By Mark Borlace
Last updated on: March 15, 2018 at 4:04 pm
Those old enough to remember some of Škoda’s shortcomings when it arrived in Australia in the 90s, might hear alarm bells ring when someone says, “have you considered a Škoda?"
Back then, it was state owned by the Czech Republic government and was known for making sub-standard cars, but that all changed in the year 2000 when it became part of the Volkswagen Group. Since then, Škoda vehicles have been a combination of good VW technology wrapped in a Škoda body.
We recently put the Octavia 2012 to the test, which is Škoda’s mid-sized option.
The Škoda Octavia is available in either a hatch and wagon, but the most common variants on the used-car market – and therefore the easiest to find – are the 90TSI and RS 147TSI hatch.
That said, the sportier RS 125TDI is a great performer and is also available in a wagon, which has generous space – handy for those with big families or who just need the extra room.
It’s not common to come by an Octavia in manual, so the majority out there are automatics.
The Octavia range doesn’t have the prettiest looking cars. They are, however, loaded with standard features, such as:
- Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
- dual front side and head airbags
- traction control to stop wheel spin and allow smooth acceleration, even on slippery surfaces
- front seatbelt pre-tensioners, which help keep the belt fastened during collisions.
What else to expect with a Škoda Octavia
- rain-sensing wipers
- mobile phone connectivity
- multi-function leather wrapped steering wheel
- cruise control
- power steering, windows and mirrors.
While the base variants have cloth trim and basic air-conditioning, all of the other variants feature auto-climate controlled dual zone air-conditioning for a comfier ride.
What’s more, satellite navigation is standard across the Octavia range, except for the 77TDI and the 90TSI.
As Škoda use VW engines, they got caught up in the VW emissions recall in 2015.
Even though all of the affected diesel engines should have been rectified through the manufacturer’s voluntary recall at Škoda dealerships, you might want to double-check whether the Škoda you’re looking at buying has been fixed. Head to their website here for details.
Another common fault in early models is failure of the timing chain tensioner retainers.
In other words, when this chain becomes slack and noisy, you might have a problem because it can lead to engine failure and a repair bill in the thousands.
Some of the Direct Shift Gearboxes (DSG) in these used variants also shudder a bit when the car takes off and jerks when changing gears.
This gearbox gaffe set some owners of the earlier models back more than $6000, so it’s a good idea to check for similar faults in the newer Octavias.
The final word
Good value when new and even better used – that’s how we’d sum up the Škoda Octavia.
And, while the styling may not be to everyone’s liking, it’s generously spacious and has good safety credentials with those VW underpinnings.