Skoda Octavia Review
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Skoda Octavia Tested January 2007
Recommended. Another excellent Skoda. The Octavia lacks much in the way of excitement, but it's big and good to live with.
The first generation Octavia put Skoda on the map, and its successor continues the good work. As before, it's based on the same set of mechanical components as the Volkswagen Golf but with a considerably larger body that offers significantly better practicality.
It looks pretty reasonable, too. The amorphous aesthetics aren't going to set pulses racing, and the hatchback's rear end looks a bit too high from some angles, but overall it's a handsome machine. The interior is well equipped and well finished, with lots of quality-feeling Volkswagen Group switchgear and reasonable quality plastics. There's plenty of room for both front and rear seat occupants, and the Octavia is a very comfortable place to spend time. The hatchback's boot is massive, the (better looking) estate version's even more so.
On the road the Skoda manages to offer a good combination of comfort, refinement and performance. Granted, the chassis isn't the most involving drive in the segment, but it copes well with twisty roads and keeps the pilot well informed about what it's thinking. The compliant ride quality helps to take the edge off longer journeys, too. The only real complaint is with a bit too much wind noise finding its way into the cabin at motorway cruising speeds.
A very underpowered base engine is offered to justify the attractively low entry-level pricing. Avoid the 1.4 litre petrol unless you're happy to spend life in the slow lane. Other models give respectable performance, especially the 2.0 litre TDI diesel and the range-topping 2.0 litre TFSI turbocharged petrol engine in the vRS.
Next: ratings and breakdown
1. Excellent cabin
2. Comfortable and refined
3. Excellent diesels
We don't like:
1. Slightly ungainly rear-end design
2. Poor quality audio system
3. Base 1.4 litre petrol version is dreadfully slow
Most fun: 2.0 TFSI vRS
Most sensible: 1.9 TDI Ambiente
Worst: 1.4 Classic