It's easy to fall in love with the car that's made for real life

No-one ever bought a Skoda Octavia because they thought it was sexy.

Good-looking, yes. Sexy? Not really. But once you have one it's very easy to fall in love with it, because it will never, ever let you down.

Mine arrived with fatherhood on the horizon and the imperative was to get a car that was cheap with a big enough boot to cope with all the paraphernalia that comes with carting children around.

That was six years ago. At the time, the company's Volkswagen-inspired renaissance was kicking in, the sly, witty ad campaigns were running and the company had just removed the reassuring words "Volkswagen Group" from the rear of the car.

Mine was a two-litre automatic, 18 months old, and cost £7,000. In the six years I've had it, it has never given me a headache. It coped admirably with the arrival of another child (and more gear) and is capacious enough to take the four of us camping for a week without breaking a sweat. And that, in a nutshell, is the appeal. This car just copes.

There is, after all that, a certain smugness about the Skoda-owning experience – but not in a bad way. When I bought mine, a colleague had recently bought a VW Golf, essentially the same car as the Octavia, of about the same age and mileage. He paid about £4,000 more, and has had to splash out more to replace it with a bigger car.

The ultimate compliment came recently as I was about to load up the boot and saw that someone had actually nicked the badge. That's when you know a car has arrived.

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