If you are of a certain age, you will recall the Skoda jokes doing the rounds, such as:
What do you call a Skoda with a sunroof: A skip.
How do you double the value of a Skoda? Fill it with petrol.
What do you call a Skoda on a hill? A miracle.
All very funny and true back in the day, but you will be laughing on the other side of your face recently as Skoda, following their purchase by Volkswagen in 1994, are now utterly reliable, well built and make a very sensible purchase.
Created in the Czech Republic way back in 1905, Skoda failed to keep pace with the rapid progression in vehicle technology and became the butt of every joke out there. So that’s it, you would think. Who on earth could recover a brand after such a drubbing?
In come the Germans to the rescue, and today we have a car that was voted top of the driver satisfaction table in 2011 at 88.4%, ahead of Porsche at 87.6%, and was voted the most satisfying car to drive in the UK. Both Skoda as a brand and the Octavia itself have finished consistently highly in the Driver Power customer satisfaction surveys in the last few years. In 2015 the Octavia finished in 11th place in the survey overall, an excellent result.
The Octavia is a very good car, but the third generation Octavia comes with the vRS variant that can keep pace with a Golf GTi. Mine had the DRG gearbox that works smoothly and got me to 62mph in 6.9 seconds and on to 152mph. You get the same running gear as the GTi, although the larger body will be noticed in the corners, but you really have to push it to notice this. The steering is precise, the ride is very comfortable, and, give it a good kicking and it really shifts. There is more than a whiff of Golf around the entire car, but that’s no bad thing.