If there’s one car on Irish roads that deserves a facelift – it’s the Skoda Octavia.
And, lo and behold, it’s had just that, and not a moment too soon.
I believe Skoda offer some of the best value for money cars in Ireland, with a combination of build quality, design, looks, performance, price and efficiency that is difficult to beat.
For those not in the know, the Octavia is probably the most overlooked of their offerings.
From the well-publicised CitiGo, that captured many headlines upon its recent release, to the near-perfect Superb saloons and estates, Skoda have impressive models at either end of the range. Even the rally circuit has embraced the nimble Fabia.
But it’s the middle child, in the shape of the Octavia that is the real recession-busting workhorse.
I’ll be the first to admit, it has never been much of a looker; but that has changed with the latest incarnation.
What has been seen as one of the most reliable and cost-efficient cars on the market, now has a brand new design, so add eye-catching to its list of boxes ticked.
Gone are the square angles and symmetrical lines, the Octavia has been given the stretched and sleek treatment, and beefed up on either side too.
This new model is 90mm longer and 45mm wider than the outgoing Octavia. The wheelbase has grown by 108mm enabling the Octavia to move a head and shoulders above the competition in terms of spaciousness in its model segment with interior length (1,782mm), more knee room (73mm) and more headroom at the back (980mm) as well as best in class boot volume of 590 litres.
Speaking of the boot – it deserves a review of its own.
My kids had a blast climbing in and out of the cavernous entity that is the Octavia’s boot – the thing is massive.
The new model seems to offer even more space, as well as practical clips for cargo nets, making the space useful, not just vast.
Be careful when folding down the back seats – there’s a chance you’ll be hit for more property tax given how much area it opens up!
As mentioned, we are talking about a handsome and sleek car on the outside – but the interior still does everything you would expect of Skoda.
Everything feels like it should cost just a little more than it does, such is the build quality and understated style of the interior.
The touch-screen interfaces are attractive and functional, not at all gimmicky like some of their competitors, with very straightforward Bluetooth setup and excellent connection to iPhone for music streaming.
The start/stop technology employed in the Octavia is quick to respond and didn’t lead to a single stall, which can often happen in lesser cars.
Safety is another area where this car scores well – a five-star NCAP rating to be precise, with more airbags than ever.
Emissions are down thanks to fuel-efficient engines, and, even though the car is larger than its predecessor, it has shed 100kg in weight – giving the 1.6 TFI version a fuel consumption figure of just 3.8 litres per 100km travelled; and impressive figure in anyone’s books.
The Octavia starts at a mere €18,995, making it one of the best value cars in its class, and even putting significant pressure on some executive saloons, considering the comfort and space on offer in this model.
Given that we are entering the 132 phase of the year, car brands are crawling over each other with 132-themed special offers. I would suggest keeping an eye on Skoda to see what they come up with, but it will be hard to beat the value on offer with the latest Octavia.