2003 Skoda Octavia Ambiente 1.9 TDI 90BHP


It does nothing badly and most things well


Air conditioning needed filling but was fixed under warranty.

Throttle body slightly sticky so it revs sometimes stay at 1,000RPM instead of 850-900RPM

Rear washer pipe detached filling boot with washer fluid. I fixed this while sitting in the huge boot.

The rear seat back was rattling but I fixed it with some sticky felt pads.

General Comments:

I can't think of anything this car does badly.

There have been niggly little problems, but nothing that has left me stranded. After 15,000 miles it is still showing no indication of requiring a service - absolutely remarkable!

It is comfortable, easy and relaxing to drive. It is easy to park with the reversing sensors too.

Space inside is excellent and the boot is enormous. It's so big you can sit inside it comfortably which was useful when I was fixing the rear washer pipe! The Octavia boot swallows 2 shopping trolleys full of stuff with no need to fold the rear seats. I've managed to get some 1.8m interior doors in the car with the rear seats down too.

The engine is slightly noisy at tick-over when the diesel clatter is obvious, but when driving it just makes a muted hum in the background. It is not as refined as the more modern diesels like the 130 BHP TDi PD. There can be some wind noise from around the front pillars, but it only becomes intrusive at higher speeds.

The gearbox (4 speed auto) is good most of the time, and kicks down quickly enough when needed.

The brakes are good and the handling is OK as long as you remember the car is more of a cruiser than a sprinter. If you push VERY hard you can provoke slides and understeer, but it is predictable and controllable. This isn't a performance trait, more of a safety one.

I'm averaging around 48 mpg and the car has used virtually no engine oil in 15,000 miles. The front tyres are about 50% worn and the back tyres are down just a few millimetres.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th February, 2005

2nd Feb 2006, 06:05

At the end of the day, you have made an excellent choice. The Skoda represents real value for money. The marque has a century old tradition of manufacturing unique and technologically advanced vehicles. The latest batch of Skoda models are ALL winners.

17th Sep 2006, 10:11

I have an Octavia, it has done 80000 Miles plus and its still a master on the road. Any day better value for money than the civic. My friend had a head on with a truck and took a taxi home. This is when I bought it. Cheers.

2003 Skoda Octavia Laurin and Klement 1.8T 150bhp 20V


Superb car, brilliant performance, and cheap to buy


Ignition coil failed and required roadside assistance.

Windscreen wipers failed after 500 miles.

General Comments:

Despite the early mechanical problems, the Octavia has been exceptionally reliable.

I chose the top of the range trim with all leather seats, with walnut effect inserts and it really looks the part.

The car drives effortlessly and is extremely comfortable especially on those long runs. Kick the accelerator hard and the car really performs.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th December, 2004

6th May 2005, 15:45

I'd be interested to know more about the running costs, and why the reviewer awarded only 5/10 for a car which I would expect to be cheap to run.

13th Jun 2006, 10:43

It's a 1.8 20 valve turbocharged petrol engine, rated at 150 BHP. That's why it has a 5/10 rating for economy. My Octavia Estate 1.8T Elegance averages about 36MPG. It is a high performance engine, hence the score!

2003 Skoda Octavia Elegance 1.9TD


A really super car, well priced, quick and economical.


In nearly a year the only defect has been the rear screen washer. This stopped working and water leaked from under the tail-gate cover, indicating a pipe off or broken. This was fixed under the warranty without fuss.

General Comments:

This car is quick and economic, miles per gallon average out at 52 mpg. This is the true figure, not that from the trip computer which is optimistic by around 2%.

The climate control ensures comfort in all weather conditions and there is an electric sunroof, if the need for natural sunlight is felt.

At first the seats appear very hard, this is a Germanic trait, but one soon gets used to this and on longer journeys the firm seats actually add to comfort.

The instruments are very clear and controls fall easily to touch. The panel light is adjustable and there is a headlamp level control. The only drawback is the heater is poorly sited, not too much of a problem once you can remember where the controls are. Because the system is largely automatic the settings can be entered and forgotten, anyhow. The cigarette lighter point is also poorly sited and the left hand has to reach back to activate it.

The six Cd magazine works well and the sound from the 8 speaker stereo is superb. Automatic volume for speed differences is standard and is a 'set and forget' item.

Speed and handing are excellent, this car will out accelerate many petrol cars and cruises effortlessly at motorway speed. On a run 60 to the gallon is easily achievable, making it the most economic car I have owned.

The service interval, using fully synthetic oil, is 30,000 miles. This is the one aspect I am doubtful of, such a long service interval encourages neglect, in my opinion.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 31st July, 2004

19th Oct 2004, 05:40

I agree with you about that long service interval, it MAY be OK if you cover 30k miles in under a year, but otherwise it's a trick by manufacturers to pretend to be offering value. I always have an oil and filter change (use synthetic it is better) every six months on my cars regardless. Use your dealer to do the changes to avoid warranty quibbles, the car will run better and be more fuel efficient.

14th Feb 2005, 22:31

Don't be fooled by the service interval claim of 30,000 miles. the norm is that the car will call for a service around 20k and is certainly unlikely to exceed 21 or 22k. - very much depends on driving conditions. However, i gather that the condition of the oil is a significant factor for the sensors so I guess that an interim change at 10k - 15k could fool the computer into delaying the service call so you get the claimed 30k - Haven't put it to the test though. I have had my Octavia 18 months and its proved itself to be a really good car.