Last chance to buy... Skoda Octavia

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Indy Lifestyle Online

When's it going?

It's gone. There is an all-new Octavia at your local showroom and it looks pretty good. It's bigger than before, remains great value for money and could become the class leader in the family car market. The old Octavia, though, was a pretty good product and helped Skoda to relaunch itself to a sceptical public.

What's good about it?

The Octavia was proof that Skoda could be taken seriously as a maker of quality family cars. Some of the best elements from parent company Volkswagen and sister company Audi were assembled into a very attractive package. The hatchbacks and saloons had good engines, were practical,and made the Octavia an ideal choice for private buyers and first-time company car users. The ride was comfortable and the handling good.

Under the bonnet were some great Volkswagen engines. It is a practical vehicle with a huge boot. The dashboard is well designed and easy to use, and the rake adjustable steering wheel means that getting comfy is never a problem for the driver. The Skoda is no longer just a dull and worthy good-value work horse.

What's bad about it?

Lets get over that one big hurdle, the name. The image has changed beyond recognition in recent years, but mention Skoda and some people still snigger. That helps to keep used values realistic, which is great news for us bargain hunters. Rear-seat passengers had limited legroom.

How much?

There are old style Octavias around. Drivethedeal.com has a 1.9Tdi Elegance 110 estate at £13,241, saving over £2,000. Motorpoint of Derby (0870 1209626) has several models in stock from a 1.9 Tdi 110 Ambiente hatchback at £10,999 and a high-performance 1.8T RS at £12,999, which is usually £15,500.

Any snags?

As the Octavia is still primarily a private buy, we are looking for tidy, well-maintained cars. There are some scruffy ones in the fleet sector, but generally family wear takes its toll on the hatches and estates. Smokey diesel turbos and blue smoke from bore-worn petrols - these are the cars to avoid.

FACT FILE

Launched: 1998

Engine: 1.4 1.6 1.8 1.8T 1.8T RS 2.0 1.9SDi 1.9 Tdi90 1.9 Tdi 110

Performance: 1.8 0-60 10.2 secs, 125mph

Economy: 33.6mpg

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