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Facelifted Octavia better value than ever. Image by Dave Jenkins.

Facelifted Octavia better value than ever
Surprise, surprise, here's another really good Skoda.

   



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| Week at the Wheel | Skoda Octavia 2.0 TDI 140 |

Inside & Out: star star star star star

External appearance has never been a forte of Skoda's and given its placement in the VW stable it's unlikely we'll ever see a bold or extravagant styling direction. What we do get is an inoffensive contemporary design that features a prominent Skoda grille and badging, but is rather anonymous otherwise. Ironically, courtesy of the C-shaped rear lights, the Octavia is probably more distinctive in the dark.

The interior majors on space, comfort and practicality. Cabin room for driver and front seat passenger is generous and rear seat room - even with two adults occupying the front - is plentiful for adults. Also, the boot is massive - easily swallowing all the DIY store could throw at it and a bike with consummate ease. Harder to quantify, but equally obvious to the eye and touch are the improvements in quality and materials; Skodas have always been robustly built, but the updated Octavia isn't a million miles from a VW in terms of fit and finish now.

Engine & Transmission: star star star star star

Our test car was fitted with what is likely to be the biggest selling engine, the 2.0-litre, four-cylinder TDI, rated at 138bhp (140PS), but more importantly backed up by 236lb.ft at 1,750rpm and all the flexible performance that figure implies. The bare figure of 0-62mph in a little over ten seconds doesn't suggest much pace, but in normal use the Octavia boasts as much performance as most people would need and the six-speed gearbox's ratios are well spaced with a focus on touring ability. Disappointingly the latest PD engine is still rather gruff and would benefit from more insulation from the noise - particularly noticeable from cold - but it's largely unobtrusive once underway and retains the characteristic 'dugga-dugga' soundtrack.

Ride & Handling: star star star star star

The Octavia's chassis is appropriately set-up with a bias towards comfort, and the ride quality stands out as the major strength. That's not to say that it doesn't handle well, which it does to a point, but it's obvious that the intention was never to go Mondeo hunting from a dynamic perspective. Instead, as one would expect, Skoda chose to set the car up to suit the majority of prospective purchasers and as a consequence the Octavia is comfortable and relaxing with excellent motorway manners and an absorbent ride around town.

Equipment, Economy & Value for Money: star star star star star

Our test car's specification was generous with no gaping holes in the equipment list; indeed it was only the tinny stereo that came in for criticism from that perspective. During our week with the car we managed an average of 44mpg on our regular commute route involving a mixture of road conditions, while some stop-start driving yielded 42mpg - easily eclipsing figures recorded in the majority of the competition we've driven lately. Driven with a much more conservative approach that figure can be pushed nearer to 50mpg.

Overall, this facelifted version of the Skoda Octavia probably represents one of the best value mid-size saloons on sale today. A cut above the budget brands, but priced well below the premium marques, it's hard to argue against the Octavia. Ten minutes on the Web resulted in the potential saving of almost 2,000 off the list price which, given the relative competence of the Octavia at its full list price, makes it something of a bargain.

Overall: star star star star star

Skoda's Octavia may lack flair from a style perspective, or indeed in terms of driver involvement or ultimate dynamics, but in real terms this is probably as much car as many people would ever need; roomy, economical, comfortable and easy to live with this new Octavia again begs the question, are you a badge snob?

Dave Jenkins - 1 May 2009



  www.skoda.co.uk    - Skoda road tests
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2009 Skoda Octavia specifications: (Elegance 2.0 TDI PD)
Price: 17,650 on-the-road.
0-62mph: 9.6 seconds
Top speed: 129mph
Combined economy: 51.4mpg
Emissions: 145g/km
Kerb weight: 1335kg

2009 Skoda Octavia. Image by Dave Jenkins.2009 Skoda Octavia. Image by Dave Jenkins.2009 Skoda Octavia. Image by Dave Jenkins.2009 Skoda Octavia. Image by Dave Jenkins.2009 Skoda Octavia. Image by Dave Jenkins.

2009 Skoda Octavia. Image by Dave Jenkins.2009 Skoda Octavia. Image by Dave Jenkins.2009 Skoda Octavia. Image by Dave Jenkins.2009 Skoda Octavia. Image by Dave Jenkins.2009 Skoda Octavia. Image by Dave Jenkins.



2009 Skoda Octavia. Image by Dave Jenkins.
 

2009 Skoda Octavia. Image by Dave Jenkins.
 

2009 Skoda Octavia. Image by Dave Jenkins.
 

2009 Skoda Octavia. Image by Dave Jenkins.
 

2009 Skoda Octavia. Image by Dave Jenkins.
 






 

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