Tuesday, 21 January 2014

SSBB Fleet: Octavia vRS

Words & photos - Daniel Bevis

Say hello to the newest member of the SuckSqueezeBangBlow fleet - the 2005 Škoda Octavia vRS. This replaces the old '02 SEAT Léon Cupra 20VT, which met an ignominious end two days before Christmas. (Unfortunate business. 2mph crash, hit by a guy in a Vectra in a bus lane, wrote the poor thing off, don't want to talk about it.)
So, why an Octavia? Well, we'd been very happy with the Léon as a family car, and the Octavia vRS has exactly the same 180bhp, 1.8-litre, 20v turbo engine as the Cupra (right down to the AUQ engine code) as well as many other shared bits. Hell, it's basically the same car. But it's also 32cm longer, meaning that it has an absurdly capacious boot, big enough to swallow pushchairs and luggage with casual aplomb. The interior's a bit nicer too, with swanky half-leather seats in a shade of white that will undoubtedly be ever so practical with a toddler on board...
It's done 124k, but that's barely run in with one of these, right? It used to be a paramedic car so there's oodles of service history, and the dealer fitted a new cambelt & water pump and a new clutch & dual-mass flywheel before we took delivery. (I was very pleased about this last part - we contributed £250 toward the clutch, compared to the £1,100 we paid for the same job on the Léon in 2012...!) So, it's all looking good. Future plans include new discs & pads, better tyres, and a speaker/head unit upgrade - but for now, the SSBB family barge is ready to rock 'n' roll. A slightly expensive silver lining to the Léon debacle, hopefully.

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