The Sign of 8 - Owning Skoda Octavia, The Beautiful
After my Sparky met with an accident - though me and my family were safe and sound other than minor bruises (thank you Sparky) and after we started limping back to normal - being without a car for a month started to be overbearing and we started thinking of alternatives.
It had to be a sedan but I was on a restricted budget after the sudden accident and I started exploring my long forgotten dream of owning the then head-turning Skoda Octavia. Since it was discontinued in the market from 2010, pre-owned Octavias seemed to be offered comparatively cheap. It also had to be a diesel, and the 1.9 TDI engine seemed one robust piece of engineering, and the only consideration was of Skoda's expensive service, which could be circumvented by going to a trusted garage such as Tune Up Plus Baner, and parts could be arranged from trusted Kashmere Gate Dealers etc. with CESC's and other team-bhpians help.
If you looked hard you could get bargains, and generally even hard-driven Octavias that have clocked over a lakh kilometers would last you for a long time if they had been serviced regularly. There were lots of used Octavias but I avoided dealers like plague (with odometer readings of under 60,000 kms for 2003 models it was too good to be true, and hence probably was)
So I spent a weekend in Mumbai scouting for Octavias, and I am glad to say that the team-bhp classifieds were the most authentic, real McCoys. Each one I looked at seemed to have something against it for maintenance , but then I stumbled upon a Parsi-owned 2003 model which had done around 78,000 kms but the owner had clearly bestowed his loving care upon it. This was finally the one I selected and the whole operation was based more on trust rather than my technical abilities to judge a car.
It was a 1.9 TDI Elegance model.
- In pristine condition, with an almost new-car feel inspite if having eight years history with it. Not even minor dents, scratches or anything that would take away from new.
- Engine maintained really well, tell-tale signs care visible.
- All stock fittings, stock music system, stock keyless entry, stock upholstery (all other Octavias I had seen seemed to have an aftermarket music unit, or a duplicate key or atleast the original trim ripped off and upholstery level degraded)
- No signs of rust even though it was a Mumbai vehicle, I am not sure if all Octavias are built anti-rust.
- Clutch feels good, not hard. Engine feels great, no issues. Gear box great – gears slot in like butter.
- Drivability and handling is impeccable, and all the Skoda build positives – doors close with a macho thud, tank-like build though slightly creaky like an old well lived house, but that makes it more homely.
- Servicing – timing belt has been changed, new battery.
The CD Changer doesn't work since the rubber gasket had leaked during the rains (owner had it changed) and water had leaked into the boot. The head unit only has a cassette player and Radio. This probably is me nitpicking.
Tyres may need to be replaced soon. Manufacturing date on tyres says 2007.
I will talk about the two most important things other than the standard report:
- In the third, fourth and fifth gear if the car is being driven in the economy zone it "latches in" into the optimal economy speed and cruises along without the accelerator being needed to be pressed.
- The FE reading in l/100 km has made a better driver out of me. It is invaluable.