Our cars: Skoda Octavia 2.0 TDI - June

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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

Read the full Skoda Octavia review

Week ending June 26
Mileage 11,663 
Driven this week 114

I’m glad I went for the standard wheels on my SE-spec Octavia.

Sure, they didn’t cost me any extra and (to my eyes at least) they look good, but another reason is that they’re really easy to clean.

Wheels with lots of tiny spokes (such as those on many Alpinas and the Ford Fiesta Zetec S I owned years ago) are a pain – literally – to keep spotless; in contrast, the Octavia’s five-spoke ones are a godsend for the OCD wheel cleaners among us.

By Barnaby Jones
Barnaby.Jones@whatcar.com



Read the full Skoda Octavia review

Week ending June 19
Mileage 11,549
Driven this week 193

Last week’s report was about how good my Octavia was at taking two people and luggage for four to Belgium; this week’s focuses on how it fared as a taxi during those few days away.

There was loads of space for the four of us, and my two friends in the back were particularly impressed with the amount of legroom they had.

It didn’t take long for some issues to surface, though. There was the odd comment from the rear seats about ride comfort and the amount of road noise, and, like my pal up front, they’d have liked an armrest in the middle (front and rear armrests are optional on my SE-spec Octavia).

Still, all was forgotten once the fuel economy for the trip was calculated. The Octavia had done 560 miles (there was still about a fifth of a tank of diesel left) and averaged 62.6mpg. True, I was driving in ‘holiday mode’, so a bit slower than usual, but the car was often carrying two or more people during that time, plus it did a fair few miles in town. Either way, that’s a superb result for such a large car with a 2.0-litre engine.

Would I recommend the Octavia as holiday transport, then? Certainly. It’s spacious, economical and effortless to drive, which more than makes up for the slight comfort and refinement shortcomings.

By Barnaby Jones
Barnaby.Jones@whatcar.com


Week ending June 13

Mileage 11,356
Driven this week 414

The Octavia was put to work as holiday transport last week, when three friends and I went to Belgium for a few days’ cycling and sightseeing.

My friend’s Vauxhall Zafira was the perfect size and shape for the four bikes, so the Octavia was tasked with taking everyone’s cycling gear and luggage.

It’s safe to say that the bags and boxes didn’t seriously test the Octavia’s interior dimensions, and anything that didn’t fit in the boot went on the back seats, leaving my vision blissfully unobstructed.

After a relaxing ferry crossing with P&O Ferries (poferries.com, 08716 642 020), the Octavia was suitably effortless to drive on the way through France and into Belgium, and its sat-nav system took us straight to our secluded B&B.

We then travelled by bike during the day, but the Octavia was used to transport the four of us around in the evenings. Come back next week to hear how it got on (it’s not all good news) and what fuel economy it did over the holiday (it’s seriously impressive, trust me).

By Barnaby Jones
Barnaby.Jones@whatcar.com


Week ending June 6
Mileage 10,942
Driven this week 194

In an attempt to figure out just how Barnaby is managing to average more than 50mpg in his 2.0-litre diesel Octavia – when I consistently get high 40s from my Volkswagen Golf 1.6 TDI – I recently borrowed it for a week.

First, there’s the obvious: the Octavia has six forward gears, whereas the Golf has five and therefore revs more highly on the motorway, which is where I spend most of my commute.

It took me a few days to realise what other factor plays a part, and then it hit me: you don’t need to work the Skoda’s engine anywhere near as hard as the VW’s to make decent progress. Unsurprisingly, the Octavia’s motor has more power and more torque, and is more relaxed in all situations.

The official economy figures suggest that the Golf should be bettering the Octavia by around 5mpg, but that’s plainly not what’s happening – further proof that the shrinking of diesel (and petrol) engines in an effort to reduce official CO2 emissions doesn’t always have the desired effect on fuel economy.

I’m dying to see what sort of results our True MPG team will get from the Mondeo when Ford starts selling it with the 1.0-litre Ecoboost petrol engine.

By Rob Keenan
Rob.Keenan@whatcar.com

Our cars: Skoda Octavia 2.0 TDI - May

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