Skoda Octavia Sport 2.0 FSI - SKODA OCTAVIA Car Review

Review

Added: 23 Feb 2006
Last update:

I REMEMBER the first Skoda I ever saw. Still at junior school and still in short pants, one thing about it impressed me above all else as I carefully inspected the cabin - it was the only car I'd been in that was fitted with reclining seats.

That was back in 1959 and the car was the first Octavia, the name which has come to symbolise the value-for-money breed that's now mainly VW owned.

Not only does today's Octavia, needless to say, have reclining seats it's got just about every gizmo you could ask for from alloy wheels to anti-lock braking. It has remained totally faithful to its original principle of providing a lot of car for the money.

Partly due to its marketing position as a cheaper family car and also because of the need for low running costs, a high proportion of Octavias are diesel powered.

The VW family 1.9 or two-litre TDi is after all one of the best in the business, but I borrowed a recently introduced 2.0 FSI petrol model which in Sport mode presents a tempting package combining strong performance, sporty handling alongside the obvious attributes of acres of cabin space and good economy, all for £15,800.

The FSI engine - which roughly translates as direct fuel injection - is miles better than the last generation VW-Audi mid-range units offering instant response and the same sort of free-revving ability that drew buyers to BMW and Honda.

With 150bhp on tap, the Octavia is transformed from a workhorse to a bit of a stallion - 62mph comes up in 9.3 seconds and top speed is over 130mph. Despite the strong performance, it remains a civilised mile-eater that is as quiet at 90mph as it is at sixty.

Skoda has sensibly made sure its character remains more 'family saloon with attitude' rather than 'hot hatch'. There's always the vRS version for the boy-racer brigade. Economy is a strong point - my average was 34mpg, only a little behind the official combined figure.

A few subtle exterior treats mark out the warmed up Octavia. A subtle rear spoiler, 7J alloy wheels, twin chrome exhausts and colour coded bumpers are the most noticeable. Inside, the wrap-round, height adjustable front seats are supremely comfortable and the leather-covered steering wheel and gear lever knob add a nice sporty touch.

The facia is smart and solid in a rather uninspired fashion. There are loads of pockets and cubbies - even a small tray for change or whatever at the edge of the front seats.

There's plenty of room for four or even five in the Octavia, but even more impressive is the hatchback boot which is about the size of outer space - it actually soaks up 560 litres of luggage, and 1,335 litres when the rear seats are folded.

The latest generation Octavia might not look hugely different from the previous model which, in a way, is doing itself a disservice because it has been improved in every area and the 2.0 FSI Sport's huge array of talents allow it to compete with cars costing five to eight thousand pounds more.

FAST FACTS

Skoda Octavia Sport 2.0 FSI 5dr

Price: £15,800

Mechanical: 150bhp, 1,984cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6spd manual gearbox

Max speed: 132mph

0-62mph: 9.3 secs

Combined mpg: 37.2

Insurance group: 11E

CO2 emissions: 182g/km

BiK rating: 23%

Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles; 3yrs paint; 12yrs anti-rust

Words: Jonathan Smith

Keywords: SKODA, OCTAVIA