I am in the market for a family friendly and versatile car. I am not yet sold on an SUV (although my wife is).
What are your thoughts on the Skoda Octavia? I understand the issues it inherits from VW DSG transmission however I would consider the manual.
Please let me know what you think.
On the Skoda - Volkswagen Group's problems run deeper (a lot deeper) than just a problem with the DSG transmission.
Skoda Octavia Image Gallery
The Volkswagen group, which includes Skoda and Audi, has ingrained quality and reliability issues, and they have demonstrated that they are generally very bad at fixing defects in customer cars. I wouldn't go near a Volkswagen, Skoda or Audi - it is simply too risky. If you are lucky and you get one that is inherently reliable, you will love it. If you get a lemon (too likely) it will be a problematic and frustrating experience indeed.
Do not buy the Skoda until you have at least tried the Mazda6 - a brilliant all-rounder with none of the design defects that dog Volkswagen/Skoda - and the brand has a better customer care philosophy as well. I have a Mazda6 on test as I write this, and a full review is coming up in due course. Suffice to say it feels very 'premium'.
Mazda6 Image Gallery
If you are in the market for an SUV make sure you drive two very good vehicles: the Mazda CX-5 and the Hyundai Santa Fe. Both are brilliant (albeit different sizes). Santa Fe is bigger, and a seven seater. CX-5 is slightly smaller. In both cases the AWD diesel auto driveline is the pick.
Mazda CX-5 Image Gallery
Hyundai Santa Fe Image Gallery
Here are some useful links:
Full Mazda6 range with standardised specifications per variant.
Full Mazda CX-5 range with standardised specifications per variant.
Full Hyundai Santa Fe range with standardised specifications per variant.
Comprehensive Hyundai Santa Fe review and video
Hope this helps - get back to me via the contact form on the right when you know what you want. I'll put you in touch with David or Ben from the brokerage, who can help you secure it at the right price.