SKODA was the struggling kid at the back of the class, for those with memories long enough, says an ever-youthful Simon Hacker.
Now it's the know-all, perched up front, cleverly answering all teacher's questions. It's all down to VW's coaching, of course, but no other brand under their umbrella has transformed so much.
Clearly the strategy works and new Octavia builds on the quality. But it begs a cannibalistic question: why buy an Audi?
Skoda’s own Chinese take-away turned up at Bowood House in the personable Michelle Henniker, who is two-thirds of her way through secondment to the manufacturer’s Chinese office, writes Robin Roberts.
When not sight-seeing in China, Michelle is giving the value of her UK experience to a handful of PR colleagues who have a massive job on their hands in a market which accounts for an incredible half of Skoda global sales.
Their wide range of sedans or saloons is leading the charge up the Chinese new car market, now being pushed even harder thanks to Michelle.
Skoda continues to impress with its latest Octavia, opined Iain Dooley.
To paraphrase Land Rover’s Jerry McGovern, the mid-size contender boasts enhanced levels of “premiumness” destined to worry the likes of Volvo, Mazda and even the German Big Three.
Familiar Volkswagen Group tech – self parking, active safety kit, powertrain – blend well with Skoda’s trademark understated design and focus on ease of use.
Space isn’t in short supply, with rear legroom and loadspace easily eclipsing many rivals and it’s a good steer to boot.
The A and B roads around Wiltshire's famous White Horse offer a true test of any car so it's a testament to the faith Skoda has in its new Octavia that we criss-crossed the Calne-Marlborough-Avebury triangle on the 150-mile test route, said Tony Lewis.
The VW Group's MQB platform has been much-praised and in the Octavia it has another champion; we came away impressed.
It was also good to talk to Vicky Magill, Skoda UK’s product manager for both Octavia and Rapid to learn how the two models fit together.
Last November's Rapid launch left me slightly confused and underwhelmed. Not any more. The Rapid is the price-sensitive model, the Octavia the 'emotional, mainstream one.
Ever thought you really should own an unostentatious, reputable and frugal Skoda Octavia, but don't fancy driving one, asks Zog Ziegler.