2002 Skoda Octavia Reviews

2002 Skoda Octavia Ambiente 1.9 TDi turbo diesel from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture2002
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2012
Engine and transmission 1.9 TDi turbo diesel Manual
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Dealer Service marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.2 / 10
Distance when acquired16100 miles
Most recent distance87650 miles

Summary:

Best car I have ever owned

Faults:

Oil leak from oil sender unit - fixed under warranty, 2005.

Brake light sender unit failed, 2007.

ARB bushes failed, 2007.

Alternator failure, 2011.

Springs under driver's seat failed, 2009.

Driver's seat back worn back to foam on door side, 2012.

ARB bushes failing, 2012.

Original exhaust will need replacing in 2012.

General Comments:

71000 owner miles and still going strong!

Got this car April 02 car in March 03, with a high 16100 miles on the clock, fully serviced and ex fleet rental in perfect condition. The documentation in the car indicated the car had done 16k in 6 months.

Fuel consumption is excellent, even approaching its 10th birthday, averaging 48 MPG (combined) with peaks of 72 MPG on a family holiday to Cornwall and back. Currently (driving carefully), I am able to to get 58 MPG on the run to work with fuel from Morrison's.

Handling has been good, but getting sloppy, I fear the ARB bushes have gone again, as the front is not as tight as it should be; I'll get them fixed with the MOT next month. The extra roll seems to affect the braking as well. Tyre wear is slightly strange, the original front Firehawks did in excess of 50000 miles, but the TZ300 replacements are nearly worn out in 22000 miles For the record, the last original Firehawk (on the rear) was replaced 6 months ago.

Performance is average for its age, 0-60 in about 12 seconds, or slightly more in order to get the miles out of the fuel.

Load performance, the boot is massive! Over the years, Silver Cross metal chassis, carry cot, push chairs, suitcases, toys, food, not to mention furniture and fence panels (with the seats down), add that to a very large (now ex) wife and 3 children in the back.

Will be keeping this car as long as I can. Well I can't afford a newer model.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th March, 2012

2002 Skoda Octavia Ambiente 1.9 turbo diesel from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture2002
First year of ownership2009
Most recent year of ownership2011
Engine and transmission 1.9 turbo diesel Automatic
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Dealer Service marks 6 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.2 / 10
Distance when acquired55000 miles
Most recent distance82000 miles
Previous carNissan Primera

Summary:

Solid but undynamic as a driver's car

Faults:

Turbo failure three months after purchase.

Otherwise, reliability and build are exemplary.

General Comments:

Bought the Skoda in 09 after owning the same rock solid reliable Nissan for 9 years and 110 000 miles. Nissan now seem to sell either tanks, midlife crisis mobiles or supermarket trolleys, all of which have their time / place, but that time or place wasn't then or there, so with regret I bade them farewell. I needed a family car, with an economical engine and an auto box. Toyota don't spec their diesel Avensis with an auto box, so I couldn't go for that.

I've never understood people who buy cars without first scanning JD Power or this site or any of the other robust survey info, and then wonder why the transmission's fallen out of their car - forgivable in the seventies when the data was under wraps, but no longer. So I looked carefully. Where did the research point me? The taxi guys' fave, the Octavia.

Bagging an auto diesel was hard. Couldn't bargain anyone down below £3600 for one with low miles and a service history. Octavias generally have a higher used value than competitor cars that size. The petrols are not as expensive, especially the 2.0. The poverty spec version - the classic - has no aircon, and is therefore a tricky on-sell.

I found my 02 Ambiente in Blackpool, originally a London car, nicely specced up - auto, metallic, electric sunroof, cruise, reverse bleepy thing. The computer was tuned to 'old man' mode too - blip the car shut and all the windows close too. It had 55K on the clock.

Now it wasn't a driver's car - it wallowed on corners, and was loud on starting and at low speeds. But I didn't much care. It was comfortable, towed well and made for a relaxed motorway cruiser at the legal limit. There's not much leg room, but my kids only have stupid short legs anyhow.

Three months in and the turbo failed - cost a grand to put right! Wished I'd gone for the petrol model at that point. To be fair to the car, that's all that did fail in the two years we owned it. I planned to wring every drop of life out of it as I had with the Primera.

I drove it from the North of England to the French Alps for a ski holiday, and it was the perfect transport. (Incidentally, why do french motorways have just two lanes? It's not like they're short of countryside.)

It met its highly premature doom on the school run in June this year (2011). There's a junction where I'd always advised my wife to turn left rather than attempt the tricky but more direct right. Now I realise it's very unusual for a wife to disregard the advice of a husband, but remarkably, that's what happened, and a Vauxhall van hit the side of the Skoda, taking out chunks of the front nearside steering geometry, rendering it a total loss.

I looked on Autotrader and ebay. The equivalent replacement was £2700 to £3000. I'd paid £3650 2 years previous, plus a grand 3 months later for the turbo. My insurance company, named after a high ranking naval rank, were quick to make me an offer. £1600,less the £300 excess. Now I'd been told that insurance companies were now more customer friendly and the old adage of 'don't take the first offer' is no longer applicable. Really? Much energy sapping wrangling followed, with me eventually saying 'find me the equivalent car then for that money!'

I settled for £2300. I gave up on finding an auto, and bought an 03 Skoda Octavia from a Leeds dealer for £2185, knowing I'd have to pay out to spec it up, have a tow bar fitted and replace its missing spare key. It had had the expensive timing belt done (as had the one that had just been written off, groan.) And it had 112 K on the clock, significantly more than its forebear.

Curiously the replacement car feels radically different. It feels more like a Focus than it feels like its predecessor Skoda. It's tauter, more responsive, and corners better. Why? Hard to say. It has alloy wheels, 20 more bhp (the old one had just 90), it's a year newer, and it's the top spec (Laurin and Klement.) Maybe it's something to do with all that.

It's more economical than the old one because it's manual (35 mpg on the punishing school run and 50 at M way speeds, all of which puts it in a cheaper road tax bracket.) And it's quieter.

Having had my fingers burned with the turbo failure, I'd considered buying the petrol model. But then after talking to my wife, we'd decided the diesel's better for towing. So we took the risk.

Dammit, three weeks into ownership and the turbo's packed up! Another grand! The dealer's saying 'sold as seen'.

But the legal advice I've received is that the 'sold as seen' concept does not apply when selling to a non dealer. So it looks like I'll see him in court. And again, apart from turbo, it seems solid. It's towed a c*ra*an across Wales and the Lakes this summer, and survived being clamped while I was emptying the boot (when are they going to fix that stupid law in the UK?)

So. I'll let you draw your own conclusions... I'd be interested to hear others' stories.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th September, 2011

24th Dec 2011, 03:32

Quick update: the 03 car is reliable generally, although it needed a new water pump in November '11 (at 117,000).

The dealer won't accept responsibility for the turbo, so I've begun court proceedings.

26th May 2012, 17:28

And under threat of court action, the dealer eventually stumped up £625 (the turbo cost me £900).

Average review marks: 8.3 / 10, based on 19 reviews