Skoda Octavia - Turbo or hybrid... which is the greater gamble? - Larches

Struggling to decide between new (well, probably year-old) car options, so I'm hoping for some (educated) opinions.

Any thoughts on whether either of these is a safer bet than the other?

a) Skoda TSI... with a turbo that could spell trouble at some point (would have the remainder of a 3 year warranty)
or
b) Toyota hybrid... with battery, CVT and fancy hybrid system that could spell trouble at some point (would have the remainder of a 5 year warranty - extensible to 8 years on the battery if serviced by Toyota).

And what about the much-lauded but apparently problematic DSG transmission option on the Skoda? Is it likely to be sound on a recent (say 14-plate) Octavia (7s dry clutch variant, is it?), or still likely to be bad news?

Edited by Larches on 16/12/2015 at 22:03

Skoda Octavia - Turbo or hybrid... which is the greater gamble? - RobJP

As far as I'm aware, HJ personally refuses to recommend ANY DSG gearboxes, whether the 6 or 7 speed, due to the sheer volume of problems that have been reported, and VAGs attitude when confronted with problems.

The Toyota hybrid drive, on the other hand, has been around a long time (though obviously being continually advanced and tweaked), and is very highly regarded for reliability.

Skoda Octavia - Turbo or hybrid... which is the greater gamble? - Avant

Despite being on my third Octavia vRS and being very happy with all of them, I haven't kept any of them (or indeed two VWs and an Audi before them) for more than 3 years.

Turbos can go wrong on any engine, and I don't think VW Group turbos are any worse than others. But there are plenty of tales of VW Group cars going wrong, often just after the warranty has expired. The troubles are often with the DSG but not confined to it.

On balance I think a manual petrol Skoda should be OK if you look after it and have it serviced regularly. A Toyota hybrid is a complex piece of machinery but the Prius has been in production for some years and seems to have a very good reputation for reliability. I'm put off a little by my sister-in-law's 3-year-old Auris hybrid which was left at Gatwick for under a week and flattened the small auxiliary battery which is for starting the engine.

But you need to try both: these two are very different cars to drive, and you may strongly prefer one over the other, depending on your particular needs and style of driving.

Skoda Octavia - Turbo or hybrid... which is the greater gamble? - madf

Toyota hybrids have top class reputations for reliability.

Skoda Octavia - turbo or hybrid... which is the greater gamble? - Larches

Thanks everyone. I notice Toyota have brought out a new 1.2 turbo on the Auris... I wonder which will prove more reliable between that and VW's 1.2 TSI... no doubt time will tell.

@Avant - I know the problem you're referring to about the Auris's 12v battery. It seems to have been quite widespread, but I believe that Toyota eventually tracked it down to a problem involving the ECU and hazard lights, and now have a fix for it (so presumably rectified in production too).

Must say that although Skoda seem to have a very good reputation compared to VW Group in general (leaving Dieselgate aside), I'm still more inclined to trust Toyota, even after a spate of recalls in recent years (in fact maybe some of those are due to them being less inclined to sweep stuff under the carpet, who knows). Then there's that 5 year / 100k mile warranty.

As for dealerships... there's a Skoda one about 15 miles away where they seem nice enough, but I already know the Toyota centre only 5 miles away and they've been generally very good, which counts for a lot.

So, the Octavia seems very competent on the face of it, and gets rave press reviews (4 or 5 stars), where the Auris gets more like 2 or 3 stars and lots of comments like "not exciting", "OK, but far from the best", "sensible transport", "materials not as good as a Golf", "not nice to drive like a [Golf/Focus]" etc etc... but personally I'm seeing quite a few points in its favour. And unlike most of the reviewers, I'll be living with (and paying for) my choice, not having a play and then handing it back.

Skoda Octavia - turbo or hybrid... which is the greater gamble? - Boroman
As an Auris (but not hybrid) owner, I can say it isn't as boring to drive as testers would have you believe. It is generally quiet, thought suffers from road noise on rougher surfaces. It can shift when you need it to but does need revs (1.6 engine) and is very fuel efficient on a run with high forties and even low fifties mpg possible though this can drop to low thirties with the city centre commute to and from work.
Reliability has been 100% so far, it's a '13 plate bought at one year old and has 24000 on the clock. Test drive one, you may be very pleasantly surprised.
Skoda Octavia - Turbo or hybrid... which is the greater gamble? - nortones2

Avant: The auxilliary battery powers the electronics only. Starting is performed by the traction battery via one of the two generators.

