I bought the Octavia as an approved used car from a Skoda dealer. I haven't been disappointed with the car, however, the supplying dealer wasn't brilliant. They made a meal of replacing an indicator lens, requiring the car to go back three times for such a small job. I found this somewhat unacceptable.
Aside from the dealer service, I cannot fault my experience of the Octavia. It is very comfortable, I do over 40k miles per year & I reach my destination relaxed and stress free. The brakes are sharp, however they often screech loudly. This has been put down to the previous owner using non Skoda pads.
The car's performance is very good, quite surprising for only 105bhp and a relatively large car. It is easy to 'chip' the 1.9PD TDi engine and this only adds to the performance. The handling is acceptable, nothing amazing, but OK. It does wallow through the corners somewhat when hurrying it a little. It is not as composed as, say a Mondeo. However, that is the only area where the Mondeo leads the Octavia.
The boot space is ample, plenty of room for suitcases and overnight bags. On a recent visit to the tip, the Skoda took everything I needed in one visit.
The level of equipment is superb. Climate & cruise control, CD auto changer (when it works), reverse parking sensors, alloy wheels, 4 electric windows to name, but a few are all standard. The fit and finish is top draw too. The only reason to choose the equivalent VW is for the badge. This is coming from a motor trade professional, and no, I don't work for Skoda.
Anyway, moving on. The seats are great and there is a lot of adjustment to get the driving position perfect. The dashboard is great, you feel 'wrapped' into the car. This helps with the driving experience.
The supplying dealer experience may not have been great, but visiting a different dealer for servicing increased my views of Skoda dealers. They were very polite professional & couldn't do enough for me. It's amazing how the service can vary within the same network.
On the subject of servicing, the timing belt is due at 80k miles along with a major service. Allow between £550 to £720 for all this to be done. The brake fluid also needs changing every 2 years at around £50. These are the quotes I was given for mine to be done. I would suggest allowing for this should you be looking at a higher mileage Octavia.