Matt purchased this Skoda Octavia used for $23,990 (including all on-road costs) in 2020. Matt would buy this car again because: “It’s all the car you could ever need, and most of the car you could ever want. Fun, fast, frugal, safe, and (touch wood), reliable, I’d buy another in a heartbeat. Very much the thinking person’s Golf GTI in my books!”
So far, so good! When I purchased it, the car had a full Skoda dealer service history, so that was a good start. In the 18 months and 27,000km since I’ve owned it, there haven’t been any mechanical dramas to speak of, and nothing looks, sounds, or feels like it’ll give up the ghost soon either.
As with some EA888 engines, it does like a drink of oil unfortunately, but from what I’ve read online it’s within the general range of what people experience with these engines in various VW, Audi, Skoda, and SEAT models. I do wonder if it’ll worsen long term, but it’s manageable for now with a small top up in between services.
The only thing that’s gone wrong is one of the scroll wheels on the steering wheel, which disintegrated a few weeks after I got the car. It’s a known issue and not uncommon, but still a bit annoying – and the part isn’t cheap either.
Simply superb (even though it’s an Octavia). It’s super easy to live with day to day – big enough to swallow anything I want to chuck in the boot, but small enough to not be cumbersome or painful in small city streets or crowded shopping centre car parks.
My first service was at the local Skoda dealer, given I bought the car from their used site, and the new car dealership is only 800m from my house (a complete coincidence). It was a bit pricey, but that was to be expected. The service itself was unremarkable, the staff were pleasant but nothing more (which is fine).
One thing which does grate is the amount of brake dust – good lord, I have never owned a car which produces so much of the stuff. The brakes are great, so it’s a trade-off I’m fine with, but all I can say is that I’m thankful I have grey wheels as standard…
Depending on your perspective, buying a car during the peak of a global pandemic is either idiotic or sheer genius. Luckily for me, it turned out to be the latter – I bought the car right when prices had slumped to their lowest, and only a month or so later, the used car market spiked and kept on rising.
As a result, I got the car for a veritable steal. The price was stupidly good for a one owner, fully dealer serviced car, with all available extras applied except for a sunroof, which I didn’t want anyway. For the money, both then and now, you’d be hard pressed to find a car with more equipment as standard.
The Canton sound system is great, the leather interior comfortable and quite well-wearing, the adaptive cruise is terrific (and will let you undertake, unlike newer VAG systems – a must in Queensland where people camp in the right lane).
It’s got enough airbags to qualify as a bouncy castle, the heated seats keep my shameful takeaway purchases warm, and the self parking is great for enabling my laziness.
Sure, it doesn’t have all the latest safety gizmos like blind-spot monitoring or lane keep assist, but I don’t find myself missing them. It has low and high speed AEB, although rear cross-traffic alert and reverse AEB would be handy.
Oft overlooked as a safety feature, the headlights deserve a shoutout. They’re bright, clear, and with a great spread on low and high beam, it’s a huge plus.
You can really irritate people in Commodores and Falcon utes. That is all.
Actually it isn’t, but that’s a pretty good summary of the performance on offer. It’s deceptively quick, especially for something which to the untrained eye looks so assuming. No, it’s not a rocket ship, but a smidge under seven seconds to 100km/h is quick enough for living in Brisbane’s inner-north.
I haven’t owned a turbocharged car before, previously running a few high-revving NA engines, so the fat lump of torque and associated lag was a bit of a learning curve. I know people crow about the EA888 engines and their “almost imperceptible lag”, but with a DSG gearbox it can be quite apparent.
A slap of the steering wheel paddles fixes this but it can frustrate on occasion, and I do find myself missing the immediate response of an NA engine sometimes.
A healthy prod of the right pedal fixes that though – the surge of torque never gets old, and makes for a superb long distance cruiser. It’s really quite effortless. Economy is great too.
I’ve had as low as 6.2L/100km on a two hour highway drive, and pootling around the suburbs with some stop start traffic mixed in, I tend to average around the 8.5L/100km mark most days.
For the most part, it’s really quite good. The screen in the instrument cluster is small by today’s standards, but is still colour, and crisply displays all the information you really need, and some you really don’t. Bluetooth calls work well and the audio quality is clear, although I do find calls drop a bit more regularly than some previous cars on the same route and with the same phone.
The infotainment screen is plenty big enough (certainly better than the postage stamp you’ll get on a new Toyota), and is responsive, bright, and user friendly. Having physical shortcut buttons is a godsend! The system itself is dated, but not horribly so, and if you’re a pedant like me being able to upload your own logos for radio station presets (no DAB though) is a bit of fun.
Having Android Auto is amazing as well. It’s heaps easier to control things like Spotify through there, and (unfortunately) means I can still take Microsoft Teams calls on the road, but it pays dividends with being able to use Google Maps as the factory Skoda sat-nav stinks. It’s slow, cluttered, and seems to take needlessly convoluted routes.
Like a tasty cup of coffee, this long boi is a fine blend. It’s basically a Golf with a bit more weight on it (much like its owner), so the fundamentals are good – solid handling, good comfort, and independent suspension at the rear.
Day to day comfort is pretty good most of the time. Big potholes, changes in road elevation, or sharp hits do make themselves felt, but it’s rarely uncomfortable. The RS has larger wheels and lower suspension than the standard Octavia anyway, so it’s not like I didn’t know what I’d be in for.
At low speeds it’s still perfectly compliant, and at higher speeds feels nice and planted, without ever being jittery or unsettled. Considering there’s no adaptive dampers or the like, it’s a great balance. Loaded up with a full boot and four people, it’s still pretty good as well – a bit saggy, but not “grey nomad towing a caravan” bad.
Handling is good too – it’s never going to be the most engaging or exciting thing to drive, but for a FWD wagon it’s great. The steering is accurate and well weighted, particularly in RS mode, but I do find it a touch vague and slow off centre, and there’s barely any road feel.
The e-diff at the front works well though, giving plenty of grip and ability to put power down when you need, but in a straight line the front end does have some axle tramp if you’re too enthusiastic.
I said it at the start, but it’s worth repeating: this is all the car you could ever need, and almost all the car you could ever want. It’s safe, but it’s fun. It’s fast, but it’s economical. It’s spacious, but it’s not massive.
If you’re looking for something that offers unrivalled value for money, can be a daily and a fun car, and isn’t another SUV, you’d be mad not to Czech an Octavia RS out.