Skoda Octavia - Turbo or hybrid... which is the greater gamble? - Smileyman

this raises a good question about the long term reliability of all cars with small turbocharged engines v more traditional non turbo engines ... the VAG 1.2 turbo petrol engines seem to be very popular found across the whole range of VAG branded cars, Nissan's 1.2 turbo engine is another example, so are they good for say 150k or 200k miles (assuming proper maintenance of course)

Skoda Octavia - Turbo or hybrid... which is the greater gamble? - Avant

"As an Auris (but not hybrid) owner, I can say it isn't as boring to drive as testers would have you believe."

Good point, and I think it applies to most Toyotas, certainly the ones I've test-driven. As ever, most testers (HJ and his team being honourable exceptions) think the greatest virtue is the ability to tackle twisty B-roads - which is why BMWs so often win group tests.

It's fair to say that Auto Express has recently awarded wins to some Audis, showing improved objectivity with Steve Fowler as editor.

Larches, if you do end up with a Toyota, you'll probably be very happy with it: you're actually looking at two makes which consistently achieve very high customer satisfaction in surveys.

Skoda Octavia - Turbo or hybrid... which is the greater gamble? - Auristocrat

As regards the battery warranty, once the standard battery warranty expires, Toyota offers a 'hybrid health check' which extends the battery warranty for 1 year or 10,000 miles, whichever occurs first. This can be renewed up to the car's 10th birthday.

Hybrid health checks are included free with a Toyota dealer service, or, if one has servicing done elsewhere, one can just purchase the hybrid health check from a Toyota dealer for £35 each.

If one continues to have hybrid health checks done after the standard battery warranty expires, and if one has a hybrid health check done just before the car's 10th birthday, it will provide battery warranty coverage for almost 11 years.

Edited by Auristocrat on 18/12/2015 at 10:32

Skoda Octavia - Turbo or hybrid... which is the greater gamble? - gordonbennet

Auristocrat, could we pick your brain for mo?, you're the one who seems to know the score all things Toyota.

What the current state of play with Toyota hybrid batteries please, is it a case of an eye watering bill for a whole new pack when they start to fail, do Toyota dealers get involved in isolating failing cells and replacing only those needed, is it an exchange unit or a brand new one.

Lots of questions in there i know, but there's not many places one could ask seeing as the hatred on many forums, sometimes towards Toyota in general but especially their hybrids, is there an indy aftermarket yet with a handy bloke in a shed who knows his onions rebuilding these packs and offering an exchange service for sensible money...i understand such a chap exists in Britain offering this service for Hondas so presumably only a matter of time before some enterprising fellow does the same for Toyota.

Much obliged for any info.

Edited by gordonbennet on 18/12/2015 at 10:47

Skoda Octavia - Turbo or hybrid... which is the greater gamble? - Auristocrat

As far as I'm aware, Toyota dealers don't check which cells need replacement, it is a matter of replacing the battery pack. A battery pack from Toyota costs around £800 plus VAT and fitting. There is a £1,000 surcharge which is repayable when Toyota receive the expired battery pack back for recycling.

There are companys who do refurbish hybrid battery packs, and will just replace failing cells. For example there is a company in Coventry who will carry out refurbishment depending on one's budget.

On another forum I use, a member with a 2004 Prius has recently had the battery pack replaced by a Toyota dealer for the cost mentioned above. Toyota dealers will also try to price match where possible.

Skoda Octavia - Turbo or hybrid... which is the greater gamble? - FP

My trusted indie (a small father-and-son outfit) is up to speed with hybrid batteries and can replace individual cells. As their prices are generally pretty reasonable I would guess it's an attractive way to keep older cars running.

Skoda Octavia - Turbo or hybrid... which is the greater gamble? - gordonbennet

Many thanks for that, so much for the £3000/5000 regular bills scare stories from the antis that did the rounds.

£800 plus VAT plus fitting is not bad going if you can get 10 years from a set, A Diesel clutch/DMF/DPF mixture is going to be more than that and no telling if you'd even get 10 years from any of those.

Interesting to see the aftermarket is getting established too, having said that its not a car i'd want just anyone tinkering with, for that reasonable cost i'd be staying with the main dealer.

Skoda Octavia - Turbo or hybrid... which is the greater gamble? - bazza

Good information thanks, as I have been wondering these things myself. Regarding the Prius battery, there's some good You-tube vids of how to replace it. Provided one has half a brain and some DIY experience, it is very do-able in the driveway, just taking care to observe the high voltage safety disconnections. Just straighforward dismantling and re-assembling really.

