What does our Skoda Octavia vRS have in common with a Bugatti Chiron?
… and no jokes about the infotainment please. Oh alright, just one. Or two.
What does a Skoda Octavia vRS have in common with a Bugatti Chiron? Well, they both have four wheels, an engine and they're from brands that fall under the Volkswagen Group umbrella. But there's one more very tenuous thread between our affordable fast estate and Bugatti's quad-turbo nuttermobile – they both have interesting approaches to infotainment.
For a start, our Skoda's infotainment system is pretty great when it works – which until recently, was not very often. But the Octavia vRS has been back to Skoda UK for some software fixes, which we can happily report have fixed all the bugs with the infotainment system, namely a repeated popping noise and music cutting out on most drives. Apparently it involved updating both the infotainment system and the SOS function (a button behind a flap in in the roof that can call an emergency hotline).
The Bugatti Chiron gets around any infotainment woes by, erm, not having any infotainment to really speak of.
€4m doesn't even get you an infotainment system. Advantage: Skoda
Why am I prattling on about the Chiron in a report on our Skoda? Well, the Octavia had to sit in Heathrow's car park yesterday while I jetted off to France to have my first go behind the wheel of the Chiron. I'm planning a mega review and video of the Bugatti in good time, but for now here's a video of one of Bugatti's test drivers erm, warming the tyres up. Don't ask how fast we're going.
Yes, I've cut out the bit of me giggling. I enjoy the bit where the driver sticks two wheels on the gravel with 1,500hp deployed
Otherwise, the newly fixed infotainment has led us to another problem with the Skoda. What can we really criticise about it? It's still one of those rare cars that makes long drives something to relish rather than dread. There's something about its cabin that feels comfortable and homely, despite not being hewn from aluminium, leather and wood. The strip of Alcantara across the dashboard is a small touch, but one that really does lift the ambience – especially when you compare it to previous generations of the Octavia. Skoda's done a similar thing with cloth-lined dashboards in the electric Enyaq iV – and it proves that you don't need leather to make an interior feel lovely.
I got seriously told off by council workers for taking this photo of the Octavia on a tip run. So I'm publishing it on a website with more than 3m monthly viewers. Take that.
We're also wondering how the hell we're going to cope with a car that doesn't have the Octavia estate's mammoth 640-litre boot. It's been a godsend for holidays, trips to the tip and everyday life with a young family. I've been able to fit two buggies, a child carrier and various other crap in there without quite touching the sides. We'll miss it when it goes.
So far, the Octavia's been great for daily driving duties. We'll have a bit more free time over the next month so we plan on taking it for some sportier drives, and we'll see how much hot hatch DNA is really under that blue paintwork.