Skoda Octavia - Auris vs Octavia - Larches

I'm in a bit of a quandary (no, that's not the name of a new SUV).

My dad has a 2014 Skoda Octavia 1.4 DSG which, sadly, he can no longer drive. Apart from a few scuffs (and mossy window seals), it's in good nick and a nice spec (Elegance), with low mileage, and my parents and I agree that it would feel a shame to get rid of it, so we're kicking around the idea that I could buy it off them. From their perspective, they would be happy to offload it (it's not currently getting much use) and for me to benefit from it, and from my perspective it would be an opportunity to acquire a pretty decent car at a relatively low cost.

Currently, my wife and I have a one-car household, sharing a 2015 Toyota Auris Hybrid Touring Sport (or estate, to you and me), which we've had from "new" (pre-registered). It is in reasonable nick (some cosmetic damage aside), just with a bit of recurrent suspension noise and I think the traction battery isn't lasting quite as long as it used to.

Most of the time we've coped pretty well with just the one car, but yes, there are occasions when we wished we'd had another (though not when it comes to maintenance & servicing!). So I'm mulling over a few options:

1. Take on the Octavia, and keep the Auris too (although we wouldn't have chosen such a large model as a second car - no need for two big-booted cruisers hogging the driveway).

2. Take on the Octavia, and part-ex the Auris for something smaller such as a (newer) Yaris (the hybrid version of which I've had as a courtesy car and quite liked).

3. Take on the Octavia and sell the Auris. Would that be madness? The Octavia is a fraction older but has lower mileage and (mostly) higher spec. But perhaps less of a reliable prospect in the long term compared with the Auris?

4. Take the Octavia, but part-ex it against something like a Fabia or Scala, to have alongside the Auris.

5. Just let the Octavia go and probably keep the Auris until there are more affordable examples around of the new Corolla.

The Octavia has lots of useful bells & whistles which count in its favour *except* for my niggling concern that there's a lot of tech potentially to go wrong. I know Skoda fares relatively well for reliability, but I still get the feeling Toyota is in a league above, and the Auris in particular seems pretty bulletproof, apart from the glaring design weakness that has seen loads of catalytic converter thefts in recent times (mine has the Catloc installed, but it's only really a deterrent). I also have a couple of other niggles with the Auris, in that it can feel a bit slow and heavy up hills, and leaning into corners (a bit of body roll), when I'm driving a bit more briskly (not really what it was designed for, but I can't be sauntering along all the time). To me, the Octavia handles a bit more neatly and is more lively in general, although I do find it can hesitate when moving off from a standstill, which is a bit frustrating. MPG-wise, it's actually not all that far off the Auris, at least where motorway journeys are concerned, perhaps not so good around town though.

So I thought I'd put these thoughts out there and invite opinions from the learned HJ and also his followers.

Oh and just to add this into the mix, I've now had a look at Which? Magazine's car reliability ratings, and they give Skoda only three stars out of five for older (3-8yr) models, versus a big fat five out of five for Toyota, so perhaps taking on an ageing bundle of tech with a 3-star record would not be the most prudent move... any views?

Skoda Octavia - Auris vs Octavia - Avant

I think the factors that stick out here are:

- in principle, taking on a car that you know has been looked after reduces the element of chance when buying a secondhand car;

- but in this case, the dry-clutch DSG fitted to this Skoda has a poor reputation as time and mileage mount up although they don't all give trouble.. Have your parents had any problems with it so far?

- you have to think carefully how much use you'll make of a second car, not just now but in the next few years. Only you know whether that makes the extra expense worth while.

If it were me? I think I'd take on the Skoda and - provided there aren't any obvious looming repairs - take my time and look for a good newer Aygo or similar to replace it.

Skoda Octavia - Auris vs Octavia - Big John

I'm a Skoda fan and have a 2014 Superb, however if you like your Auris touring hybrid then keep it it'll be way more reliable than a DSG Octavia. I have a friend with an Auris Touring hybrid and another with a 2007 Prius which have all been amazingly reliable. Whilst advanced the oily bits are surprisingly simple with the Toyota hybrids. You talk of trading in various cars - don't underestimate how LITTLE you will get these days.

Edited by Big John on 18/10/2020 at 23:58

Skoda Octavia - Auris vs Octavia - badbusdriver

Assuming your parents have owned the Octavia since new and they are sympathetic drivers (not being too demanding on the transmission), there is much less risk than getting a (dry clutch) DSG equipped VAG car otherwise.

But, personally, I’d still leave it. If it was a manual, yes absolutely, but I’d just be too wary of that gearbox as it gets older!.

Skoda Octavia - Auris vs Octavia - Larches

Yes, they got the Octavia new. My dad does (well, did) like a bit of speed on the motorway and isn't the subtlest when it comes to accelerating and braking, but he's no boy racer either, just a bit heavy-footed. So not sure what to think really as regards how healthy the DSG will be.

