The forgotten vehicles deserving of new car shopping lists
Family life can be challenging at the best of times.
From the early days of prams and nappy bags to adolescence which involves a constant taxi service of social and sporting commitments.
That probably best explains the proliferation of SUVs around the nation, and the world for that matter. The perceived space on offer best suits fast-paced lifestyles.
Buyer haste toward the SUV trend has left the station wagon in the shadows. But offerings like the Skoda Octavia RS245 deserve greater consideration.
With the rear seats in place, there is 588litres of space. Drop the pew via the handles in the boot or on the seat-tops and it expands to 1718 litres - that's good enough to handle a bike without removing a wheel.
Compare that to some of the biggest selling SUVs: the Mazda CX-5 offers 442 litres, Toyota's new RAV4 has 580, the Nissan X-Trail is 565 and the smaller Hyundai Kona is 361.
Those who regularly load equipment would appreciate the functionality of the Octavia.
Armed with a power tailgate (a $500 option), it eases the burden. One quick kick under the tailgate when your arms are loaded and it opens, or press the key fob.
Vehicles which have the boot-mounted handles are brilliant.
So often you're flat-out getting all the gear to your car that you forget to drop the seats... or find out when you're mid-load that the equipment won't fit. One pull on the handle and it's a rapid expansion of space.
While SUVs are often easier to climb into, the lower-slung wagons are simpler to load as you don't need to lift items as high.
Skoda's Octavia load-lugger has been the garage for more than a month and it's proved a useful hauler.
Bikes are a regular bugbear to carry, and some SUVs remain downright painful because of steeply sweeping rooflines. Not this machine with its square-edged internal proportions.
Yet probably the greatest advantage is the performance, more akin to a car than a tallboy.
Just because you can put junk in the trunk doesn't mean it's a slow-coach.
The RS245 is powered by an angry turbocharged four-cylinder, which is a joy to push to its limits.
You can carry the family, or a load, and get it home in record time.
AT A GLANCE
MODEL Skoda Octavia RS245
PRICE $44,490 drive-away
WARRANTY/SERVICING 5-year unlimited km w'ty (good), $860 for 3 years
ENGINE 180kW/370Nm 4-cyl, 7-speed auto
SAFETY 9 airbags, autonomous emergency braking, active cruise control, fatigue alert, active lane assist
THIRST 6.5 litres/100km RON98