Long Czech list
Skoda brings the best — and worst — of its parent company
Skoda’s story is very much one of ‘‘ that was then, this is now’’.
The Eastern Bloc shockers of yore are well and truly the stuff of the past. Since the early ’ 90s, the Czech carmaker has been owned by Volkswagen and uses the best VW has to offer in the way of platforms and drivetrains.
The reborn Czech brand returned to this market in 2007 after a long absence promising VW motoring on a budget.
The mid-sized Octavia was and remains the brand’s main weapon with a large range of variants, including hatchback and wagon, petrol and diesel engine options and various transmissions. It isn’t particularly stylish, but in today’s terms, when all cars look alike, the Octavia stands out with its more conventional grille. Get past the looks and you find a practical, roomy and wellequipped car that does everything without fuss.
The Octavia is based on the VW Golf, and is bigger than the donor car in most dimensions, more mid-size car than small. There’s a wide choice of petrol and diesel engines— all VW units— and they all perform strongly while delivering decent fuel economy.
Backing them up is a range of manual and auto transmissions, including the much-maligned dual-clutch DSG auto. Inside, the Octavia is neatly laid-out with room enough for four adults in comfort, or five at a squeeze.
Thick pillars can create blind spots for the driver. Cabin noise tends to be a little higher than you might expect for a car in this class.
With relatively slow sales you’ll have to look long and hard to find the car you want. They’re not plentiful like some other makes and models.
It also means prices are more affordable if you’re buying.
Few complaints about Skodas have reached
Carsguide, which is interesting given the amount of negative mail we get about VWs. It could simply be a case that too few Skodas are out there to generate comment, but Skoda has performed better than its parent company in reliability surveys and has won several British awards.
Regardless, it is important that any car is thoroughly checked, because there’s no reason to think Skodas are immune from the problems that plague theirVWcousins.
Engines, the 1.8TSI in particular, can give trouble. Many have had to be replaced quite early in the car’s life, so check service records carefully.
The other problem area is the twin clutch automatic DSG transmission, which is brilliant when working correctly, but a nightmare when it’s not. Clutch packs, computers, wiring can all conspire to bring the DSG to a halt, so test drive DSG-equipped cars carefully.
Things to be noted are shuddering, incorrect gear selection, hesitation, reluctance to select gears, going into neutral at inappropriate moments.
Note that Skoda recommends the use of premium unleaded fuel. The next model— based on this year’s new Golf— is due next year.
Neat, practical mid-sizer but it is burdened by some of VWs flaws.
Reborn brand: Get past the looks and there’s a practical, roomy and well-equipped car that does
everything without fuss