• Stylish looks
    • Country fuel economy
    • Features
    • Infotainment quality and operation
    • Sometimes too clever?
    • Sometimes not clever enough?
    5 Star

    About the Skoda Octavia

    Scott C purchased this Skoda Octavia new with additional options for $46,600 (including all on-road costs). Scott C would buy this car again because: “It took some time to win us over, but after the infotainment gremlins were solved, the Skoda has become a stylish, practical and fuel efficient addition to our family. In some ways it is the spiritual successor to my first generation Honda Accord Euro Luxury – European flavour four-cylinder sedan with a nice chunky three-spoke steering wheel.

    Sure the 140kW LE would have been an exact match for power, but more of that later. And price-wise, as much as we complain about today’s prices, the $46k drive-away I paid is about what I paid for the Euro back in 2004, and all it’s missing is a sunroof… and the six CD stacker!

    How reliable has your car been? Tell us about any issues.

    The Octavia has been mechanically fine, no issues to report after 45,000km. However the infotainment has been a bit flakey at times, occasionally turning off which impacts the Bluetooth.

    On one occasion, after completing a road trip to Melbourne (at around 20,000km), the screen shut down completely, which meant no audio, no air, and also impacted some of the driving assistance functions.

    It was dead for two days, then on the third day it arose from the dead! Following that up till the 30,000km service it had the occasional glitch, but a firmware update at the 30,000km service made it much more reliable. Interestingly, the key batteries (in all three keys) ran out after a year which seems short.

    What do you think of the ownership experience with your car?

    I’ve been very happy with the ownership experience thus far – I’ll drive it over our other car (a Mazda CX-9) most of the time apart from when we’re travelling longer distances with both the kids. It is pretty spacious with comfortable, heated front and rear seats and a massive boot.

    After 45,000km, I’ve just had to replace the tyres, so not too bad. The brakes are still in good shape – 13mm remaining on both front and rear pads.

    How has the purchase and aftercare experience been with your car?

    The purchase process was hassle-free. I was waiting to sell our Mercedes C250d so I kept an eye on the Skoda stock locator to check that there was still stock available given the supply issues in late 2021 and given Skoda had advised new shipments were being delayed in 2022.

    I purchased the seven-year service plan to get the additional two years factory warranty. Whilst I was disappointed that Skoda then made seven years standard during 2022, the service pack price didn’t change ($2400 at the time), and was good value in my opinion.

    Alto Skoda Pennant Hills has provided convenient, efficient service. The only surprise at the first service was the cost of the optional tyre rotation – I can’t recall being charged for that separately before, and the quoted price of $79 just for a tyre rotation (no alignment) was equal to aftermarket four tyre wheel alignments.

    Are you happy with the price and features of your car?

    I spent some time considering between the Style with all the option packs vs the Limited Edition.

    The LE’s cooling/massaging front seats are nice (the cooling seats on my Mazda CX-9 Azami were a pleasant surprise which my son uses as soon as the temperature breaks 25 degrees), and it does look better on its 19-inch alloys, but ultimately sensibility prevailed – the 18-inch wheels are more comfortable and resistant to Sydney’s potholes, and a non-DSG gearbox was a requirement of my wife, who ultimately is the car’s primary driver.

    Whilst I’d read reports that the DSG doesn’t have the same low speed issues, after coming from the perky Merc diesel, it had to be a torque convertor.

    The only other feature that the LE has compared to the optioned Style is Auto Hold – I find that type of omission disappointing (it seems like a function that all models should have), and is a feature I also miss from my CX-9.

    A bit of a surprise-and-delight feature is the auto-unlocking upon approach, which means the family can access from all doors if they beat my hand to the door handle. Interestingly, my Mazda has auto-locking when leaving the car, so if they could just combine both functions!

    What do you think of the performance and economy of your car?

    Performance has been acceptable for what is a 110kW engine. It’s quick enough from traffic lights and when needing to overtake.

    Economy has been around 6.5L/100km which is not bad, although more than Skoda’s claim of 6.2l/100km. Weekday use is a 30 kilometre round trip which is half rural roads and half suburban streets, and it has been on a few longer drives into country NSW, so I would have expected overall economy to be closer to Skoda’s claim.

