The Road Ahead : August 1st 2012
WWW.ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 58 THE ROAD AHEAD AUG/SEP 2012 THE SKODA BRAND is becoming increasingly familiar to Australians, thanks to an expanding model line-up and through support of major cycling events such as the Tour de France. And under VW's ownership, the quality of vehicles on offer from the Czech car maker is now light-years ahead of dismal offerings from times, thankfully, long past. The VW Golf-based Octavia released here late in 2007 was at the vanguard of the company's re-entry to our market, hoping to challenge established mid- size vehicles like Mazda6 and Camry. Octavia had most tastes covered with sedan and wagon body styles in three specification levels and, model dependent, front or all-wheel drive, petrol and turbo-diesel engines, plus manual (five or six-speed), auto and DSG-style gearboxes (both six-speeds). The all-paw models are manual only. Standard safety features across the range include dual front/front side/ curtain airbags, ABS and stability control. The entry-level Ambiente offers a 1.9-litre turbo-diesel (77 kW), while the mid-field Elegance features 1.8-litre turbo and 2.0-litre petrol engines (118 kW and 110 kW respectively), or a 2.0 litre turbo-diesel (103 kW). The sporty RS sedan and wagons are powered by either a 147 kW turbo- petrol or 125 kW turbo-diesel, both of 2.0-litre capacity. The diesels appeal for their plentiful torque and fuel economy, while the 118 kW turbo-petrol will please many buyers for the performance it affords. Octavia provides well-sorted dynamics typical of European models. RS versions are based on the Golf GTi and should be sought out by more demanding drivers, and there's a wagon version to increase practical appeal. Check carefully and avoid ones that have been driven hard or had significant crash repairs. Inside, Octavia is well laid out with enough room for transporting an average family. Fit and finish is good and owner gripes about reliability are few and far between. DSG gearbox operation needs careful checking as failures, including the gearbox's electronic control unit, are known. Check brake pads and rotors for wear, as some Euros can be a bit hard on these items. Service records should be up to date, including cam belt changes where specified. UNDER THE PUMP Octavia will use between 7.7 litres and 12.0 litres of premium unleaded, or 5.3 litres and 8.6 litres of diesel, every 100 km, depending on model and driving conditions. PRICE RANGE From $15,400 to $27,600, depending on year and model. NEED HELP? RACQ CAN HELP WITH CAR LOANS (CALL 1300 361 316), VEHICLE INSPECTIONS (CALL 13 1905) AND INSURANCE (CALL 13 1905). REVIEW JOHN EWING MOTORING USED CAR REVIEW skoda octavia, 2007-2009 COMPETITIORS MAZDA6, 2006-2009 Excellent and deservedly popular. Sedan, hatch and wagon body styles. 2.3-litre petrol engine, replaced by higher output and smoother 2.5-litre early 2008, along with other model upgrades. Turbo-diesel option, manual only, no sedan. Responsive handling. Fuel consumption above class average. HONDA ACCORD EURO 2.4, 2006-2009 Another classy mid-size sedan for discerning drivers. Quality build, fine chassis dynamics and steering, supple ride. Powerful 2.4-litre engine, no diesel option, premium fuel consumption higher than class average. FORD MA MONDEO, 2007-2009 Sedans and hatchbacks. Choice of 2.3-litre petrol, 2.0-litre turbo-diesel, both with six-speed auto, or more expensive, sportier XR5 5-cyl turbo 2.5-litre petrol. Belgian-built Euro feel, good safety, interior and boot space to rival large cars.
June July 2012