Skoda Octavia: 2017 Skoda Octavia review

 

 

Skoda entered the Indian market 16 years back with the first

generation Skoda Octavia which actually sold in quite a lot of numbers and

it was later replaced by the second generation of the sedan, which was

brought down to India with the Laura nameplate, and then the automaker

re-launched the Octavia in 2013. What we have here is a mid-life

facelift of the third generation Octavia which doesn’t get many

changes but keeps the product fresh.

 

DESIGN AND STYLING 

The 2017 Skoda Octavia gets a new front end. What is striking is the

new set of split headlamps which look exquisite. These headlamps are

full LED ones and also have LED daytime running lights embedded in

them at the bottom. The outer lamps are the low beam and the inner

ones are high beams. They are adaptive headlamps and they sense the

intensity of light and accordingly adjust their  illumination spread.

The butterfly grille now gets a glossy finish and also a chrome

surround the front bumper is new and gets a chrome strip in the middle

the hood also gets new cuts which make it look more muscular.

 

From the side the 2017 Skoda Octavia is the same and there is not much

change, however, it gets a new design alloy wheels which look

classier.

 

The rear is also similar to the outgoing model but now gets LED tail

lamps which are C shaped and look real fantastic. Overall, the Skoda

Octavia now with a heavy chiseled looks  is more aggressive,

attractive and premium than before.

 

CABIN 

The new Octavia’s cabin is clinical, clean and very German. The amount

of space available also hits you immediately when you step in. A

cream-beige and grey interior colour theme is pleasing to the eye and

also gives it an airy feel, though there is no dearth of light

streaming in.

 

Fit and finish quality and the material quality is perfectly matched

to the best in the segment and there is a general feeling of solidity

to the cabin, except the faux wood trim in the centre console, which

felt that too faux. The controls and knobs are all within easy reach

for the driver and there was enough electrical and manual

adjustability to the seats and steering for me to get the most

comfortable driving position.

 

Touch-screen infotainment system, nicely bolstered leather seats,

panoramic sunroof, chunky steering wheel and the auto-dimming rear

view mirrors were features that I liked and helped me during my test

drive in New Delhi. The thick centre tunnel going all the way to the

rear seat means that the passenger in the middle at the rear has to

sit astride and the Bluetooth pairing with my handset just didn’t work

with the infotainment system in the new Octavia.

 

ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE 

The Skoda Octavia features a range of familiar VW Group engine and

transmission options. Four powerplants are offered: a 113bhp 1.0-litre

petrol, a 148bhp 1.4-litre petrol, a 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel and a

range-topping 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel.

 

All deliver adequate performance and are capable of 0-62mph in less

than 10sec, although the larger-displacement units are more flexible

and better suited to motorway cruising and cross-country driving.

 

TSI petrol and 2.0-litre diesel models get a six-speed manual gearbox,

the 1.6-litre diesel a five-speed unit.

 

Dual-clutch automatic gearboxes are available as well; whether you

prefer the automatic or the alternative (and cheaper) manual option

will primarily be a matter of personal preference. The DSG gearbox

works very well in the Octavia, and goes about its job quietly and

unobtrusively.

 

What’s most notable about the Octavia’s engine range, however, is the

somewhat disappointing 1.6-litre diesel engine. Most buyers might

consider it the sweet spot in the line-up, thanks to its high economy,

low emissions and moderate punch.

 

While the 1.6-litre diesel is mechanically refined and perfectly

functional, it’s slow – more than a second slower from rest to 62mph

than Skoda’s claim for it and even further separated from the current

class standard. The first problem is a decidedly ordinary engine. In

the Skoda Octavia, the 1.6-litre turbodiesel seems quiet and flexible,

but it responds sluggishly at low speeds. And then once it’s pulling,

you can’t help but feel a little nonplussed by the maximum power and

torque it serves up.

 

If you’re set on a diesel option, it’s probably best to go for the

2.0-litre diesel. While it may be a little harsh at higher speeds,

it’ll return good economy and may prove even more frugal than the

harder-worked 1.6-litre unit. Don’t entirely discount the petrol

options though: they’re quiet, smooth and willing and, if you’re not

covering starship mileages each year,

 

DRIVING DYNAMICS 

Like before, the Octavia in the 1.8 TSi guise comes with a more

sophisticated, independent rear suspension as compared to the

non-independent setup on the other variants. In our brief drive we

weren’t able to figure out if the wider rear track has improved

handling but like before the Octavia felt planted and well balanced.

The electric steering felt direct and even when pushed hard, body roll

was well in check and it felt willing in quick directional changes

too. In terms of ride, the suspension does a good job of isolating the

cabin from the road surfaces. But you do have to take sharp edged

bumps with caution, as the suspension tends to thud through them

 

SAFETY FEATURES 

The feature list has been revised, and there are some interesting ones

on the safety and convenience front. The highlight though has to be

semi auto park assist. The system will identify a parking slot big

enough to accommodate the car – parallel or perpendicular and steer

the car into it at the press of a button. You merely need to use the

brake and throttle to park the car sitting in the driver’s seat, and

watch the car steer itself into the parking space. You can even get

the car out of a parking spot similarly in case you aren’t sure of

being able to steer the car out of a tight spot

 

The infotainment system continues to offer Apple CarPlay, Android Auto

and MirrorLink connectivity. The navigation system is pretty neat too

– maps are legible easily even on the go, unlike some of the

navigations systems on other cars. I’ve preferred using navigation on

my phone always, but the Octavia’s system is a breeze to use,

especially with the prompts through the multi-function display between

the clocks and prompted me to put my phone away and focus more on

driving the car.

 

For the chauffeur-driven lot, Skoda now has a smartphone app called

Skoda Media Command. It offers full control of the audio system and

also lets you punch in a new destination on the car’s navigation

system through your phone itself. Rear seat occupants also get two USB

slots with quick charging to recharge mobile devices, which is a

thoughtful addition.

 

There’s new additions on the safety front, too, as the Octavia now

gets a fatigue alert system that works on various complex algorithms

that calculate the driver’s alertness via his steering work and tell

him if he needs to take a break. Like before, the Octavia also gets

Skoda’s multi-collision braking along with 8 airbags. For the

uninitiated, multi-collision braking basically ensures the car

decelerates quickly from whatever speed it is travelling at after a

primary impact, to avoid a second impact with another vehicle on the

road or otherwise.

 

BOTTOMLINE 

Has Skoda done enough to keep the Octavia relevant in our ‘dynamic’

market of today? We certainly like to believe so as it was quite a

good product in its segment and now with these updates, both in terms

of design and features, the Octavia certainly seems to have inched

ahead in the game once again. However, what will work in favour of the

sedan is good pricing which, if GST does its work, will allow Skoda to

price the Octavia in the range of Rs 15 lakh to Rs 22 lakh, thus

making it excellent value for money.

Skoda Octavia Ex Showroom Price in New Delhi ranges from 15,49,405/- (Octavia 1.4 Ambition TSI MT) to  22,89,573/- (Octavia 2.0 Style Plus TDI CR AT) .Skoda Octavia has 8 Variants of Petrol are available in India. Skoda Octavia comes in 4 colours, namely Quartz Grey Metallic,Brilliant Silver Metallic,Magic Black Metallic,Candy White UNI.

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