First Drive: 2017 Skoda Octavia 1.8 TSI AT Review

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The Skoda Octavia is the Czech automaker's most popular car till date, with over 6 million cars roaming the roads of the earth today. In 2001, Skoda entered India with the Octavia which was replaced nine years later by the Laura (2nd-gen Octavia) in 2010. The current car, the third generation Octavia was launched in India in 2013.

The facelifted Octavia revealed in January in the Austrian capital of Vienna has now entered the country after a rather intensive session at the automotive plastic surgical table. So what all has changed on the Octavia and if it's worth the premium Skoda charges?

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First Drive: Skoda Octavia 1.8 TSI AT Review

Exterior

The biggest change on the 2017 Octavia is the front end which sports a new look that takes some time to get used to.

The new quad adaptive LED headlamps with daytime running lights (which feature blade-like design elements) seem a bit odd at first glance. However, when seen with the gloss black butterfly grille, the contoured bonnet and the side mirrors, the split headlamp design does make a lot more sense.

First Drive: Skoda Octavia 1.8 TSI AT Review

The split headlamps also play host to different elements of the lighting system, with the ones closest to the grille hosting the high beam lights and the ones at the sides housing the low beam units.

The revised front bumper features a chrome piece that runs across its width and connects the sharp looking fog lamps while splitting the front air dam. The LED fog lamps also act as cornering lamps.

First Drive: Skoda Octavia 1.8 TSI AT Review

At the sides, the no-nonsense look of the pre-facelift car is retained. A character line runs across the side of the car, connecting the new headlamps to the taillamps. The wheel arches play host to a new set of 16-inch alloy wheels that are shod with 205/55 R16 tyres from Goodyear.

The rear end of the Skoda Octavia is now wider than before thanks to a widened rear track. The major design change at the rear comes in the form of the revised LED tail lamps feature a C-shaped illumination pattern which is now a hallmark of Skoda cars. The rear bumper has also been slightly tweaked as well.

First Drive: Skoda Octavia 1.8 TSI AT Review

The liftback design of the Octavia has been retained and when the rear end is opened up it allows access to the massive 590-litre boot. Storage space can be further expanded to 1580-litres by folding down the 60:40 split rear seats.

First Drive: Skoda Octavia 1.8 TSI AT Review

Interior & Features

The new Octavia retains the two-tone beige and black look of the previous car but adds a host of features. The large and comfortable seats feature leather upholstery with double stitching and the 12-way electrically adjustable driver's seat also getting a memory function.

First Drive: Skoda Octavia 1.8 TSI AT Review

The rear seats are large and offer ample amount of legroom and knee room along with more than ample bolstering. The passengers in the rear seats also get added creature comforts in the form of rear A/C vents and dual USB charging ports.

First Drive: Skoda Octavia 1.8 TSI AT Review

Also new are the plastic inserts on the doors which mimic brushed aluminium in terms of looks and feature ambient lighting with ten different colour options.

First Drive: Skoda Octavia 1.8 TSI AT Review

The biggest change regarding features is the all-new 8-inch touchscreen set within a smooth but glossy black bezel.

The touchscreen system is a smooth operator and comes packed with satellite navigation, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and even Mirror Link. Skoda has also added a new feature called Boss Connect which allows passengers to control the infotainment system through an app on their smartphones.

First Drive: Skoda Octavia 1.8 TSI AT Review

Other features on the new Octavia include a sunroof which shuts automatically if it detects rain, dual-zone air conditioning, a new sleeker steering wheel along with a cooled glove box, puddle lamps, keyless entry and new dials borrowed from the Superb.

First Drive: Skoda Octavia 1.8 TSI AT Review

One feature that will surely be appreciated by Indian owners is the new automatic parking system which is activated by a button ahead of the gear selector. The feature automatically parks the Octavia without any inputs from the driver and should spell the end of any parking blues for Octavia owners.

First Drive: Skoda Octavia 1.8 TSI AT Review

Safety

Skoda has packed the Skoda with a host of safety features including eight airbags, ABS with EBD, Hill Hold, Electronic Stability Control, electronic differential lock, a tyre pressure monitoring system and a driver fatigue warning system.

In case a collision occurs, Octavia's multi-collision braking system will apply the brakes to prevent or mitigate a subsequent impact. The Octavia also cuts off the fuel supply to the engine if the vehicle is involved in a crash.

2017 Skoda Octavia Engine, Performance & Mileage

First Drive: Skoda Octavia 1.8 TSI AT Review

The 2017 Skoda Octavia features minimal mechanical changes and retains the drivetrain options found on the pre-facelift car. There are two petrol engine options on offer along with a solitary diesel.

First Drive: Skoda Octavia 1.8 TSI AT Review

The lone 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel engine is mated to either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed DSG automatic gearbox (which we drove) and kicks out 141bhp and 320Nm of torque. The diesel engine returns a mileage of 21km/l when paired to the manual gearbox and 19.5kpl when mated to the DSG automatic.

