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Oct-ober best New Octavia is a total game changer for Skoda

Skoda - Octavia 2.0 TDI 150 DSG


Complete package: The new Skoda Octavia. Photo: Paddy McGrath

Complete package: The new Skoda Octavia. Photo: Paddy McGrath

Complete package: The new Skoda Octavia. Photo: Paddy McGrath

The coronavirus has been extremely 'un-fare' to the thousands of taxi drivers all over the country.

I have many close friends in the business who are struggling to make ends meet with all these lockdown restrictions in place for the foreseeable future and my heart goes out to them in these uncertain times.

It is a tough enough industry at the best of times with many having to work long, unsociable hours just to cover the massive premiums insurance firms are now charging, never mind keeping a roof over their heads.

The taxi game is also a very important cog in the Irish motor industry wheel, accounting for thousands of new car and second hand sales every year of all makes and sizes.

One motor company that has really benefited in the last few years from taxi sales is Czech company Skoda.

The Volkswagen-owned brand owes some of its success in Ireland down to the fact that both its Octavia and Superb models are two of the main players in the taxi game.

Unfortunately, nobody saw this pandemic coming and Skoda's new Octavia was already close to production long before the outbreak.

It's a shocking pity too, because Skoda has absolutely nailed every single detail down to a fine art.

I was always a big fan of the Octavia but now the company has upped one of its core sellers a notch to make it the complete car.

The latest model to roll off the production line is more spacious, safer, better connected and a more emotive design. It's longer and wider than its predecessor, has an even larger boot and features a new Skoda design language.

The new interior combines an excellent amount of space and outstanding functionality with high-quality materials and clever details. Innovative connectivity and new assistance systems raise the comfort and safety of the brand's icon to an even higher level.

On the outside, the new Octavia features a new front apron and the razor-sharp, narrower, new headlights feature LED technology for low beam, high beam and daytime running lights as standard. The tail lights, brake lights and fog lights make use of LED technology as well.

Alloy wheels measuring up to 19 inches lend all of the model variants a powerful appearance, while Crystal Black, Lava Blue and Titan Blue have been newly added to the range of paint finishes.

On the inside, the new Octavia has been de-cluttered and is extremely spacious for all occupants with plenty of leg and head room in the rear and an increased boot size, which is up 10 litres to 600 litres.

In the newly designed interior, the Octavia offers a new two-spoke steering wheel, which can be heated as an option. If ordered as a multifunction variant it comes with new control buttons and 'knurled' scroll wheels, allowing drivers to operate a total of 14 different functions without removing their hands.

The centre console is elegant, uncluttered and adorned with chrome details - as are the new door trims and handles.

New and soft-touch materials lend the interior a premium look. The new LED ambient lighting indirectly illuminates the front doors, dashboard and footwells.

A whole range of new safety systems such as Collision Avoidance Assist, Turn Assist, Exit Warning and the Local Traffic Warning function are also making their debut at Skoda.

The all-new Octavia now includes Area View, Side Assist and Predictive Cruise Control together with the updated version of Traffic Sign Recognition as well as Adaptive Lane Assist, Traffic Jam Assist and Emergency Assist.

On the road the road the new Octavia is extremely comfortable both on motorways and around town.

My test car was fitted with the seven-speed automatic gearbox matted to a 2.0 TDI diesel engine with 150bhp and it never put a foot wrong.

Prices for the new Octavia start at €23,950 for the 1.0-litre petrol Active model while prices for the range-topping 2.0-litre seven-speed DSG Style model are still to be confirmed by Skoda Ireland.

Which ever model you go for, believe me, this is the complete car for both families and business types.