- The Car: Skoda Octavia 1.4 TSI SE
- Run by: John Bradshaw, chief photographer
- Why it's here: To see if the Octavia offers all the practicality, comfort and efficiency you could want
- Needs to: Cope with all of my photography gear, provide smooth transport on long journeys, return reasonable fuel economy and be an effortless commuter car
Price £19,530 Price as tested £20,700 Miles covered 10,504Official Economy 54.3mpg Test economy 45.0mpg Options fitted Amundsen touchscreen satellite navigation system with WiFi (£800), Special paint (£195), Temporary steel spare wheel (£100), Textile floor mats (£75)
28 December 2017 – Not your typical 'lifestyle' vehicle
There’s an ongoing trend at the moment of manufacturers marketing their new SUVs as ‘lifestyle’ vehicles. It’s something that a number of my colleagues willingly poke fun at, but I think they’ve been taken in by the craze more than your typical consumer. In the last few months I’ve seen a bicycle on top of a McLaren 720S, snowboards in the back of an Audi SQ7 and a Christmas tree on top of an Aston Martin DB11.
However, when it comes to eclectic hobbies, I reckon I have them all beat. You see, my family has a long-standing involvement with longbow archery, a sport that I’ve partaken in since childhood. Events are held around the country and most competitors drive SUVs or estates, as you need plenty of space to transport a 6ft-tall longbow. I on the other hand have to make do with whatever press car I have been given that weekend.
So, it was with some trepidation that I tried to fit my longbow into the back of the Octavia; it just about fit in my long-term Ford Edge. However, to my surprise, the Skoda swallowed it with ease. The deep boot allowed me to place it low down and out of view (not everyone wants to expose their 'lifestylishness' to the rest of the world) and once the rear seats were folded, there was plenty of space lengthways. The only disappointment was the lack of a ski hatch, a practical solution that Skoda doesn’t even offer as an option.
Which brings me on to some options that I wished I’d specced when I had the chance. Back in the balmy summer, I hadn’t put a lot of thought into heated seats and door mirrors, but now that winter is in full swing I feel like that was a missed opportunity. So too is the omission of telescopic headlight washers which would undoubtedly improve night-time visibility by helping keep some of the grime off the front end.
That said, apart from having a rather cold bottom, the Octavia has performed flawlessly throughout the start of winter. The heater is strong, the handy ice scraper located on the fuel door is a lifesaver on frosty mornings and the umbrella located under the passengers seat has come in handy more than once. As Skoda says, it’s simply clever.