing

  • This Octavia Scout is good, but our standard model is the better bet in most ways

    This Octavia Scout is good, but our standard model is the better bet in most ways

  • The Octavia has been bashed by a mystery errant driver, but thankfully the damage is only slight

    The Octavia has been bashed by a mystery errant driver, but thankfully the damage is only slight

  • User-friendliness isn't a strength of the Octavia's touch-screen sat-nav system

    User-friendliness isn't a strength of the Octavia's touch-screen sat-nav system

  • Our Octavia regularly does more than 50mpg, and nearer 60 is pretty easy to achieve

    Our Octavia regularly does more than 50mpg, and nearer 60 is pretty easy to achieve

  • Rain water collects on our Octavia's sill, where it stays until the door is opened

    Rain water collects on our Octavia's sill, where it stays until the door is opened

  • The Octavia's numberplate is coming away from the metal, leaving it to rattle when the tailgate is closed

    The Octavia's numberplate is coming away from the metal, leaving it to rattle when the tailgate is closed

  • We still haven't found anyone tall enough to feel cramped in the rear seats

    We still haven't found anyone tall enough to feel cramped in the rear seats

  • Octavia's driving position is comfortable, and its steering, pedals and gearshift are light and precise

    Octavia's driving position is comfortable, and its steering, pedals and gearshift are light and precise

  • 'His and hers' climate control allows both people up front to keep their cool

    'His and hers' climate control allows both people up front to keep their cool

  • A photographer's gear holds no fear for the Octavia's massive boot

    A photographer's gear holds no fear for the Octavia's massive boot

  • Our Octavia is easy and effortless to drive, which makes it a pleasure to commute in

    Our Octavia is easy and effortless to drive, which makes it a pleasure to commute in

  • There's concern that this boot pull will appeal to chewing dogs

    There's concern that this boot pull will appeal to chewing dogs

  • One Octavia driver is finding it tricky to select first gear from reverse

    One Octavia driver is finding it tricky to select first gear from reverse

  • Whatever the gear, whatever the speed, our 2.0-litre diesel Octavia feels far faster than the 1.6

    Whatever the gear, whatever the speed, our 2.0-litre diesel Octavia feels far faster than the 1.6

  • Octavia was good at family transport on a trip to Goodwood on Saturday...

    Octavia was good at family transport on a trip to Goodwood on Saturday...

  • ...then good at transporting unwanted family stuff on the Sunday

    ...then good at transporting unwanted family stuff on the Sunday

  • Octavia was impressively economical on holiday to Belgium, if not outstanding as a taxi

    Octavia was impressively economical on holiday to Belgium, if not outstanding as a taxi

  • Huge Octavia was hugely useful as cycling holiday transport, as was friend's Vauxhall Zafira

    Huge Octavia was hugely useful as cycling holiday transport, as was friend's Vauxhall Zafira

  • A punchy 2.0-litre diesel engine and a six-speed gearbox equals excellent economy

    A punchy 2.0-litre diesel engine and a six-speed gearbox equals excellent economy

  • Amundsen sat-nav system is good value at £550; it's simple to use and has clear graphics

    Amundsen sat-nav system is good value at £550; it's simple to use and has clear graphics

  • This 4x4 Octavia rides better than our front-wheel-drive model, but it's still not quite supple enough

    This 4x4 Octavia rides better than our front-wheel-drive model, but it's still not quite supple enough

  • The oil temperature display is invaluable – or at least we think it is

    The oil temperature display is invaluable – or at least we think it is

  • Unlike those in some modern cars, the Octavia's glovebox is usefully large

    Unlike those in some modern cars, the Octavia's glovebox is usefully large

  • The Octavia's rattle has finally been fixed by Marlborough Skoda, Isleworth...

    The Octavia's rattle has finally been fixed by Marlborough Skoda, Isleworth...

  • ...even if the door panel wasn't to blame, as originally thought

    ...even if the door panel wasn't to blame, as originally thought

  • The Octavia is superb bike transport...

    The Octavia is superb bike transport...

