Our cars: Skoda Octavia 2.0 TDI - March

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  • 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!

/

Skoda Octavia 2.0 TDI 150 SE

Week ending March 28
Mileage 9039
Miles this week 165

Read the full Skoda Octavia review

Last week’s update was about the Octavia’s Driving Mode Selection – a function that’s not much cop, so hardly gets used.

That’s not something you can say about the standard touch-screen system, though. It controls the stereo, phone operation, various car settings and the optional sat-nav, so it’d be a real pain if it wasn’t good to use.

Thankfully it is. It’s simple to find your way around the various menus (helped by large short-cut buttons on either side of the screen), is easy to use on the move and responds pretty quickly to finger prods. Proximity sensors mean the screen even displays various functions before you touch it. It sounds spooky, but it's actually pretty cool.

By Barnaby Jones
Barnaby.Jones@whatcar.com

Week ending March 21
Mileage 8874
Miles this week 361

Read the full Skoda Octavia review

My SE-spec Octavia comes with Driving Mode Selection as standard.

At the press of a button, this allows you to alter the responsiveness of the engine and accelerator, the weight of the steering and how effective the climate control is.

Being able to tailor the car to suit your mood or to save fuel sounds great, and could be genuinely useful if you and your partner prefer a car to feel and behave slightly differently.

The thing is, ‘slightly’ is the word. The various settings are all so similar that you hardly notice any difference between them.

Also, put the steering in ‘Sport’ mode and all you get is extra weight, which simply makes the car feel less wieldy most of the time.

Similar systems in other cars can make a positive difference, but this one is largely useless, so more often than not the button remains unpressed.

By Barnaby Jones
Barnaby.Jones@whatcar.com

Week ending March 14
Mileage 8513
Miles this week 203

Read the full Skoda Octavia review

On paper, our Octavia offers Golf quality for less cash.

At first it also looks like a more convincing family car than the Golf, with an extremely spacious interior and a massive boot. The handsome, well made and entirely logical dash and dials all look like they’ve been lifted straight from the mighty VW/Audi parts bin, with the exception of the cheap-looking Skoda steering wheel.

Add in reasonable performance, excellent real-world economy and potential target prices as low as £18,000, and I began to see why our road test team voted the Octavia winner of the family car section in our Car of the Year awards.

However, our particular car lacks a central armrest and audio controls on the steering wheel, which I find slightly irritating. I'm even more irritated by the handbrake, which requires Herculean effort to operate. The old Octavia used to feel lighter on its feet than its VW/Audi equivalents, but this new one feels heavier and stiffer, as if it’s been rather unnecessarily beefed up.

Worse, the low speed ride is too firm and prone to fidget. I could accept this on a sportier version, but our SE wears modest 16-inch wheels and relatively high-profile tyres with plenty of sidewall.

Thus equipped, the Octavia is not by any means an interesting car to drive, so it comes as a disappointment to find that if the car has any liveliness at all it appears to be only in the ride quality.

Mark Pearson

Week ending March 7
Mileage 8310
Miles driven this week 181

Every week I delve into our extensive True MPG database (it now covers around 400 models) to produce a round-up of real-world fuel economy figures for different types of car.

One of the things I always notice is that 2.0-litre diesel engines tend to come remarkably close to matching their official MPG data. These 2.0s are usually flexible engines with between 140bhp and 160bhp, which can pull in top gear from relatively low revs.

Our long-term Skoda Octavia is no different. The 148bhp engine is strong and reasonably smooth, yet its extra grunt over the 1.6 TDI doesn’t really dent the fuel economy. In fact, with my driving style, it beats the smaller unit.

I’ve driven two Octavia 1.6 TDI models in the last year, and the best figure I saw on the readout was 62.3mpg. However, driving on similar roads at similar speeds in Barnaby’s 2.0 TDI, I saw 71.3mpg.

Readouts tend to be rather optimistic, but even if the true number was 66mpg, that’s still better than I could get from the 1.6, and only 2.9mpg shy of the 2.0’s official figure.

Granted, the 2.0 TDI is slightly more expensive to buy and run than the 1.6, but it’s definitely worth testing driving them back-to-back to see which suits you best.

By Ed Callow
Ed.Callow@whatcar.com

Our cars: Skoda Octavia 2.0 TDI - February

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