By Nat Bromhead
With bike heritage dating more than 100 years, ?koda is synonymous with cycling.
?koda play a prominent role in literally every cycling event in the world. They have been used as official vehicles in the Tour de France for more than a decade with more than 250 Skodas in action at last year’s race!
So when TeamCar decided it was time for a second vehicle, the only option was a Skoda Octavia.
Perfect Car, Standout Price
Pricing generally comes at the end of a car review but we are going to let the (baby) elephant out of the room first up. Starting from under $26,000 the Octavia wagon is one of the best-priced new cars around. With equipment levels rivalling top-end Audi and Volkswagen models, it’s little wonder the Octavia is getting rave reviews and achieving soaring sales.
Roof With A View
Due to the fact we will be spending a fair amount of time behind the wheel, the TeamCar Octavia was fitted with a Travel Pack. This includes a rear view camera, four more speakers, responsive cruise control, extra parking sensors, upgraded 17-inch alloy wheels and a few other minor fittings. A full-length sun roof was also included – perfect for keeping an eye on the bikes up top and also a great vantage point for cycling video and photography (only when the car is stationary, of course)
‘1 point what?’
We were alarmed, and, to be honest, even put off a little, to find out the latest Skoda Octavia’s are equipped with a tiny 1.4-litre engine. This is 600 cc less than the previous model, and little more than the size of some motorcycle engines!
But soon after stepping inside for that first test drive it became instantly obvious that new engine technology has come ahead leaps and bounds in recent years.
Smooth as DI2
Coupled with smooth-as-silk a 7-speed DSG automatic gearbox, the Octavia’s turbo-charged 1.4 provides plenty of power. Plant the foot at any speed and you’ll be pushed back in the seat as the gearbox drops a gear or two and rockets you forward.
The addition of 4 bike racks on the roof and four people in the vehicle has a minor effect on performance, but certainly nothing significant or noteworthy.
Sips Not Slurps
A 1.4-litre capacity coupled with turbo charger and precise computer controlled fuel injection equates to minimal fuel consumption. While 5.4-litres per 100km is claimed by Skoda, we are regularly seeing 6 to 7 litres per 100km on the onboard display. Remember the TeamCar has bike racks on the roof – not the most conducive accessory to good fuel economy but better figures than we’ve ever had in any car.
All On The Screen
?Detailed fuel consumption figures are relayed from the engine management system to the touchscreen that sits in the centre of the dashboard. With safety the number one priority, controls for this screen are duplicated on the steering wheel with essential information displayed between the speedo and tacho, as all as on the touch screen.
?With Bluetooth integration as standard, the aforementioned touch screen morphs into a mobile phone controller whenever your phone is on. Calls can be made and received without taking your hands off the steering wheel, you can even program you most commonly dialled numbers into the system to allow for complete hands-free operation.
Comfort & Technology Plus
With firm front and rear seats, Team Car’s Skoda is a super-comfortable place to relax and unwind after a big morning on the bike. After one recent ride it was an absolute joy to get back to the car, switch on the engine and air-conditioning, listen to auto-streamed music and let the interior cool while securing the bikes to the racks. In the 2016 model you can even check your Strava details (plus access all your apps) directly through the in-car display!
Cavernous Cargo Space
Famous for their surprising amount of storage space, the Octavia boasts a cavernous cargo area. Fold the rear seats flat and there’s plenty enough rood for a bike, spare wheels, bags and the other assorted cycling equipment we cyclists carry for a typical day out.
The boot boasts hooks for shopping bags, straps, holders and various storage areas along with 6-tie down points. There’s also a two-way cargo mat with smooth carpeted on one side and rugged rubber on the rear. Below the flat floor is a full-size spare wheel along with all the tools you’ll need should anything ever go wrong.
?You Won’t Need Those Tools
?About those tools in the boot – you won’t need them. Skoda Australia clearly have an enormous amount of confidence in their vehicles, each coming standard with 3-years of roadside assistance. In negotiating with Peter Warren Skoda we managed to snare an extra 2-years roadside assistance, along with some fantastic bonuses from the dealer if we return for services. Speaking of servicing – the intervals are generous at 1-year or 15,000 km and the good news is all services are set to a fixed price ( around $400 per year).
Overall the new Team Car Skoda has performed faultlessly. It is comfortable, feels extremely safe, is powerful and responsive. It has amazing brakes, feels sure-footed on the road and carries our considerable amount of gear with ease. And it does all of the above while looking great!
Just Do It
?If you’re thinking about buying a Skoda Octavia our only advice would be to shop around. Dealers are competing with each other. The vehicles sell themselves so you, the customer, will always be the winner. Even if you are 100% sure about a particular vehicle ask what else can be included to seal the deal. In our case it was a $500 visa card – it certainly pays to be pushy!