Poor driving dynamics..
Added: 16th of September 2021
Purchased this vehicle to replace the same model of 2008 vintage. Achieved good fuel economy; 50-55 mpg from mix of urban & rural motoring & around 60 mpg at motorway cruise at 65 mph. Engine For a diesel engine it produces disappointing torque at low RPM. The engine is quite prone to the engine management system cutting the engine dead at the slightest amount of labouring. Engine mapping is awful. It suffers from a non linear throttle response with huge flat-spot between 1700 & 2500 rpm. Instead of progressive throttle response, when demanding steady acceleration its nothing,nothing,then a surge. There is ample power at higher RPM but this demands a driving style incompatible with road safety. To maintain higher engine rpm the car often needs to be rowed along on the gear box. This exposes the problem of poor selection when changing down from 4th to 3rd gear. Although an improvement on the 2008 model gear selection when changing from 4th to 3rd gear is hampered by poor narrow gating on the gear-change lever. The driver may get 3rd or 5th or 1st gear. With an already unresponsive engine a missed gear selection results in either shuddering retardation & skid risk or inability to maintain progress.The 4WD and traction control features are of little safety advantage when the driver is unable to adopt a smooth driving style due to poor engine response. On wet roads driving becomes frankly uncomfortable. Steering Compared to the 2008 model steering is quite vague & lacks the solid feel & sensitive feedback of the older model. In sport mode its just about acceptable. Road holding/ride quality. On well maintained surfaces ride quality is good & rear seat passengers comment on the smooth ride. On rutted lanes the low profile tyres/dampers struggle a bit to damp the bumps but ride remains reasonably smooth. In snow the poor engine response and low profile 55 section tyres deterred even taking the car on the road therefor I can offer no first hand information about snow capability. Brakes. Good under all conditions I've driven in. Ergonomics Seats fine, plenty of adjustments to suit driver & passenger, good legroom. Vision ok except wing mirrors give odd perspective. Sun visor bashes driver in the face when swinging across to shield sun on drivers door side. Door locking. Utter frustration. Endless clicking on the key/zapper. Ridiculous sequential clicking to unlock rear doors, boot door locks every time its closed. Try loading shopping at the supermarket car park, everytime you close a door they lock & you fiddle about in your pocket for the key again. (Main Dealer states "thats just how they are") Info-tainment system. Menus, sub menus,scroll,select,voice instructions, beep bong ping. Bang you have just hit the car in front whilst fiddling with the settings! This system requires so much cognitive effort to operate I keep it switched off. If you like tech & gadgets well here goes: GPS Display is North up. So when travelling South what you see on the left of the screen is on the right of the vehicle. If you are ok with this fine but some find it counter intuitive & there seems to be no option to change to head(ing) up display. The display is set at 500 mtrs. To change scale parameters requires much fiddling with menus,the operating manual and considerable time. As a navigation aid its takes so long to set up for a journey that its quicker to stop & ask for directions!! Most mobile phone Navigation apps outperform the built in system. Radio Well it's ok but to change station: scroll, tap, fiddle, fiddle,tap, ooops tapped in the wrong place on the screen, scroll,tap, BANG you v'e just hit the car in front because you were looking at the on screen menu and trying to tap the screen in the right place! Buttons can be turned or pressed without looking at a screen.Buttons would be much safer. Lane Assist Well we often have to move a little to the right to avoid potholes in the gutter.This seem to upset the system & cause warning beeps & messages on the dash. There is an option to turn this system off. I selected off so cant comment on its merits. Car Mode Too many acronyms in the menu.Normal,Sport (sport? its an estate) Off Road,Hill descent etc.Fiddly & time consuming to select the driving mode Once again the driver is fiddling about with a screen and menu. On a slushy muddy dark back road in winter the driver doesn't want to be fiddling about with menus. Bluetooth/Hands Free Mobile phones + driving = Dangerous distraction. Controls on the steering wheel introduce further distraction when inadvertently touched by initiating a voice demanding connection of phone etc. Further distracting messages appear on the infotainment screen and drivers display. Overall Impression Parts of the basic Octavia estate are is still there underneath but is principle attributes are undermined by poor engine performance. Low profile tyres cancel out some of the advantage of 4x4. Reliability seems fine but the gadgetry is no compensation for the loss of capability compared with earlier models. At the right price they are good cars but don't be blinded by the gadgets.