A FRIEND who spends many hours in his Audi A6 every week - and loves it - hired a Skoda Octavia when he flew into this country from his home in Ireland.
He was amazed when he found how big it was inside and when I told him it was based on the VW Golf, he didn't believe me.
"It's far too big," he said. "It can't be!"
It still seems odd that a car based on the Golf platform can be so much more spacious than the original.
I have recommended them to a number of friends to buy secondhand and none has been disappointed - apart from one who bought a two year old DSG automatic.
He had all kinds of problems and Skoda were rather unsympathetic.
So having checked online for problems across the VW group with these gearboxes, I can't recommend them I'm afraid. Obviously, the vast majority you never hear about are probably perfectly OK and never cause a problem, but you never know.
Apart from this the Octavia is a great car - every bit as good as the Golf and with just as good a reliability record.
I'm writing about the model built between 2013 and the present, which comes with high quality build, a huge boot and the biggest rear legroom in the class.
And of course, it's also available as an estate, the Scout 4x4 estate with raised ride height and in very sporting VRS form with higher power petrol and diesel engines.
The standard models come with a choice of three petrol and two diesel engines, in the same vein as the Golf and SEAT Leon.
These start with a 1.0-litre three cylinder turbo petrol producing 115bhp and capable of 0 to 60 miles an hour in just 10 seconds. This was fitted to the car after 2016, replacing a 1.2 with lightly less power.
Also after 2016, a 1.5 turbo with 150bhp replaced the earlier 1.4 with 140. These can do the 60mph sprint in about 8.5 seconds, but the 1.5 is a good deal more economical.
There is also a 2.0-litre turbo with 197bhp available in upper spec models, but although it's quicker than the 1.5, it's only available with the automatic gearbox.
All other models come with a very good six-speed manual as standard.
Diesel is represented by very much updated versions of the 1.6 and 2.0-litre units that have been around for years.
The 1.6 produces 110 or later 115bhp, giving 60mph acceleration in a tad over 10 seconds, while the 150bhp 2.0-litre brings this down to 8.5.
The petrol 1.0-litre is capable of 50mpg and the 1.5 manages an excellent 48. But of course, good though these figures are, the diesels are better.
The 1.6 can do a 56.5mpg average and the 2.0-litre is only threebehind at 53.
All ride comfortably - even the barnstorming VRS at the top of the range - and handling and road holding are brilliant in both early and later guises, with the same feel as the Golf.
There ismore interior space and a bigger boot than any other car in the class and although they might seem plain inside, everything you need is there and it all works beautifully.
Equipment depends on how far up the model scale you go but all have plenty of airbags, traction control, central locking, electric windows and mirrors, air conditioning, loads of seat and column adjustment and alloy wheels.
Just make sure the one you're looking at has everything you want included before you lay your money down.
Pay about Â£7,900 for a '15 15-reg 1.2TSi SE, or Â£10,100 for a '17 17-reg 1.6TDI CR SE Business.