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2017 Skoda Octavia Petrol Review, First Drive

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Enchanting –

  • Well designed proportionate car
  • Superlative chassis, brakes, engine
  • Comfortable, practical and spacious cabin
  • Feature loaded car

Unsatisfying –

  • Tricky after sales in few areas
  • 1.8 motor doesn’t offer manual gearbox.

Skoda in India has always been about affordable luxury in the Indian consumer psyche. The company has been consistently providing what can be termed as ‘two segment above build quality, luxury and performance’ and it was indeed a new thing for Indian market when the Czech maker first started its inning in the country. ¬†However, as times passed by expectations increased and Skoda has more or less kept churning out practical offers for luxury seekers.

First came Octavia than came Laura and then returned the Octavia again and in the meantime the Superb kept getting better. Back in 2013, the manufacturer got the all new Octavia and took the ever hot and happening D-Segment by storm. The design to the performance and everything between was a carved to perfection. A car hard to ignore in its category despite Skoda’s two not so great point such as the reliability and not so great after sales. However, post 2012, Skoda till date has been trying to improve everything, including the products as well. Facelifted Octavia is here after 4 years of the all new version and it is here again with a few loud talking points. We spend some quality time with the car to give you a comprehensive taken down and what makes it desirable yet again.

Styling

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When it comes to design, nothing really has changed drastically. The car gets new dual split headlights which though are the huge differential over the past car. The bumper at the front and rear also stay near similar. Front lower bump witnesses a small fog lamp which is a cornering lamp as always. The tail-lamps also get the C-motive over the past single strip LED seen before. The headlights make a big change in illumination and spread as Skoda says and real life they do an excellent job as well. AFS aka Adaptive lighting make sure there is a lot of illumination and spread and makes sure that the cars and drivers ahead do not get disturbed from the same.

Interior and Features

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Interior is where we see a sleek TV inspired touch-screen. The interface is super slick and is great to touch as well. Gesture control sees the moment you get fingers pointed, the screen below displays the button to be used. There is 12 ambient lighting colors to choose from which is a fantastic touch to lift the mood and ambiance. The steel grey inserts which house the ambiance lighting and a ‘naked’ door handle is also a excellent and sophisticated touch to the cabin.

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Steering wheel is great to feel and hold with soft leather. Cabin is very airy and high on quality and finish levels. The piano black finish on the center console is a bit cheap and lower plastics are tiny bit scratchy but then again Skoda offers so more on the face of it, all of these downsides are just nitpicking. One has to save costs to deliver the best in major areas, we cannot deny that in 2017.

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Features include all connectivity options, automatic climate control with SYNC option. Power seat with memory on the driver side with height adjustable seat belts are on offer. The leather seats, keyless entry, six airbags, sunroof, 16-inch wheels, tyre pressure monitoring system, navigation, cruise control, rear a/c vents, fully electric ORVM’s and IRVM, start-stop, automatic parallel parking and more is on offer.

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Space in the back is huge as there is plenty of leg, head, knee and shoulder room on offer. Infact, as we know this is the best in the segment by far. Boot is also the best with a hatchback opening, it offers 600 litres to be used. Well laid out seats means back support is good, there is enough under thigh support and center armrest makes it more impressive of a luxury and business cabin to be in. Storage spaces are in abundance with cup holders, stowage area in the center console, large glovebox and small wallet pocket on the right side.

Performance and Gearbox

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We had the 1.8 TSI BOMB of a motor on test this time and we will have the diesel soon as well. The 1.8 TSI motor was mated to an 7-speed Dual clutch Gearbox. The smooths are super sharp, fast and smooth. In sport and manual mode, you can relish the car to the limit and drain the fuel in no time either. We got 7.8 km/l in our testing which is quite low but the fun level was beyond words. The motor has bit of compromised low-end torque than the last generation but the mid and top-end of the car is totally bonkus. The car takes no time in reaching 200 km/hr on a open road. The petrol motor keeps on propelling car relentlessly.

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NVH level are clearly segment best. You cannot even hear the whisper from the engine bay till 2500 RPM and it feels like it is running on air. The silence beyond an electric car. Refinement of the engine and sound deadening in the car and smooth power delivery makes it an effortless car to sit in and cruise all day long or getting stuck in traffic isn’t bad thing either. The moment you start pushing this engine and redlining it, the motor does feel a bit characterless and the redline is very muted and it feels like an electric engine is redlining around 7000 RPM. Overall, a great engine to live with as it is versatile, refinement and whole lot of fun.

Ride and Handling

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Driving dynamics off the car have improved slightly. The 30mm track increase at the rear should give it more grip and we did notice more confidence while pushing the car that we drove earlier. The steering is low on feedback but it precise and does you what you ask it do it with precision and speed. Front feel planted and there is hardly any body roll. The rear does feel insecure in the last car, but not this time.

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However, the poise of a true European car cannot be felt at the limit because there isn’t Multi-link suspension at the rear like the front. Torsion beam at the rear makes it presence felt but only if you start focusing on it like how we do. Normal joe shouldn’t have any problems for a long time. The ride quality is compliant enough but there is the underlying stiffness. Tyres could have been better but the size has been increased so the chassis does work rather well. Highway stability is really good and the car is poised at any given speed. Cornering is confidence inspiring and taking sweepers at almost any speed is job well done by the Octavia.

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2017 Skoda Octavia Petrol Review, Verdict

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After spending some quality time with the quality car from Skoda, we have to hand it that the brand is capable of making seriously efficient, practical and well looking and performing cars. Octavia continues with this tradition since the day it came to the Indian market and never ceases to impress. The petrol motor always bring a huge grin to the enthusiast face and continues to do even the same with a bit of character lost in the process of evolution.

Octavia calling card this time is its pricing and the GST has helped the Octavia to be priced really well. No matter whatever variant you choose you do get excellent engines and great quality along with safety features as standard. This is where Skoda has gotten the Octavia right and we have no reason to doubt that it will continue to be top pick for prospect customers and will lead the sales charts and hearts of enthusiasts with its perfect packaging.

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New Octavia: Petrol
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

Ex-showroom Pan India

Octavia Petrol Review
  • Design
  • Performance
  • Dynamics
  • Value
  • Space
  • