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Motors

See why Skoda Octavia is Ireland’s car

Thursday, 29th October, 2020 10:17am

Speaking of cars being precisely what they should be, the Skoda Octavia has, over the years since its original 1998 launch, become Ireland’s car.

What began as a bargain-basement special, for frugal shoppers and taxi operators, has become almost a default choice for Irish car buyers. The Octavia actually now regularly outsells the VW Golf with which it shares its mechanical package, and its success has pushed Skoda from being a niche brand to being the fourth-best selling car brand in the country.

So, this new model had to be right, and right from the start. Thankfully, that seems to be the case. For a kick-off, if you’re going to buy and Octavia, you have to buy the Combi estate. It has so much sheer volumetric room behind the back seats — 630 litres with the luggage cover pulled across — that hardly any comparable SUV nor crossover can compete in practicality terms.

As is common for a Skoda, it also has lounging space in the back seats, so if you’re looking for practicality, you’ve found it here.

Further up front, there’s a hugely classy cabin built around two screens — one for instruments and one in the middle for everything else. As with so many current cars, it would benefit from a few more physical switches to make operating things on the go a little easier, but you do become used to it given time.

The Octavia doesn’t try to be something it’s not, so don’t go expecting sports-car-like responses.

This is much more about wafting effortlessly from one end of the country to another, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Well, we would but that’s what the incoming sporty RS models (which will now come with a choice of petrol, diesel, or plugin-hybrid power) will provide. There will also be a less sporty, but hugely frugal ‘iV’ plugin-hybrid version too, as Skoda continues its own journey towards electric power.

The Octavia Combi is just one of those cars that proves we were all wrong about buying SUVs in the first place.

Just buy an estate; you won’t regret it.Neil Briscoe

neil.briscoe@mac.com

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