The smaller 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine is mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox and produces 148bhp and 250Nm of torque while returning a mileage of 16.7kpl.

First Drive: Skoda Octavia 1.8 TSI AT Review

The larger 1.8-litre turbo petrol (which we drove) is paired to a 7-speed DSG automatic gearbox and kicks out 178bhp and 350Nm of torque and returns a mileage of 15.1kpl.

The engine is smooth with peak torque kicking in at just 1,250rpm. The turbocharged petrol engine has a strong mid range and a punchy top-end as the torque surge continues all the way till 5,000rpm.

The 7-speed DSG gearbox seamlessly goes through the gears and thanks to the paddle shifters is easily the choice for those who prefer to drive themselves around.

First Drive: Skoda Octavia 1.8 TSI AT Review

Skoda has widened the rear track of the Octavia by 30mm on the 1.8-litre petrol variant which uses a multilink setup and 20mm in the other versions of the sedan (diesel and 1.4-litre petrol) which make use of a torsion beam setup. The widened rear track gives the Octavia a better stance on the road, and at high speeds, the car also feels much more planted while cornering.

However, Skoda has also softened the suspension setup all around, which helps the Octavia smother the bumps and ruts that plague Indian roads. However, it can get a bit floaty at higher speeds.

First Drive: Skoda Octavia 1.8 TSI AT Review

2017 Skoda Octavia Pricing and Rivals

Prices for the new Octavia in India start at Rs 15,49,405 for the base 1.4-litre petrol variant with the range-topping diesel variant with the 6-speed DSG automatic gearbox retailing at Rs 22,89,573* . However, even at that price the Octavia still remains the premium option in the segment.

The main rivals for the 2017 Octavia in India are the Toyota Corolla Altis (Rs 14.88 – 18.67 lakh) and the Hyundai Elantra (Rs 12.48 – 18.46 lakh).

Skoda Octavia Petrol Price List

Variant Price Ex-Showroom
Octavia Ambition 1.4 TSI MT Rs 15,49,405
Octavia Style 1.4 TSI MT Rs 17,49,605
Octavia Style 1.8 TSI AT Rs 18,59,429
Octavia Style Plus 1.8 TSI AT Rs 20,89,900

Skoda Octavia Diesel Price List

Variant Price Ex-Showroom
Octavia Ambition 2.0 TDI CR MT Rs 16,89,974
Octavia Style 2.0 TDI CR MT Rs 18,95,608
Octavia Style 2.0 TDI CR AT Rs 20,49,619
Octavia Style Plus 2.0 TDI CR AT Rs22,89,573

*Please Note: All prices mentioned above are ex-showroom (pan India)

First Drive: Skoda Octavia 1.8 TSI AT Review

Factsheet

Tested Skoda Octavia Style Plus 1.8 TSI AT
Price (ex-showroom) Rs 20,89,900
Engine Turbocharged 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol
Gearbox 7-speed DSG Automatic
Power 178bhp @ 5,100–6,200rpm
Torque 350Nm @ 1,250–5,000rpm
Fuel Tank Capacity 50 litres
Mileage (ARAI) 15.1kpl
Fuel Tank Range 755km
First Drive: Skoda Octavia 1.8 TSI AT Review

Verdict

The facelifted Skoda Octavia retains the tank-like build of the car it replaces and while the new face may seem a bit odd to some, it ends up growing on you.

Skoda has also added a whole host of new tech (especially the automatic parking) in the new Octavia which along with the improved ride comfort at the rear will increase its appeal and more than justify the premium over its rivals.

First Drive: Skoda Octavia 1.8 TSI AT Review

Dennis James Thinks!

Mid-life facelifts on most cars have us pulling out the Sherlock Holmes magnifying glasses as we bid to find out what has changed and we usually end up scratching our heads thinking about what all the fuss was about when we do find out the minuscule changes.

However, Skoda's not only given the usually plain-Jane Octavia an aggressive new face but it has also shifted the rear wheels further apart to ensure that the car stays planted on the road at higher speeds while ensuring a comfortable ride for passengers at the rear thanks to a softer suspension setup.

Add in the new tech and Skoda has given the tried and tested Octavia a new lease of life and the ability to take the fight to its rivals once again in a segment that is fast disappearing in this SUV obsessed nation.

First Drive: Skoda Octavia 1.8 TSI AT Review

Did You Know?

  • Skoda was founded in 1895 as a bicycle manufacturing company called Slavia.
  • In 1899, the founders of Skoda (Vaclav Laurent and Vaclav Klement) changed the name of the company to Laurin & Klement Co (After which the special L&K models are named) after the company started manufacturing motorcycles.
  • In 1905, the company started building cars which proved to be a successful venture. Laurin & Klement Co merged with Pizen Skodovka Co in 1925 and became ŠKODA.
  • The original Skoda Octavia was introduced in 1959 and remained in production till 1971. The car was named the Octavia as it was the eighth car produced by Skoda after it was the eighth model to be built after the end of World War 2.
  • Skoda resurrected the Octavia name in 1996.

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