But if usefulness were ever to be equated with value, the little piece of plastic which swings down from the top of the Octavia’s luggage compartment would certainly rate a higher unit price.
Formed in the shape of a double hook, it is undoubtedly one of the best convenience gadgets yet devised for any car – and particularly one which is used for the school run and the weekly trip to Tesco.
Great for holding all manner of containers with handles, it is a boon for preventing plastic shopping bags from spilling their contents over the boot floor at the first corner on the journey home.
Having used the hooks before on our previous long term Skoda Superb, finding one on our mid-range Octavia is good news indeed.
But why is there only one? As holes are already drilled to accept another hook on the opposite side of the boot, it’s a pity Skoda specifies twin hooks only on the top-line Elegance model.
That niggle apart, there’s no cause for complaint elsewhere with the Ambiente, which has been packaged to maintain the brand’s high-value reputation with comprehensive equipment and a few neat details thrown in for good measure.
Features like tilt-and-reach steering adjustment, coat hooks on the centre door pillar as well as on grab handles, pockets behind the front seats, a lidded console box and holders for litre-size bottles in the front door bins add up to a comfortable environment for the business driver.
After 3,000 miles with the team, the Octavia’s 1.9-litre turbodiesel engine has also proved to be a good working partner over a mixture of long distance motoring and stop-start urban traffic. With 105bhp on tap, this is a lively unit and it has to be driven very hard for economy to fall below 50mpg – which is an impressive performance, considering the generous proportions of the bodywork it is hauling.
Model: Skoda Octavia 1.9 TDI Ambiente
Price (OTR): £13,800
CO2 emissions (g/km): 143
Company car tax bill (2005/6) 22% tax-payer: £45 per month
Insurance group: 7E
Combined mpg: 53.3
Test mpg: 55
CAP Monitor residual value: £4,575/34%
HSBC contract hire rate: £287
Expenditure to date: Nil