    The road trip to Melbourne yielded sub-5.0L/100 which was pretty impressive.

    It has consumed more fuel than the Mercedes C250d it replaced, however given the price premium of diesel (particularly during 2022), and despite the Volkswagen Group’s insistence on 95 octane rating fuel, it has been cheaper overall.

    I do query the fuel tank size – the documentation and all Australian media outlets say it is 45L, but I filled up 17 times in 2022 from 11 different stations greater than 45L, with a max of 53L on one occasion.

    I get there might be some capacity in the lines, but that much? CarExpert, have you filled a tank on any previous reviews?

    What do you think of the technology in your car?

    Much has been written about the irritation of having to use the touchscreen in the absence of physical buttons, and I wholeheartedly agree! The recirculate air button should always be a hard button along with the AC on/off. And to get off Spotify back to radio requires three screen touches.

    And there’s some missing functionality on the steering wheel. For starters, there’s a blank button, where I believe the heated steering wheel button would live, but it’s not available in any Octavia? Or, make it available, since it was also a nice surprise in the Mazda (and available in other Skodas).

    And there is no telephone hang-up button on the steering wheel – fine for when you’re talking to someone, but not when your wife diverts you to voicemail!

    As has also been reported elsewhere, the Active Cruise stops you from passing cars on the left hand side, which I find infuriating. To not even be able to turn it off is very nanny-state. When not undertaking, it does a good job maintaining speed on declines.

    However its operation is unnecessarily complex – setting it is fine using the steering wheel button, then if you want to increase by 10km/h, you push the stalk up; decrease by 10km/h, push the stalk down.

    But want to increase by 1km/h you have to pull the stalk slightly forwards, or to decrease by 1km/h, you have to push the button at the end of the stalk! Every other system I’m familiar with has a short press/push to increase/decrease by 1km/h, then a long press/push to increase by 10km/h. Not clever Skoda!

    Also not clever is each time you drive at night, you need to push the high beam on to activate. None of my previous cars with auto high beam (Mazda, Mercedes, Ford) have required it each time. However when they are on, the matrix lights are simply brilliant!

    It is a little bit to get used to the quickly staggered activation versus the smoother deployments of the Mercedes and Mazda, but they are very accurate.

    The Virtual Cockpit has been a mixed experience – clarity is excellent and it generally looks cool, but it could do with including more information. In the more traditional view (two dials + central digital speedo), we have set the info displays within the each ‘dial’ to the fuel range (left) and audio (right).

    But I’m also interested in tank and current fuel usage, which is only available if you toggle to that screen.

    Finally, the head-up display could be improved. It is great that it displays Android Auto navigation (yet not CarPlay strangely?), but frustratingly, Australia doesn’t get the traffic sign notification that is available overseas (and shown in the brochure) and doesn’t include blind spot notifications like the Mazda does.

    And also the visibility when using polarised sunglasses could be improved, the Mazda is fine in this regard.

    The reverse camera is clear, but the reverse sensors and auto-braking is very cautious. Even when using the closest setting, multiple times it has automatically stopped the car when still some distance from the object, and it stops the car so forcefully that you think you’ve actually hit something!

    Commenting on some of the Simply clever features: Umbrella – never used. Boot nets – never used. iPad holder – taken out. And the centre console and rear armrest cup holders are needlessly small!

    What do you think of the ride comfort and handling of your car?

    The ride is generally very good. Some reports have discussed the noisy rear suspension which I agree with; you can hear it when you hit the potholes that frequented Sydney’s roads during 2022.

    The handling is also good – quite chuckable, again a reminder of the Accord Euro. And the steering wheel paddles allow you to easily downshift if you want some extra revs when preparing to accelerate.

    Do you have any additional comments about your car?

    Overall I’ve been very happy with the car. Whilst I’ve spent several paragraphs describing aspects that could be improved, ultimately it is nit-picking, and many owners wouldn’t even notice.

    It’s just annoying to me when I’ve experienced other cars that do those things that bit better than the “simply clever” Skoda.

    Overall Rating

    Ride & Handling8.5
    Price & Features9
    Purchase & Aftercare9
    Performance & Economy8
    Ownership Experience9