Our Fleet Test Drive: Skoda Octavia vRS - 3rd Report Update
04 March 2008
Author: Hugh Hunston
 The lack of a speedo/clock light symbol on the instrument panel signalled the optional £180 cruise control was inoperative
It's been cold in the mornings and that's causing something to whine and screech...
|4 MARCH 2008|
|Forecast CPM 32.3p|
|Actual CPM 30.9p|
|Our Octavia developed an unnerving cold morning whine/screech from its steering while on full right or left lock. Ceases when rolling, and apparently down to “fluids warming up”.|
Main Report - 21 February 2008
If the Octavia, celebrating a decade in the market this year, is the model that earned Skoda business car credibility, this vRS diesel variant enhances it, with the robust 170PS 2.0-litre diesel, sporty styling additions and six-speed transmission combination making particular fleet sector logic.
An initially baulky gear change has become increasingly slick, while the handsome red wagon's flexibility and mid-range punch is rewarding. Brisk, rural, after-dark driving in wet and windy conditions underlines the chassis' balance and accuracy, too, and the previously criticised, harsh-riding 18-inch wheels generate ample grip.
The estate's departure within a month will be regretted, thanks to a blend of performance, practicality, economy and general lack of real hassle over the past 7000 miles.
But it's not perfect.
While the standard non-xenon headlights' range and spread provide a very real safety asset, other lights coming on and going off have prompted concern. First, the oil-warning indicator flashed up just before Christmas, at 6400 miles (two litres of Castrol Magnatec solved the problem), then the front nearside sidelight bulb failed  along with its offside reversing counterpart. Jewsons of Oxford (fleet specialists) efficiently replaced the pair, but for £10.21 because bulbs are disappointingly beyond the warranty remit, even after just a few months.
Frost was cited as a recurring cause - strange for a car built in a country where double-digit sub-zero temperatures are commonplace. The Octavia was, though, washed and cleaned without charge, which compensated for me having to drop off and pick up the car because I live two miles outside the collect and delivery service territory of Jewsons, which is my nearest Skoda dealer.
Shortly afterward the lack of a speedo/clock light symbol on the instrument panel  signalled the optional £180 cruise control was inoperative, but the glitch repaired itself and restored the function. Skoda's health and safety unit has also missed the lack of a warning light or chime for front seat passengers not belting up, but these are small faults in a good car.