  • ...not least because my bike fits in whole

    ...not least because my bike fits in whole

  • The ride is fidgety and picks up on too many bumps, but it's far from unacceptable

    The ride is fidgety and picks up on too many bumps, but it's far from unacceptable

  • Our 2.0-litre diesel Octavia is great at making motorway miles melt away

    Our 2.0-litre diesel Octavia is great at making motorway miles melt away

  • Standard touch-screen system reacts even before you've touched the screen – clever

    Standard touch-screen system reacts even before you've touched the screen – clever

  • Driving Mode Selection button doesn't make much difference to how the car feels, so is hardly used

    Driving Mode Selection button doesn't make much difference to how the car feels, so is hardly used

  • We wish we'd spent £150 for audio controls on the steering wheel

    We wish we'd spent £150 for audio controls on the steering wheel

  • Readout is probably optimistic, but still better than Ed managed in a 1.6 TDI version

    Readout is probably optimistic, but still better than Ed managed in a 1.6 TDI version

  • Bag hooks are big, sturdy and useful – a prime example of our Skoda being 'simply clever'

    Bag hooks are big, sturdy and useful – a prime example of our Skoda being 'simply clever'

  • The wrong door panel was delivered, so the original (rattling) one is still in place

    The wrong door panel was delivered, so the original (rattling) one is still in place

  • Open wide: Octavia's boot is so big, we had to photograph it from far away

    Open wide: Octavia's boot is so big, we had to photograph it from far away

  • New passenger door panel is needed to fix the rattle; it's been ordered, so all should be quiet soon

    New passenger door panel is needed to fix the rattle; it's been ordered, so all should be quiet soon

  • Octavia's underfloor boot storage space is handy, if rarely used

    Octavia's underfloor boot storage space is handy, if rarely used

  • The Octavia's £495 Race Blue metallic paint hides the winter dirt well

    The Octavia's £495 Race Blue metallic paint hides the winter dirt well

  • Octavia did us proud over the Christmas break; Dartmoor views weren't bad, either

    Octavia did us proud over the Christmas break; Dartmoor views weren't bad, either

  • Friendly nudge to not leave your phone on display

    Friendly nudge to not leave your phone on display

  • Cavernous boot space is a stretch to get to the back of

    Cavernous boot space is a stretch to get to the back of

  • The Octavia's quality and 'honesty' impressed colleague Stephen Hopkins

    The Octavia's quality and 'honesty' impressed colleague Stephen Hopkins

  • Octavia was fine transport for weekend trip to the Devon countryside

    Octavia was fine transport for weekend trip to the Devon countryside

  • A bit of tyre pressure tweakery has improved the ride

    A bit of tyre pressure tweakery has improved the ride

  • Maximum seat heat should be used only in extreme winter conditions

    Maximum seat heat should be used only in extreme winter conditions

  • The Octavia getting the thumbs up from my family

    The Octavia getting the thumbs up from my family

  • Our Octavia (on the left) has replaced our Rapid

    Our Octavia (on the left) has replaced our Rapid

  • The Octavia offers loads of space for a very reasonable price

    The Octavia offers loads of space for a very reasonable price

  • Our 2.0-litre diesel model in SE trim is £20,140, before options

    Our 2.0-litre diesel model in SE trim is £20,140, before options

  • Interior looks and feels classy; it's got plenty of equipment, too

    Interior looks and feels classy; it's got plenty of equipment, too

  • Boot is massive – and there's extra storage beneath the floor

    Boot is massive – and there's extra storage beneath the floor

  • The 2.0-litre diesel engine is strong, smooth and pretty quiet

    The 2.0-litre diesel engine is strong, smooth and pretty quiet

  • The ride is a bit unsettled, especially on urban roads

    The ride is a bit unsettled, especially on urban roads

  • Plenty of seat and steering wheel adjustment, so it's easy to get comfortable

    Plenty of seat and steering wheel adjustment, so it's easy to get comfortable

  • Octavia handles neatly and has nicely weighted steering

    Octavia handles neatly and has nicely weighted steering

  • There's loads of space back here, even for the tallest adults

    There's loads of space back here, even for the tallest adults

  • Octavia is generally hushed, apart from road noise on coarse surfaces

    Octavia is generally hushed, apart from road noise on coarse surfaces

  • Apple-specific audio connection is £100, then it's £50 for the lead!

    Apple-specific audio connection is £100, then it's £50 for the lead!

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Skoda Octavia 2.0 TDI 150 SE

Week ending January 31
Mileage 6228
Miles driven this week 963

Read the full Skoda Octavia review

The Skoda Octavia has had a new driver this week. Regular contributor Tony Middlehurst has borrowed it for his long commute from Wiltshire to the What Car? office in Middlesex. Here’s what he thought of it.

‘Some cars are big-hearted. Others are just plain big. The Octavia ticks both boxes. On a tangled 100-mile rush-hour commute, the Skoda’s information display recorded 56mpg, thanks at least in part to the Octavia’s relaxed sixth-gear cruising ability. The ride is nudging towards hard with just the driver on board, but firm suspension can be a blessing when family holiday time comes around. Also, the Octavia’s enormous boot gives your kids the luxury of not having to leave anything behind – and they’re unlikely to complain about being cramped in the back, either.’

