We bought our Skoda Octavia RS in March 2013. So far it has exceeded all my expectations.
It is well built, has quality interior, very economical, has a HUGE boot...it is a wagon, and most importantly it is an absolute blast to drive.
Inside it has all the mod cons that most modern cars have. Good stereo system with sat-nav, trip computer, auto lights and wipers.
Sport seats are very supportive and are finished with leather and alcantara inserts. Both have adjustment for height and are comfortable on longer trips.
Most surfaces are made from soft touch plastics but the fake carbon fiber inserts mark easily. There is plenty of storage space in the glove box, center console, on top of the dash board and under the passenger seat. There are two cup holders and two large bottle holders in the front doors. There is also a holder for sunglasses, but they must be small.
Overall fit and finish is first class. It gives the Octavia feeling of solidity.
Rear seat is good for three children and reasonable for two adults. I had three grown ups in the back once, but you want them to be close friends and don't plan on driving too far.
As mentioned earlier it has a huge boot with cargo net and fold out hooks. There is a 12V outlet and two covered compartments. All can be hidden with cargo blind.
Space saver spare lives under the boot floor.
On the outside, it is a conservative looking wagon with a nice set of 18'' alloys and excellent Continental tires. It sits a little lower than the standard Octavia too.
The day time LEDs make the front end look a little more aggressive (IMO).
Under the bonnet lives a very lively two liter turbo charged petrol engine coupled to a six speed DSG gearbox. It has a reasonable 147kw of power and 280Nm of torque.
In normal drive mode it up shifts at 5000rpm when you step on it, which makes it a rapid mover. Select the sport mode and it turns into angry little wasp. Red lines start at 6500rpm but it spins to 7000rpm in every gear emitting a nice rasp from the twin exhaust pipes. From a stand still in the sport mode traction is the biggest problem and there is some axel tramp as well.
I've read a lot of negative comments about the DSG gear boxes but I find it to be an absolute delight. What I have noticed, that if driven on a light throttle it will shift to second almost instantly, before the turbo spools up which can make take offs a little slow.
It doesn't like heavy traffic either, it is programmed to select the higher gear very quickly and than drops one or two to get going again which is rather annoying. Both situations can be overcome by selecting sport mode or use the paddle shifters.
It will hold gears without trying to be too economical.
Skoda quotes mid sevens for 0-100 but it feels quicker than the FG Falcon I had before, which was good for high sixes.
Driving around town it uses 8-10 l/100kms. 6.2l/100kms was the best I got on the flat country run.
Ride and handling is very good. It is reasonably stiff for the twisties and supple enough for around town driving.
The low profile tires make a bit of noise over coarse surfaces but the grip provided is outstanding, in dry or wet.
When pushing on through the twisty staff it is mostly neutral but it will push the front end wide eventually. By than you really have to pay attention as you are moving along very swiftly.
Are the any negatives? Yes there are. The most surprising was that it uses oil. Apparently very common with all VW group petrol engines. We are not talking about huge volumes but I had to top it up at three thousand k's...(1 liter). Currently over 18000 on the clock and uses 0.5 liter every 5000 ks. Owners manual says it is normal to use 1 liter per 1000kms....???!
It requires premium unleaded, which means over $1.60/l on the low cycle. $55-$60 for an oil filter is rather silly plus near $90 for a good synthetic oil. The sump plug is this pathetic allen key thing($15.00 replacement each oil change) that I've changed to a normal 19mm bolt, and to get to it there are eight star bolts in two sizes that hold the plastic cover underneath.
These are some of the reasons why service might be expensive.
Size wise, it is small- medium car so if you have older kids it might be a bit tight.
For us it does the job perfectly(one baby) plenty of room for the pram and shopping in the back. My wife likes driving it as well, and when I'm alone and the tacho needle bounces off the 7000rpm I can't help feeling that we made the right choice for our family car.