Skoda's Updated Octavia Put To The Test
Andy Harris, Motoring and Property Editor
No one makes Skoda jokes anymore and for good reason. The Czech company's range of cars offers practicality, value for money and top-class Volkswagen Group reliability.
The Octavia has recently had a makeover and being unable to attend the UK media launch, Skoda kindly sent me a well-specified SE L model to put through its paces.
The distinctive new front end is readily apparent, the new quad light layout adding a touch of style. You may see better too as full LED technology is now available.
Under the bonnet of the test car sat the VW Group's latest 1.5-litre TSI petrol engine which I was also keen to try.
With the car buying public increasing turning away from diesel power, the small turbocharged petrol engine is rapidly gaining in popularity.
Skoda quote 56.5mpg for the combined cycle and I am pleased to report returning a very creditable 47mpg overall for my week behind the wheel.
This included a long dash to Cardiff and back mainly on motorways and at times the trip computer was reading 50+ mpg.
Helping to achieve these impressive figures is a cylinder shut-off system, whereby in gentle driving the engine shuts down two cylinders for improved economy. It works seamlessly and effectively.
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However, don't think that this engine is all about parsimony as there is plenty of power available. The timed sprint to 60mph can be accomplished in under eight seconds and out on the open road there is plenty of get up and go for swift and safe overtaking manoeuvres.
Aiding brisk progress is the slick six-speed manual gearbox and light and progressive clutch. A DSG gearbox can be specified if required.
The ride is generally comfortable and the handling safe and predictable, whatever the weather. The Dynamic Chassis Control feature allows the driver to switch between four driving modes, giving added comfort, power or grip. Those seeking ultimate fun behind the wheel will no doubt be drawn to the sporting vRS models.
The Octavia's tardis-like interior impresses with ample space for four or five large adults to spread out. The 590-litre boot is large enough to lose small children in and can be extended by remotely folding the rear seats.
The updated Octavia also introduces a host of new technologies. The updated infotainment system now boasts Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity and the optional Columbus system fitted to the test car boasts an excellent 9.2-inch glass display and integrated Wi-Fi (add £1,050).
All Octavia models are well equipped with even lowly 'S' models boasting alloy wheels, air conditioning and Bluetooth connectivity.
By the time you reach the dizzy heights of 'SE L' models, climate control, leather and Alcantara upholstery and satellite navigation are there to delight.
Safety and assistance systems have also had a boost. Expect to find an upgraded Front Assist system with predictive pedestrian protection and the Park Assist now includes Blind Spot Detection and Rear Traffic Alert.
Skoda dealers are usually smaller family run affairs, offering a personal
touch so often missing in larger dealerships. Special offers are generally par for the course, so a good deal is always on the cards.
I would suggest mid range SE trim will probably suit most and unless you cover a vast mileage then the new 1.5 TSI petrol engine should be the default choice.
Let's also not forget the cavernous boot and roomy cabin, generous equipment levels and composed handling, making this Octavia probably all the car you'll ever need.
Price - £21,865 (as tested £24,665)
Engine - 150PS 1.5-litre TSI petrol
Combined fuel consumption - 56.5mpg
CO2 emissions - 114g/km
0-60mph in 7.9 seconds
Top speed - 136mph
Skoda's Updated Octavia Put To The Test, 8th October 2017, 18:15 PM