2006 Skoda Octavia ambiente 1.9 TDI from Taiwan
A blend of Toyota-like pragmatism with VW engineering and a touch of Audi class
Nothing yet. The car arrived new from showrooms. One tiny complaint - The leather seats were covered with plastic sheets, however, some dust still managed to gather on the leather. Someone also forgot to wipe off the official chalk markings on the leather seats on the passenger side. The dealership was really shoddy.
New in Taiwan. The fledgling dealership needs a BIG overhaul in its sales staff and service. They know little about the car and less about the miraculous turn-around story that is Skoda. Unfortunately, their only sales-pitch seems to be:
1) It's European, whilst trying to de-emphasize the "Eastern-European, Czech" heritage. They fear no one would "get it"... and they are probably correct. But they can make a better effort.
2) It's cheaper and roomier than a comparable VW, whilst NOT emphisizing the VAG engineering inherent in the Octavia. - The VW Golf is Taiwan's most successful imported motor vehicle. So it's a yardstick. However, telling customers about the Golf V underpinnings may actually help!
Otherwise, the car drives well and I love the torque and surge of a diesel engine. I had a 1.7td Opel Astra once, but this engine pulls harder and responds much better. This 1.9TDI may be a little loud when pushed, but the Octavia sounds quieter than the Golf V with the same engine.
The ride has been made supple and more cushioned for the poor road conditions locally. I am grateful for that. Plus the DSG gearbox is a beaut. I am fond of CVTs (which was installed in my Honda Jazz back in South Africa)
The understated, but classy interior is a stark contrast to the fake wood / plasticky interiors so widespread in Asia. It's no Audi yet, but its no worse than a VW Golf. The Golf/Octavia are a cut above the interiors intoned in locally produced cars (Honda/Nissan/Mitsubishi/Toyota). People have different concepts of luxury here. For them, its about excessive wood & chromes and DVDs. That's why you find cars with one airbag only, but loaded to the brim with other electrical gadgetry.
The aircon, CD radio, cruise control, wipers + sensors and parking sensors work well so far.
My last European car was an Opel, and I have owned a Mercedes (W124) E230 too. This car reminds me why a well made Teutonic Automobile is still so desirable.
I loved the Superb too, but the price was not right, and the only diesel was a 2.5 V6 - which felt great to drive, but was too costly to maintain.
Skoda and VW has a good thing going here. Unfortunately, I would prefer they come into Asia by themselves rather than let some 2nd rate local dealership handle their sales. Judging by the sales numbers in New Zealand, India, China, Singapore and Taiwan, they are not doing too well.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 22nd September, 2007