All true, Tony, and I’m glad you like the car so much. Now, can I have the keys back, please?

By Barnaby Jones
Barnaby.Jones@whatcar.com

Week ending January 24
Mileage 5265
Miles driven this week 154

Read the full Skoda Octavia review

Sadly, the Octavia’s rattle has yet to be fixed.

To recap, there’s been an intermittent rattle coming from inside the passenger door for some weeks. It’s most noticeable on cold mornings and on bumpy surfaces which, considering the winter weather and the state of our roads, means I’ve been hearing it quite a lot lately.

Professional attention was required, so last Wednesday I booked the Octavia in at my local dealer, Marlborough Skoda in Isleworth, to have it looked at.

The service part of the dealership was pretty rough and ready, but the friendly staff were helpful, and the courtesy car was clean and – shock horror – had a decent amount of fuel in it.

I was called in the afternoon and told that a new door panel was required, which would arrive on the Friday morning.

Frustratingly, Friday morning came, but the door panel did not. Marlborough rang the parts supplier, who said that the panel would now be ‘delivered within seven days’.

So I’ve now got my Octavia back, and will book it in again when the part finally arrives. All I need now is some warmer weather and some smooth roads to drive on until the rattle can (hopefully) be sorted for good.

By Barnaby Jones
Barnaby.Jones@whatcar.com

Week ending January 17
Mileage 5111
Miles driven this week 309

Read the full Skoda Octavia review

I don’t use the Octavia’s underfloor boot storage space very often, but whenever I do, I find it really useful.

You see, the Octavia doesn’t come with a spare wheel as standard (and I didn’t add the optional space-saver spare for £75), so there’s a deep well under the floor that’ll take a few carrier bags.

This is partitioned, so is ideal for stopping small items moving about too much – and in a boot as huge as the Octavia’s, they have a long way to move. True, there’s a small sectioned-off space on the left-hand-side of the boot, but it doesn’t take much to fill that, so this additional storage space comes in handy.

Of course, if I have a puncture that can’t be repaired with the standard tyre repair kit, I’d rather have a spare wheel than occasional extra room for bags.

Talking of repairs, the rattle in the passenger door I mentioned last week should be fixed in time for my next report. A new interior door panel is required, which the dealer has ordered. Read all the details here next week.

By Barnaby Jones
Barnaby.Jones@whatcar.com

Week ending January 10
Mileage 4802
Miles driven this week 211

Read the full Skoda Octavia review

I’m glad I went for my Skoda Octavia in Race Blue. At £495, it’s not expensive for metallic paint, plus almost everyone who sees the car says they like the colour.

It also hides the dirt well. Even after three weeks and more than 1200 miles, the Octavia still looks reasonably clean. (Well, it does so long as you don’t get up too close.)

In other news, I’ve finally booked the car in to have the rattle in the passenger door fixed. In typical car rattle fashion, it’s there sometimes, but sometimes it’s not. Still, it’s loud and annoying when you do hear it, so the time has come to get it sorted.

Log on next week to see if peace and quiet have returned to Skoda ownership.

By Barnaby Jones
Barnaby.Jones@whatcar.com

Week ending January 3
Mileage 4591
Miles driven this week 655

Read the full Skoda Octavia review

It was a busy Christmas schedule for the Octavia, with trips from Surrey to Somerset and back, and then down to Devon for New Year’s Eve.

It was a good way to do more than 1000 miles in such a short amount of time. Firstly, its huge boot took all the presents for my niece and nephew on Christmas Day. It was relaxing on the 145-mile drive, and the return trip on Boxing Day was just as good.

The Octavia’s luggage space and long-distance ability were also great on the journey to Devon, as was the optional sat-nav’s dynamic route function, which diverted me around long tailbacks in Wiltshire and Somerset.

After a few days doing short trips, it was time for the Octavia’s biggest challenge – taking my girlfriend’s luggage home. Again, the boot swallowed everything, and the strong diesel engine shrugged off the extra weight in the car.

Atrocious weather conditions could have made the drive to Surrey an arduous one, but the Octavia sailed through any standing water and felt reassuringly stable on the sodden roads.

Best of all, the trip computer showed 60.5mpg for the journey, which is mightily impressive for such a large car with a 2.0-litre diesel engine.

By Barnaby Jones - Barnaby.Jones@whatcar.com

Our cars: Skoda Octavia 2.0 TDI - December

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