Skoda Octavia Review - SKODA OCTAVIA Car Review
Added: 23 Jan 2008
What they said when the Skoda Octavia was new… (Jun 30 2004)
A MAY day in 1998 heralded Skoda's very first venture into the family hatchback A sector of the UK motorworld with the Octavia.
Showing all the build quality signs of Skoda's Volkswagen parentage, this new kid on the block proudly bore the name carried by the original Octavia back in the early Sixties.
Swiftly recognised as a fine budget family car, the Octavia became the frist Skoda to achieve the one million mark and, with UK sales exceeding some 60,000 in hatchback and estate car guise since launch, has made a huge contribution to creating a sea change in public awareness of the Skoda image.
From Monday, July 19, the Czech Republic carmaker is set to take the family hatchback onto an even higher plane with a further evolution of the Octavia.
Size does matter to Skoda and the carmaker has stretched more than a few points to prove it, an extra 65mm in length, 38mm in width and 31mm in height translating into a cabin, within which, there is comfortably manoeuvrable room in all parts.
Most noticeable is the rear of the cabin where some clever use of the science of ergonomics has created truly generous legroom while an already cavernous luggage bay has grown in size, a further 32 litres providing 560 litres of useable room with all seats occupied.
New fabrics and colours have been used to good effect reflecting the equipment level of the trio of trim levels, Classic, Ambiente and Elegance, while the cabin is liberally equipped with cubbyholes, cup and bottle holders.
From the outside, the new Skoda Octavia has been the subject of evolution rather than revolution with a new chrome framed grille sharing top billing along with the reshaping of the B pillar and rear lighting set-up, while the side indicators have been integrated into the door mirrors.
Standard kit levels are progressively generous with the Classic base model getting electrically operated front windows, four-speaker stereo radio with single CD player, electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors, front and side airbags, central locking and ABS braking with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) and rear wash wipe.
However, you have to move up a notch to the Ambiente model to qualify for the likes of air con, remote central locking, on-board computer, illuminated glove box and electric windows all round.
There is to be a staggered introduction of engines for the new new Octavia, with the 1.4-litre 75bhp and 1.6-litre 102bhp petrol and 1.9 TDI PD 105bhp being included at launch, to be followed by the 2.0 TDI PD 140bhp in August, a 1.6 FSI (direct injection) petrol come September and a 2.0 FSI 150bhp in February next year.
The driving position is good and easily arrived at for most drivers and the 1.4-litre 75bhp engine is quite adequate for the family motorist, feeling quite at home on the urban trawl and, while not searingly quick at 15.5 seconds for the 0-62mph dash, it does promise, dependent upon individual driving style, around 40mpg over a combined driving route, and an attractive on the road price of £10,750 in Classic trim.
But the diesel engines are really the stars of the show with the 1.9 TDI PD proving to be a pretty good all-rounder. Mated to a smooth slotting five-speed manual gearbox, it uses its 105bhp to good effect, doing the 0-62mph in under 12 seconds, en route to a top speed of 119mph and promising good economy over the combined driving cycle of around 53mpg, for £12,780 in Classic trim.
Top of the pops, for which buyers will have to wait until August is the two-litre TDI PD which, mated to a six-speed manual gearbox, really punches its weight of 140bhp at 4,000rpm, boasting a broad band of torque to help take you from 0-62mph in under ten seconds and yet return more than 47mpg on the combined cycle, all for £15,300 and £16,400 in Ambiente and Elegance trim respectively.
Both diesels are EU IV compliant with low CO2 emission levels making them also tax effective.
Peformance-wise, the new Octavia proved a much more mature operator, the new suspension and more firmed up torsional set-up combining well with the electro-mechanical power steering to provide a confidence inspiring and comfortable ride.
Overall, this is yet another demonstration of Skoda's ability to produce a quality product with that little bit extra from their Czech Republic headquarters, this time in a B-segment car at A-segment prices.
Words: Malcolm Robertshaw
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