Skoda Octavia - Turbo or hybrid... which is the greater gamble? - Larches

Thanks, I too get an impression of anti-Toyota bias which I don't really understand (I think the Corolla was vastly underrated for a start), but leaving that aside... this is all interesting discussion re the batteries, and exactly the stuff I was wondering about.

Although one thing I'm still not clear on is what the actual impact is when the battery starts failing... is it just a case of the hybrid system recognising a battery problem and keeping the ICE fired up - so effectively it becomes a conventional petrol car - or are we talking dead car until the battery is fixed?

And the other thing I have no feel for is resale values... what if I wanted to sell a hybrid at say 9 or 10 years old - is anyone really going to want it, when the battery may be seriously degraded and the warranty due to expire? Presumably a Toyota dealer might be more inclined to take it on, but would no doubt offer a pitiful sum, and I can only imagine other dealers or private buyers just wouldn't want to touch it. Anyone got any experience on that front (e.g. from older Prius, as I think the Auris hybrid has only been around for about 5 yrs)?

I think these are NiMH batteries aren't they (in the Auris anyway)... and in my experience they certainly don't last forever (in small appliances anyway), sometimes they have a fraction of their original capacity after only a few years. OK, so an industrial battery back for a hybrid car is no doubt a different proposition, but it's the same chemistry when all's said and done.

Edited by Larches on 19/12/2015 at 10:30

Skoda Octavia - Turbo or hybrid... which is the greater gamble? - Ethan Edwards

Hasn't the Prius been sold in the uk for fifteen years now? Surely if it suddenly exploded 15 seconds after the warranty expired we'd all know about it by now? As an former T hybrid owner my 2p is buy one use it enjoy it and stop worrying needlessly.

Skoda Octavia - Turbo or hybrid... which is the greater gamble? - madf

And the other thing I have no feel for is resale values... what if I wanted to sell a hybrid at say 9 or 10 years old - is anyone really going to want it, when the battery may be seriously degraded and the warranty due to expire?

Simply answered by looking for used cars on Autotrader..

Skoda Octavia - Turbo or hybrid... which is the greater gamble? - bazza

Apart from the initial purchase price, there isn't really any downside to running a Toyota hybrid, although it would be advisable to stick with main dealer servicing just in case of any problems. That in itself might put some off, of course. THe technology itself is thoroughly proven and optimised, the Toyota hybrids often at the top of various reliability surveys. As others have said, if you want one, just go out, buy one and enjoy it! Resale seems pretty strong, don't forget they are very popular taxis, which again tells you something about long term robustness.

As for VAG v Toyota in general, I would say, from my experiences of both, VAG cars are very nice indeed when new and have nicer trim/interiors but after the first flush of youth, they are no more durable than average , weak points being electrical gremlins and water leaks. MY 7 year old Octavia is just starting to feel its age compared to the 11 year old Corolla in the family, which still drives faultlessly, no rattles, been through last 4 MOTs with nothing needed. That is where, I believe Toyota make much more durable cars for the long run-- just my personal experience. If you're keeping a car for 10 years, I would without hesitation recommend one over anything VAG.

Skoda Octavia - Turbo or hybrid... which is the greater gamble? - nortones2

Seconded. VAG satisfy the boy-racer segment of muttering rotters. Nothing else is of concern to them, so their view is skewed. Typically dismiss with phrases like "unexciting", "average", "not fun", aspects which are pertinent if considering an M3, but less so in mundane transport, which must make up 90% of the vehicle fleet:)

Skoda Octavia - Turbo or hybrid... which is the greater gamble? - Avant

"My 7 year old Octavia is just starting to feel its age compared to the 11 year old Corolla in the family, which still drives faultlessly, no rattles, been through last 4 MOTs with nothing needed."

That says it all - nothing soldiers on quite like an old Toyota. We read about them all the time, and many of us can think of actual examples, like my neighbour's 15-year-old RAV-4 or my goddaughter's 20-year-old Starlet which was only changed for a bigger car this year as she'd had a baby.

Old Volvos and Mercedes uaed to have the same reputation, but I'm not so sure about newer ones with all the electronic trickery to go wrong. Toyotas have it too, especially the hybrids, but it seems to last longer. (Glad to hear that the 12v battery issue seems to have been sorted.)

I'll be interested to see what the forthcoming RAV-4 hybrid will be like: it apparently has a 2.5 litre petrol engine coupled with two electric motors.

