Skoda Octavia 2.0TDI CR vRS Estate 5d - Musical fidelity

  • Upgraded Canton hi-fi and Columbus sat-nav impresses
  • Ten speakers, 12GB hard drive and eight-inch touchscreen
  • Pricy additions (£1,750) but like music to our ears

I cannot, for the life of me, play a musical instrument. Class consisted of a triangle so awkwardly beaten during primary school sessions I may as well have been back at nursery with one hand tied behind my back.

At senior school the teacher struck abject fear – and in my case failure – into each and every one of us, and no matter how hard I banged the drums, plucked the bass guitar or flowed my fingers along the recorder each lesson was a waste of time and musical melody.

Nowadays, save for my colleagues borrowing my long-term test car (and a fiancé rolling her eyes at my music ‘taste’), no one is there to judge my musical ability, or choice.

Just what is wrong with Rednex Cotton Eye Joe anyway?

Skoda Octavia Canton sound system

So despite not being able to strike anything close to the correct note myself, I do love listening to my tunes while on the move – which is why when speccing the yellow peril I added the upgraded Canton sound system to its kit-list.

Granted that’s not a name known alongside Bang & Olufsen, Mark Levinson, Bowers and Wilkins, Bose or even Sony when it comes to in-car entertainment (even I had to Google it – turns out it’s the best selling brand of loudspeaker in Germany) but it can punch far harder than its UK reputation would suggest.

Now the Octavia isn’t a small car, but even I was surprised the Czech firm had squeezed ten speakers into the cabin space. One in the centre of the dashtop, two in each of the front doors and the same in the rear, plus a subwoofer neatly integrated into the side of the boot.

Skoda Octavia vRS audio

At first the system took some tweaking to get the best from it – not just turning every equaliser setting up to maximum, but fine tuning of each hertz wavelength – and focussing the sound to come from the front of the car. Sitting in the front and forcing most music from rear speakers is madness; after all when was the last time you went to a live gig and found the stage behind you for the set?

Anyway, once there I was able to settle back in the vRS’ properly comfortable seats and listen to some of the best – in my opinion – music ever released.

Octavia 12GB jukebox

To add to the excellent sound quality I also opted for the upgraded Columbus sat-nav with its eight-inch proximity sensing touchscreen. Along with the Bluetooth audio streaming option, and DAB radio, I could also use the integrated 12GB hard drive. Combined the addition of such musical and mapping complexity and genius is £1,750. Gulp.

Now I’m no luddite, in fact while I’m writing this I’m listening to an MP3 file streamed to my mobile phone via Spotify (the fact I had to write that suggests I’m old right?) but I genuinely think you’ll have to go a long way to reach the audio and sonic quality of a proper CD. Whatever happened to the Laserdisc?

Octavia album art

Anyway, the genius thing about our Skoda’s system is you can insert a CD into the slot hidden away by the glovebox and record it to the main harddrive. It only takes a few minutes, and you can listen to the tracks as it records, but then it’s imprinted on the car’s storage for ever more, ready for you to listen to it whenever you wish.

The result of course is a music library of around 10,000 minutes of music – I didn’t manage to upload quite that much of my collection – without having to carry anything with you. I’m old enough to remember the days of CDs (actually I can remember in-car minidisc but enough of that) strapped strategically to your sunvisor ready to sling into your player – hopefully without scratching them.

Octavia sunvisor CDs

That's what you call progress. And with the volume turned up loud, so no one can hear me wailing along to my favourite tunes, I reckon that march forward is music to my ears. 


Mileage: 6,341 miles                        Economy: 44.4mpg (calculated)