The arrival of the Rapid to the Skoda range paved the way for a bigger and classier Octavia, we find out if the new model delivers on that promise
What is it? Bigger than the VW Golf but smaller than the Passat the new Octavia is longer and wider than before. Crucially its also lighter thanks the use of high strength steel which should make if far more nimble on the road and easier on fuel.
Who is it aimed at? There is no denying the importance of the Octavia in Skoda’s line up. Over the years it has accounted for almost 40% of their overall sales and has been bought by everyone from families outgrowing their hatchbacks to taxi drivers looking for reliability and space.
Styling? The changes from the last model are not immediately apparent but overall the look is sleeker and more elegant. The Octavia is not going to win any beauty contests but it is certainly a smart modern looking car.
Under the Bonnet: Our test car was powered by a punchy 2.0 diesel that dashes from 0 – 62mph in a respectable 8.3 seconds. Other engine options include a 1.6 diesel and a 1.2 and a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol models. There are also four different gearboxes to choose that range from a 5 speed manual to a seven speed automatic.
What about Inside? Climb inside and it’s very much a VW, the interior is reassuringly contemporary, clean and simply styled. Everything from the controls to the buttons and knobs are all easy to use. But it is space that really sets the Octavia apart from rivals and as expected driver and passenger space is vast. The boot measures a whopping 590 litres which is larger than the Ford Mondeo, VW’s Passat and the Toyota Avensis.
On the Road? Behind the wheel you quickly appreciate the lightness of the car and the strong pulling power of the 2.0 litre diesel engine. There is more than enough oomph for overtaking or merging onto the motorway and it is beautifully solid, responsive and stable on the road. On the downside it gets a little noisy at speeds and the ride is a little too firm for some tastes.
And Safety? The Octavia is well equipped with electronic stability control, ABS, 9 airbags traction control and a host of cutting-edge safety systems such as Adaptive Cruise Assistant, Lane Assistant, and Intelligent Light Assistant.
Options? The new Octavia comes in three specification levels S, SE and Elegance, and there is a high level of standard safety and comfort equipment. Prices for the petrol Octavia start at £15,990 and £18,040 for the diesel range. Introduced this month is the vRS, the fastest Octavia ever comes with a starting price of £22,990 .
What about fuel economy? Our diesel test car is one of the most economical saloons around. The results of the weight saving measures are impressive; with CO2 emissions of just 106g/km its sits in VED Band B. Around the city it consumes a frugal 56.5mpg and on a mix of urban and motorway driving an excellent 68.9mpg.
Okay so the Verdict? The new Skoda Octavia makes a super family car. It’s elegant on the outside and cavernous on the inside. On top of all that it is good to drive. With more than 17 different versions to choose from, there’s bound to be one for you!
Why you’ll buy one? Space; price; economy
Why you won’t? Conservative styling; noisy;
Volkswagen Golf £16,495 – 27,915
Honda Civic £16,995 – £27,090
Skoda Octavia 2.0 TDI CR 150PS
Engine: 1968cc diesel,150php @3,500-4000, 320 @Nm 1750-2750 rpm
Max speed: 135mph
0-62mph: 8.5 seconds
Emissions: 106g/km (VED Band B)
Model price range: £15,990 – £26,650 (Test Car £20,140)
No of Doors: 5
Euro NCAP: 5 stars
Fuel type: Diesel
Fuel Economy (combined cycle): 68.9mpg
Boot Capacity Seats up(down) : 590 Litres (1580)
Car Seats: 2 Isofix fittings in the rear
21st August, 2013