TELL ME ABOUT THIS CAR
The Skoda Octavia is a medium car available either as a liftback sedan or wagon. It is based on the same platform as the Volkswagen Golf, and shares some of its engines and gearboxes. The 110TSI Ambition sedan is the base model Octavia, priced from $24,490 with a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine producing 110kW and 250Nm.
- Practicality. Skoda has a clever way of packaging its cars to offer maximum space inside. The Octavia sedan has a large rear seat and an excellent boot. One of the smartest features is the liftback hatch, Unlike a normal sedan, the liftback hinges from the roofline and not from the bottom of the rear glass. What that does is open up a huge aperture for loading and unloading, and removes the parcel shelf that normally gets in the way of the boot area in typical sedans.
- Value. More metal for the money could be Skoda’s slogan. The Octavia has a meaty heft to its controls in a way that feels solid and expertly screwed together. It’s not fancy by any stretch of the imagination, but the essentials are all there and executed to a high standard. It’s also fairly well equipped with decent safety gear including radar cruise control and auto emergency braking, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a few surprise and delight features such as a driver’s side garbage bin, and a chilled glovebox.
- Economy. Skoda claims fuel consumption of 5.2L/100km, which is impressive. Our real world testing of this model has found it to be higher, but still remarkable at around 6.8L/100km after a mixture of highway and city driving. Those figures make the Octavia 110 TSI one of the most economical mid-size cars in its class.
- Design. Okay, so the Octavia’s design doesn’t exactly push the boundaries, but fundamentally it is a good looking car. The sharp lines and handsome proportions should attract buyers.
- Blandness. In entry level Ambition guise, the Octavia is quite plain. This is especially noticeable inside where expanses of plastic abound. In some ways the Octavia feels deliberately sparse to separate it from the Golf on which it is based. More expensive Octavia models don’t suffer from this as much.
- Lag. Most people will buy the 110TSI model with a DSG dual-clutch gearbox, and that introduces some delay to the drivetrain when taking off, reversing or in stop-start traffic. There’s a gap where nothing happens between stepping on the accelerator and moving off, and it can get frustrating when making low-speed manoeuvres or when slipping into a tight gap in traffic. It’s the sort of thing you will get used to, but conventional automatics don’t suffer from this and are more relaxing to drive as a result.
ANY COMPETITORS I SHOULD CONSIDER?
The obvious one is the Volkswagen Golf. The Golf hatch doesn’t have the same cargo carrying ability as the Octavia, but it does have an elevated sense of luxury inside, even in the base model. Another option is the new Honda Civic sedan, which does have a large boot and is great to drive, though at this price point it doesn’t have the turbocharged grunt of the Octavia.
Hyundai Elantra, Kia Cerato and Mazda 3 all come in sedan form for similar money, but they can’t match the Octavia’s rear seat space. Most things that can are significantly more expensive.