Test driving SUVs to see if Skoda Octavia still makes sense

I started with the Jeep Compass & later test drove the Tiguan. I also have my eyes on the Skoda Kodiaq.

BHPian solaris007 recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

I took a few test drives to confirm whether the Octavia still made any sense or not.

First, I started with the Jeep Compass Model S 4x4 Diesel Automatic - it was my front runner from the very beginning as I really liked it during my first test drive. However, the second time around, I seemed to be more aware of all its shortcomings:

  • Loud idle and engine noise: This car can best be described as a beast. For those who love the manly diesel clatter and noise during high revs, this car is perfect. I did notice this noise during my first test drive but I turned off the music system this time to really hear it. Definitely did not want to live with this Diesel engine noise after coming from smooth, silent petrol engines.
  • Passable interiors: Compared to the previous generation this is definitely a huge step up but on closer inspection, there are a lot of scratchy low quality plastics. I use a Hyundai Venue as my daily driver and I would honestly be hard-pressed to tell you there is a significant difference between the two. No “wow” feeling at all.
  • Flimsy doors: Even I could not believe this and I did not remember experiencing it on my first test drive. The doors did not close with the expected reassuring thuds (maybe my mind was tuned to my experiences with the VW/Skoda cars). The door actually flexed a little on closing - which was very surprising to me.
  • Technical issues: The first time I test drove this there were issues with connecting with CarPlay wirelessly. I chalked it up to a rare instance. However, history repeated itself and no matter what the SA did, he could not get it to work. He even tried unsuccessfully with his phone. Wireless charging was hit or miss, had to get the position of the phone exactly right for it to work.

I finished the test drive very unimpressed. I already knew going in that the performance would not leave a smile on my face but there were just too many negatives for me and so I was back to square one.

Then I test drove the Tiguan. Damn, that is a fine-looking car from every angle (except the basic looking alloys). It had the performance but the interiors and features left a lot to be desired. During the test drive, I kept asking myself why I should settle for a car that does not “wow” me as Octavia does. I had given up on the Octavia since the Kodiaq Sportline was announced and it covered most of its shortcomings.

However, further thinking lead me to ask myself - do I really, really need that SUV ground clearance for 95% city driving? Do I need that massive panoramic sunroof? Do I need those 1-2 extra speakers on an already excellent music system? Would this be the last time I would think of buying a sedan as old age eventually catches up?

Even if those features are good to have - are they worth almost 10L+ (30% premium) over the Octavia? I am not so sure now.

Here's what BHPian CircleOfLife had to say about the matter:

Those are valid questions. Will this be your primary vehicle for the everyday commute? In your shoes & being in Hyderabad, there is one more question to add to the list on Sedan vs SUV debate in your mind. Would you be comfortable enough to take a low slung Sedan on waterlogged roads? I would always be very cautious in a rainy season & this will always be back of my mind during a downpour.

Also not a big fan of the touchscreen panel in Octavia, add to that if you have noticed it is more oriented towards the left-hand side. While driving it's not comfortable that the home screen button is far towards the left-hand side and one has to bend to reach towards the far left. To an extent, these are addressed by a few physical buttons provided but otherwise, it's uncomfortable ergonomics.

If you travel through narrow roads or very tight parking regularly then that's the only place where owning a big SUV is a challenge.

Kodiaq addresses the shortcomings of Octavia. If Kodiaq or even Karoq were available during my purchase decision then they would have been more favourable.

Every vehicle has its shortcomings but with Jeep, there should be one more factor to weigh in, there is only 1 dealer in the city, you have to live with them irrespective of the levels of service experience you get from them. Prefer to go with any brand that has multiple dealers as this gives you a degree of flexibility.

Take multiple drives, I would say at least 3-5 times and on different routes & timing each time. You should be able to gauge what appeals to you and which shortcomings you will be able to make peace with. At the end of the day, you should be also satisfied when you sit behind the wheel else the sheer experience of ownership falls apart.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

Love Cars Live Cars