One of the most talked about marketing case studies in the Indian automotive scene of the last decade was that of the Skoda Octavia. How did this premium sedan manage to rake up the kind of sales it did without any advertising or with only minimal promotion for a brand which was completely new to India.
Unfortunately, the power of ‘Word of Mouth’ not only led to the Octavia climbing up the sales chart, in what was then considered the luxury sedan segment, but was also evident in the way the Skoda brand slid down from its pedestal later due to the poor quality of after-sales service. Many of the original Octavia owners who were stung by the appalling service quality and indifference amongst a big bunch of Skoda’s dealers will, however, still swear by the car’s reliability and quality, For Price details of Skoda Octavia check out in Carzprice
On the outside there aren’t any major sheet metal changes but thanks to the new headlamps, front grille and bumper, the refreshed Octavia looks more purposeful and in your face when viewed upfront. The split LED headlamps may look odd in pictures, but in flesh they look attractive and cohesive. Even the grille which now comes with gloss black finish is larger and makes the car look wider and more purposeful. At the back, you now get LED tail-lamps similar to the Superb. Even the bumper is new and the pronounced crease running across, makes the car look wider and more appealing. When viewed in profile, the Octavia remains unchanged except for a new design for the alloy wheels. So you get the same coupe like silhouette and well-proportioned body.
Based on VW group’s MQB platform, mechanically the Octavia remains the same, except for a wider rear track(30mm for 1.8TSi and 20mm for other variants), which according to Skoda has helped improve ride and handling.
If there is one thing that has held the Octavia in good stead, it is the interiors. Since its arrival here nearly 16 years ago, the earlier Octavia, later the Laura, and now the new Octavia, have always been known for good build quality and decent features.
Firstly, the car we drove was a fully loaded top-of-the-line model with a whole load of bells, whistles and even a few hoots.
This list includes multi-zone climate control, electric adjustment for the driver’s seat, 10 shade ambient lighting wood door garnish and new air-con vents. There is an all new touchscreen infotainment system now with an eight-inch display as compared to the older car’s 6.5-inch display. It’s now has just two physical buttons. The capacitive screen responds excellently to touch and the graphics are crisp and smooth. This is a big step forward from the system offered by the Octavia’s Japanese and Korean rivals in this part of the market.
Also new to this car is the parking assist system that works with 12 sensors and the camera to the guide their driver into a parallel parking space. This is pretty much the first car in this part of the market to be offered with this technology.
The cabin is a dual tone beige-and-black affair making it a pleasant and sunny affair when you sit both in the front and back. The 4.6-metre length and 2.6-metre wheelbase means you have plenty of room in front, but the space for the middle rear passenger is a bit compromised due to the placing of the AC vents and the transmission tunnel.
The Octavia has always been high on the practicality quotient and its biggest selling point is, of course, the 590-litre boot which can be expanded to 1580-litres by folding down the rear seats. Added to this is the fact that the car is a notchback which means, the rear section all the way to the glass area can be lifted for better access. Finally, there are loads of small storage spaces like cup holders and even a dustbin (in the front door card) in and around the cabin
As far as the engines go, there is no change from the earlier model. It is available with a 1.4 petrol that churns out 148 bhp of power and is mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. Then comes second engine which is the highlight of the car. This is the 1.8 TSI petrol which pumps out 177 bhp of power and 250Nm of torque, comes mated to a six-speed manual and also a 7-speed DSG gearbox. This engine delivers excellent performance, right from the word go. The acceleration is smooth and making you pull the car beyond 6500 RPM and the roaring sound it makes, is music to the ears. The gearbox is excellent and the shifts are seamless. This is one engine which we love to drive
The third engine is the 2.0-litre diesel which has 141 bhp of power and 320 NM of enormous torque, is available with a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic gearbox.The diesel also is an very punchy engine with fantastic low-end torque which sets in at 1750rpm. It is fantastic and can do those wheel spins while setting yourself in motion from stand still. if you intend to go for petrol, it is the 1.8 you should be going for , because this brings out the essence of Ithe Octavis. However, the 1.4 petrol is also a sweet engine and the manual gearbox is flawless in operation.
Terms of mileage the 1.4 petrol should return your 10 to 12 km/l whereas the 1.8 should deliver anywhere between 8 to 11 km/l, depending upon the variant you choose. The diesel should be giving around 12 to 17 km/l. These mileage figures in real life driving conditions and may vary from driver to driver or even your driving habits in the city or on the highway.
DRIVING DYNAMICS ;
The abundance of space and plush ride quality are the highlights of the Octavia as before, with the latter not compromising handling or driving pleasure. The steering offers good feel and feedback too, while feeling perfectly weighted, which adds to the joy of driving the car. While the diesel version is a good handler no doubt, the petrol version handles even better, thanks to its independent rear suspension that also offers a slightly better ride.
Safety features on the 2017 Skoda Octavia include – 8 airbags on the top variant, 6 airbags on the mid variant and 4 airbags on the base variant. Along with that, you get ABS with EBD and HBA, Anti Slip Regulation with Motor Slip Regulation, Electronic Differential Lock, ESC, Multi Collision Braking, TPMS and an iBuzz Fatigue Alert which is only available on the top trim. Talking about service, while Skoda is taking some efforts to change their perception in customers’ minds, we cannot deny the fact that majority of the customer base still thinks that the automaker has poor service. Along with that, spare parts are known to be expensive too.
Nonetheless, the car’s practicality is outstanding, while material quality and equipment are as good as anything at the price. Factor in the Octavia’s range of decent engines and low running costs, and the overall package is an appealing and sensible one, even despite its questionable post-facelift face.
Consequently, those looking for comfortable, robust, well appointed family transport could do no better; ultimately, that’s what earns the Skoda Octavia its fourth full road test star.