Edited by Avant on 19/12/2015 at 17:36

Skoda Octavia - Turbo or hybrid... which is the greater gamble? - ike2

From 2013 - 2015 I drove a 2010 Skoda Octavia 1.4 TSi DSG estate and loved it. It pulled really well and once I got used to the idiosyncracies of the DSG clutch I found it really easy and enjoyable to drive. It had all of the bells and whistles I could want and easily accommodated four adults and a dog in comfort. I really liked this car and would still have it now, except.......

I thought I need a people carrier - but that was a mistake.

I have just bought a 2014 Toyota Auris Sport Tourer hybrid which I really love. It again is so easy to drive and has some great features. The main dealere explained all about getting it serviced by Toyota to extend the battery warranty to 10 years and with an annual hybrid service for £219 i think it's good value. I am amazed at the MPG I'm getting. (Not as much as advertised but I'm perfectly happy with 50 - 60 MPG on most runs). I have swapped MPH for MPG and like trying to beat my previous record!!)

I wouldn't hestitate to keep either car, but on balance feel more confident that the Toyota will still be here for 10 years and fulfilling my motoring needs.

Skoda Octavia - Turbo or hybrid... which is the greater gamble? - puckdrop

As a 2007 Prius owner (bought at 93,000 miles in 2011), I've just passed 200,000 miles without any breakdown problems. Original hybrid battery etc..

In my ownership, it's had new rear springs, a new front bearing, and one set of discs and pads all around, and two sets of tyres.

Other than some DIY oil and filter changes, it hasn't had a "proper" service since I bought it. The sparks were repaced about 70k by the previous owner.

It's flown through the past two MOT's without an advisory. the previous was an advisory on a tyre.

Granted, it's not particularly thrilling to drive, but very comfortable and _can_ be economical if you drive it without a lead foot.

I might treat it to a proper service lol.

Edited by puckdrop on 04/01/2016 at 17:44

Skoda Octavia - Turbo or hybrid... which is the greater gamble? - DirtyDieselDogg

As a 5 year Skoda owner, (and intending to keep for another 5 years, fingers crossed), my vow has been that our next car will be a Toyota or Honda, having experienced VW service standards from Skoda, i.e pure undiluted excrement, especially in respect of the way they deign to treat their customers, who have the termity to raise genuine issues.

On the other hand I simply cannot understand how so many people wilfully murder their turbos.

cheers

marcus

Skoda Octavia - Turbo or hybrid... which is the greater gamble? - Big John

I've recentley sold a 2003 Skoda Superb 1.9pd with 170k miles on it. Original battery, clutch, exhaust. Except for servicing it had an alternator at about 120k and a couple of steering joints , a drive shaft and the radiator sprang a leak last year (so replaced at the same time as the due cambelt/waterpump) . Overall - brilliant

When I came to replace it (June 2015) I also considered Toyota hybrid technology. The big issue for me was the much greater capital costs. I also wasn't 100% convinced with the Toyota seat for the bigjohn frame to sit in!

I had about £10k to spend

>I bought a 14 plate Skoda Superb (1.4tsi)

>I could have bought a 59 plate Prius with much higher mileage

TSi economy proving pretty good as well in real life on my commute:-

www.spritmonitor.de/en/detail/720963.html

Edited by Big John on 05/01/2016 at 00:00

Skoda Octavia - Turbo or hybrid... which is the greater gamble? - Super Jay

Hi Big Jon.

I have £10,000 to spend and I am in the process of either purchasing a:

1. Toyota Prius Plus

2. Toyota Auris Hybrid Estae

3. Skoda Octavia/Superb Petrol Automatic.

I have driven all cars and I particulary like the Skoda Octavia but I am concerned about long term reliability.

I was just owndering how you are getting on with your 14 plate Skoda Superb?

Skoda Octavia - Turbo or hybrid... which is the greater gamble? - SLO76
Just to butt in but I'd immediately remove the Octavia from your list if you must have an automatic. The DSG gearbox is pretty notorious for failures as they get past 4-5yrs of age and due to their complexity they're massively costly to repair or replace.

The Toyota Hybrids are largely no trouble but remember that batteries deteriorate rapidly once they pass around 5yrs of age and they're also hugely expensive to replace. Do you really need a hybrid? Do you really need an automatic? How many miles are you covering in a year and what sort of driving do you mostly do?

After 23yrs of buying and selling cars I always offer three words to folks looking to buy a used car... keep it simple.

Skoda Octavia - Turbo or hybrid... which is the greater gamble? - RobJP

As SLO says.

Any VAG car (VW, Skoda, Audi, Seat) with an automatic should be stayed well clear of.

 

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