Interestingly, I got a positive response from Dan Powell regarding the Octavia's reliability overall, based on HJ findings:

... but I appreciate that is the model overall and may obscure DSG problems to some extent. I remember reading HJ columns years ago mentioning many people's woes with the dry clutch DSG, but wondered if matters might have improved by the time this car was built (late 2014).

Also, I tend to be quite cautious and look up a variety of sources when it comes to choosing cars, and what always perplexes (and maddens) me is that they rarely seem to agree! E.g. HJ vs Driver Power vs What Car vs Which Magazine vs Reliability Index. Hence, although things look positive on those HJ links (and Auto Express rate it well too), the Which findings give the Octavia (and Skoda overall) only 3 stars out of 5 for reliability after 3 years.

Anyway, thanks everyone for your thoughts, and I must say that although I'm tempted by what is a really nice car on the face of it, I think I may be just a bit too uneasy to take it on, and I'm actually wondering if the best solution would be for my parents to sell the Octavia and also my mum's Fabia which is quite long in the tooth now, and use the funds from both to buy something a bit newer for my mum to drive (and I'll just stick with the Auris for a while longer).

Skoda Octavia - Auris vs Octavia - Larches

Thanks Big John. Well I like the Auris most of the time, I just don't like the way it rolls around if I'm in a bit of a hurry (and lurches when pulling up), nor its lumbering nature when presented with a hill (or worse - a hill on the motorway, when you can either floor it and let it scream up at a fairly quick pace or just tuck in behind a lorry and enjoy the scenery). But I need to remind myself that no car is perfect, and it could be that the DSG's hesitancy in certain conditions would end up getting on my nerves. Good point re trading in, was forgetting how pitiful the offers can be.

Skoda Octavia - Auris vs Octavia - Larches

@Avant - thank you for those thoughts, and (dare I say....) no signs of DSG problems so far, though it does make me a little nervous when considering this vs the Auris, given the solid reliability record of the Toyota HSD / e-CVT setup. Still tempted, perhaps until I read some of the other comments here. :)

p.s. my replies are showing up out of sequence so apologies for any confusion!

Edited by Larches on 20/10/2020 at 22:56

Skoda Octavia - Auris vs Octavia - MGspannerman

An interesting dilemma and discussion. My reading of this is that you would like rather than need a second car. The Skoda is perhaps an opportunity, but if you were actively seeking a second vehicle would you choose this? I think from what you have said probably not - DSG gearbox, maybe too big for the drive and reliability potentially not so great. Just because it is there, doesn't mean you need to take it on especially as this would be a discretionary rather than obligatory commitment.

If the alternative is to trade/sell it and maybe your mothers car as well then why not set her up with the Yaris hybrid. You know these cars and they are top of the pops in terms of reliability. The manual ones we have owned, several now, have all been excellent and I am sure a hybrid would be just as good and even more economical.

Skoda Octavia - Auris vs Octavia - Larches

I'd say your analysis is spot on.

I must admit I've been tempted as I think there's a lot to like about the Octavia... roomy, lots of kit, refined and pleasant drive most of the time, and I personally like the styling of the 2014 model too. It has a good quality feel about it (I especially like the 'thunk' when closing the doors and boot - much nicer than the Auris in that regard, but hardly crucial!) but I know these impressions tell me nothing about how long the DSG or other components will remain trouble-free.

Anyway, head usually overrules heart in the end, and the approach you mention seems very sensible when you put it like that. :)

Skoda Octavia - Auris vs Octavia - gordonbennet

Is it possible to utilise both vehicles making the best use of their strengths and mitigating their weakness.

Toyota Hybrids are cheap to run, and don't appear to suffer mechanically, or fuel economy, on local stop start running.

Octavia gearbox (its weak point) might benefit from being used for longer journeys where it can stay in top gear most of the time.

If this could work out, it helps keep the mileage down on the Toyota whilst bringing it up on the Skoda, mpg probably won't be much different on a long run.

Edited by gordonbennet on 27/10/2020 at 07:42

Skoda Octavia - Auris vs Octavia - Larches

Fair point, and yes the mpg is actually pretty similar so far on a 20 mile (mostly motorway) journey.

Skoda Octavia - Auris vs Octavia - Big John

Oh and just to add this into the mix, I've now had a look at Which? Magazine's car reliability ratings, and they give Skoda only three stars out of five for older (3-8yr) models, versus a big fat five out of five for Toyota, so perhaps taking on an ageing bundle of tech with a 3-star record would not be the most prudent move... any views?

I don't have the DSG but my 2014 1.4tsi Skoda Superb now at 90,000 has been extremely reliable as was the car before which was an earlier 2003 1.9pd Skoda Superb which I owned for 10 years and 160,000 miles.

However for an auto - I'd stick with the Toyota.

Edited by Big John on 27/10/2020 at 23:35


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