Euro­pean va­ca­tion

The Advertiser - Motoring - - IN THE GARAGE -

CAR brands will tell you that punc­tures are ex­tremely rare events these days — it’s part of the sales pitch for space-savers, tyre re­pair kits and run-flats — but that’s not our ex­pe­ri­ence at Carsguide, where we’ve had two in less than six months.

Our first was in a Holden As­tra at last year’s Car of the Year test­ing and our lat­est was with our Skoda Oc­tavia wagon long-ter­mer. We learnt not all space-savers are cre­ated equal.

The As­tra had a skinny space-saver, while the Oc­tavia’s was a proper 16-inch steel wheel. Both are lim­ited to 80km/h, though, as the Oc­tavia’s is a dif­fer­ent size to the rest of the car’s 18-inch al­loy wheels.

Hav­ing said that, the Holden tyre doesn’t give you the same peace of mind on a coun­try road with the fam­ily on board. It also means that if you’ve packed the load area with lug­gage, you’ve got some ma­jor re­ar­rang­ing to do as the flat full-size tyre takes up much more room.

The Oc­tavia’s spare is rea­son­ably easy to fit. It’s a dif­fer­ent story when putting the full-size tyre back on.

Un­like most cars, where the studs are at­tached to the hub and the lug nuts are sep­a­rate, Sko­das — and all Volk­swa­gen Group cars — have one-piece bolts that screw into holes on the hub. That means that un­like most set-ups, where you can hang the wheel on the studs, you have to line up the tyre with the hub, hold­ing it off the ground while you fit the bolt. It’s not an easy exercise.

Apart from the punc­ture, our 700km re­turn trip to the NSW cen­tral west was en­tirely stress-free.

Our Oc­tavia is fit­ted with ac­tive cruise con­trol and au­to­mated emer­gency brak­ing, which means the car can keep a safe dis­tance to the one in front on the free­way and come to a com­plete stop if nec­es­sary.

It will then ac­cel­er­ate au­to­mat­i­cally up to speed when it’s time to get mov­ing again.

With the amount of road­work zones on our trip, it was an ex­tremely handy op­tion.

The wagon does longdis­tance hol­i­day cruis­ing with ease. The 1.4-litre turbo may be small, with a mod­est 110kW at its dis­posal, but a healthy dose of low-down torque means it lopes along at low revs on the free­way and dis­poses of over­tak­ing ma­noeu­vres with re­as­sur­ing haste.

With four on board and a stack of lug­gage, the Oc­tavia av­er­aged roughly 7.0L/100km for the trip. That’s a fair way off the 5.2L/100km claim but it’s not bad for a car that can carry more gear than a reg­u­lar Aussie fam­ily sedan.

It runs on 95 RON, though, and in the coun­try you’ll find that some ser­vos have reg­u­lar, E10 or 98 RON, which is about 19c a litre dearer (or about $9.50 ex­tra a tank, which should get you about 700km). Find 95 RON at about 14 cents more than reg­u­lar and the dam­age is just $7 ex­tra per fill. If that sounds like a lot, re­mem­ber you’ll get slightly bet­ter fuel re­turns for your ex­tra spend.

Our only real gripe was the seats, which didn’t have enough un­der-thigh sup­port and be­came un­com­fort­able af­ter a cou­ple of hours on the road.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.