Our cars: Skoda Octavia 2.0 TDI - May

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  • 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!

/

Skoda Octavia 2.0 TDI 150 SE

Read the full Skoda Octavia review

Week ending May 30
Mileage 10,748
Driven this week 209

For an optional sat-nav system, my SE-spec Octavia’s £550 Amundsen set-up is pretty good value for money. It’s simple to use, the graphics and navigation instructions are clear, it has a handy rerouting function and includes European mapping (which I’ll be using next week, when I drive to Belgium).

True, the screen seems a little small when there’s lots of information being displayed (it’s 5.8 inches, whereas the £1125 Columbus system is 8.0 inches) and it can be slow to respond, but if you’re after a simple and effective integrated sat-nav system for your Octavia, I’d heartily recommend the Amundsen.

By Barnaby Jones
Barnaby.Jones@whatcar.com


Week ending May 23
Mileage 10,539
Driven this week 237

Regular readers will know that I’m a big fan of my Octavia hatchback, apart from one aspect: ride quality. It’s not unacceptable, but it’s too firm and unsettled, and almost everyone else who drives the car agrees.

One regular reader, Tim Burrows, doesn’t have this problem, though – and it’s because he has a four-wheel-drive Octavia. Available only as an estate, the 4WD version will clearly be better than my front-wheel-drive car when the roads are slippery, but its more sophisticated rear suspension should also make it better when the roads are bumpy.

To find out, I had to have a go in one.

The 4x4 in question was a 2.0 TDI 150 SE on standard 16-inch wheels, so as close to my car as possible. It certainly felt similarly effortless to drive, and the extra weight of the 4x4 system didn’t have much of an effect on performance.

There certainly was a difference in ride comfort, however. The 4x4 was less fidgety than my Octavia around town and on the motorway, and was better at dealing with bigger bumps, too. It still wasn’t quite as comfortable as I’d like, but it’s certainly the best-riding Octavia I’ve ever tried.

Unless you need the extra traction of four-wheel drive, though, I’d recommend sticking with the two-wheel-drive models. Going for 4WD over 2WD costs nearly £1500 and, if you go for a 2.0-litre diesel version, almost 10mpg. It’ll also cost you more in tax, either as a private or company car.

Sure, the 4x4 is more comfortable and will keep going when the winter weather strikes, but for most people, the standard models will be comfortable enough and they’ll be cheaper to buy and run.

By Barnaby Jones
Barnaby.Jones@whatcar.com

Week ending May 16
Mileage 10,302
Miles this week 112

My SE-spec Octavia has an oil temperature display as part of the standard trip computer. This pleases me, but I suspect I’m in the minority of drivers in this regard.

You see, you should let the engine – specifically the oil – get up to normal working temperature before you rev it hard. If you don’t, you’ll increase engine wear, which could lead to big repair bills down the line.

So if the oil is still cold, I won’t accelerate quickly to get that space in traffic, for example. Sad though it may be, I keep the oil temperature display on until the engine is warm, so I know exactly when I can drive ‘more enthusiastically’, should the opportunity present itself.

Does anyone else do the same? Does anyone else care? Please let me know. I’d feel better if I wasn’t the only one.

By Barnaby Jones
Barnaby.Jones@whatcar.com

Week ending May 9

Mileage 10,190
Miles this week 194

Read the full Skoda Octavia review

The Octavia sure is practical. Of course, it’s got loads of cabin and boot space, but it’s got impressive amounts of storage room as well.

The door pockets are wide and deep, there’s a large cubby to the right of the steering wheel and a decent-sized covered area behind the gear lever. The space between the front seats is divided into cupholders and a couple of handy trays, too.

Best of all, though, the glovebox is a genuinely useful size; it easily holds the owner’s manual, for example, unlike those in some modern cars.

By Barnaby Jones
Barnaby.Jones@whatcar.com

 

Week ending May 2
Mileage 9996
Miles this week 129

Read the full Skoda Octavia review

Fingers crossed, but hopefully the Octavia’s rattle has finally been fixed.

I first heard the noise, which seemed to be coming from inside the front passenger door, late last year, but it took until mid-January for it to get bad enough for me to book the Octavia in for some attention.

My local dealer, Marlborough Skoda in Isleworth, diagnosed that a new interior door panel was required. Annoyingly, the panel took until mid-February to arrive (they’re built to order, rather than being kept in stock). Even more annoyingly, it turned out to be for a left-hand-drive Octavia, so couldn’t be fitted to my car.

The dealer arranged for another panel to be sent by the parts supplier, but despite numerous calls to chase it up, it took until early April for the part to arrive.

To cap it all, when the new panel was finally fitted, the rattle remained.

To say I was frustrated was an understatement, but credit to Marlborough, they’d been helpful and pleasant to deal with over the phone and on the various times I’d been to their service department.

Still, I was fed up having to take my car to the dealer, so last week I made use of Marlborough’s free collection and delivery service. The car was collected on the Friday morning, I was called in the afternoon to say that the technicians had ‘adjusted a few things, including the levers on the passenger seat’ and the car was returned an hour later cleaned and – thankfully – rattle-free.

Even better, I haven’t heard the merest hint of the rattle since.

It’s amazing how a small but irritating thing such as a rattle can negatively affect your ownership of a car. Now the Octavia is back to normal, though, I can get on with enjoying its many positive qualities.

By Barnaby Jones
Barnaby.Jones@whatcar.com

Our cars: Skoda Octavia 2.0 TDI - April

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