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Skoda Octavia: comfortable, reliable – Gist Vile

By Tajudeen Adebanjo with agency addition

 

The Skoda Octavia provides excellent family transport, with a comfortable ride, huge boot space and clever practical touches.

In addition to the Octavia’s cavernous interior space, Skoda offers its ‘Simply clever’ practical features which help ease the regular day-to-day issues motorists have to face. Little details such as an ice scraper located in the fuel filler cap, a ticket holder on the driver’s side A-pillar, an umbrella stored in the driver’s door and a handy AdBlue nozzle for diesel-powered cars, all make life just that bit easier.

There is plenty of storage in the cabin, with the individual door bins capable of holding a 1.5-litre drinks bottle and the front central ‘jumbo box’ also available for keeping assorted items.

There is a total of five USB-C ports in the Octavia – two positioned in the centre console, two in the rear and a final charging port located in the rear-view mirror, for those who want to top-up their dash camera battery.

The fourth-generation Octavia leaves a larger footprint than the previous model, with the hatchback being 19mm longer and the estate growing 22mm in length. Both cars are 15mm wider, too.

Overall dimensions for the Octavia hatch are 4,689mm (length), 1,829mm (width, excluding mirrors) and 1,470mm (height). In comparison, the Volkswagen Golf is noticeably smaller at 4,396mm long and 1,789mm wide (excluding mirrors), although it stands a touch taller at 1,491mm.

Interior space is superb and the driver and front passenger won’t be left wanting for any extra room, while rear-seat passengers are equally well-catered for with impressive levels of knee, leg and headroom on offer.

The Octavia’s boot is a thing of wonder, competing with cars from the class above and offering huge practicality. Overall capacity has risen by 10 litres to 600 litres, which is a considerable 220 litres more than one will find in the Golf. If the rear seats are folded, there’s a 1,555-litre load bay with a useful flat floor, which helps when loading awkward items.

The Octavia’s practical appeal continues with its decent towing capability. The entry-level 1.0 TSI is rated at 1,300kg in terms of braked trailer towing capacity, while the more powerful versions have a maximum towing weight of 1,500kg to 1,600kg.

Skoda Octavia interior

Being able to use tried and tested engines from the VW Group stable has helped the Octavia maintain its position as a dependable performer, with a focus on comfort rather than being the most dynamic car to drive.

The steering is light, but not so much that you aren’t able to feel a level of precision to your inputs. Skoda has focused a touch more in this area, as the Octavia now features Dynamic Chassis Control, which allows the driver to adjust the damping and steering settings via the individual on-board drive modes.

Skoda has also paid attention to levels of refinement for the Octavia, with improvements in sound-deadening meaning less noise and vibration is felt through the cabin compared to the previous model.

Petrol power comes from 1.0-litre, 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre TSI units producing 109bhp, 148bhp and 242bhp respectively. When paired with a DSG transmission, the 1.0-litre and 1.5-litre engines feature mild-hybrid technology to improve efficiency and deliver a small increase in performance.

There’s also a two TDI diesel engine with either 114bhp, 148bhp or 197bhp, although the extra available torque means all offer decent performance.

The vRS model comes with a choice of petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid powertrains. It’s the only model to get the 242bhp two-litre TSI engine, but the vRS can also be equipped with a two-litre TDI producing 197bhp or a 1.4-litre plug-in hybrid developing a combined 242bhp.

The plug-in hybrid variant uses a 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and an electric motor to deliver 201bhp in SE L guise or 242bhp in the vRS.

The 1.0-litre TSI engine produces 109bhp and 200Nm of torque, resulting in a sprint from 0-62mph in 10.8 seconds and a maximum speed of 129mph. The 1.5 TSI brings 148bhp and an extra 50Nm of torque. The 0-62mph time tumbles to 8.2 seconds, while top speed is 142mph.

Those seeking a diesel option can go for the 2.0-litre TDI unit, which is available as a 114bhp/300Nm version, or a more powerful 148bhp/360Nm variant. Respective 0-62mph times of 10.3 and 8.7 seconds means there’s more than enough pace for most tastes.

Skoda has introduced a smarter, more stylish look for the fourth-generation Octavia. The revised grille and new standard LED headlights are complemented by sharper creases running along the side panels, while the previous square-style taillights have been redesigned to include slimmer LED units. The Czech manufacturer has also succumbed to the current badging trend of placing its name in wide script across the boot, although it certainly adds to an overall classier feel.

Inside, the materials are of a quality to compete with the Volkswagen Golf and there is a good level of standard kit. The entry-level SE First Edition includes 16-inch alloy wheels, a leather-trimmed multi-function steering wheel, cruise control, climate control and rear parking sensors, along with upgraded infotainment tech.

The SE Technology trim adds sat-nav and front parking sensors, while the SE L and SE L First Edition cars feature upgraded Microsuede upholstery, heated seats, rear privacy glass, power-folding mirrors, adaptive cruise control and electric adjustment controls for the driver’s seat.

Sporty vRS models get 19-inch alloy wheels, full LED Matrix headlights, LED rear lights, black vRS sports upholstery with red stitching, Canton premium sound system, Dynamic Chassis Control, head-up display, panoramic sunroof and a motion sensor for opening the boot.

The infotainment is one area where the Octavia has really moved on. SE L First Edition trim features a 10-inch touchscreen with some significant changes. There’s no volume knob, with a slider function located beneath the screen allowing you to adjust the level. This works okay, and at least you can tap the slider to a point for your desired volume.

There are also no physical climate dials, with the left and right temperature controls integrated into the bottom of the touchscreen. There is an advanced climate-controlled function to warm your feet or cool your face, but you can still set everything up manually, too.

The menus are well laid out, the screen response is good, and the graphics are sharp. You also get lots of kit, with sat-nav, Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay, but no wireless charging option. The standard digital dash is a plus point and, overall, the digital approach is a positive step, but could be better with a few analogue touches.


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