Car Review: Skoda - Octavia  Series 04 (4 stars)

The Skoda Octavia is into its second generation and Skoda continues to be a force to be reckoned with.

The Skoda Octavia was the car that really marked the beginning of Skoda's rise under the stewardship of Volkswagen to become a truly competitive car manufacturer. People were no longer able to joke about the company because it offered them nothing to joke about. The Czech brand now offers excellent value for money, and some cars that even surpass those of its parent brand.

The Octavia is based on the Golf platform, but is a much larger hatchback, sitting somewhere between the Golf and the Passat in size. There is nothing exciting about the Octavia, and it isn't very innovative, it is simply an honest car that sets out to do everything very well.

The Octavia is definitely not an exciting car to drive, but nor was it intended to be. The handling is benign and the suspension provides a supple and smooth ride. The Skoda is a pleasant companion on the motorway, with its excellent levels of refinement and comfortable seats.

It's very well built too, and the cabin is filled with good quality materials. The Volkswagen influence is clear for allcomers to see. This level of quality, however, is a noticeable step up from the previous-generation car. It's not the most imaginative design, but you can't have it all.

The Octavia is a roomy car and is noticeably more spacious than the standard Golf-class hatchback. There is lots of room for both passengers and luggage, even more so if you plump for the estate, which is simply cavernous. None of this lifestyle estate nonsense: antique dealers now have a new option.

It is a very economical car to own too, especially with the particularly talented and frugal 2.0-litre diesel up at the front. Running and servicing costs are low and depreciation is reasonable. You'll have to ignore the entry-level car when assessing the Octavia's value for money, the poverty spec model with its gutless engine seems to have been put there as a decoy.

Skoda no longer asks you to swallow your pride before signing on the dotted line - you can be enthusiastic about buying one these days, and that's a measure of the success of Volkswagen's venture in buying the company. You'd never have believed it 15 years ago.

Skoda Octavia Series 04 StatisticsCar Reviews

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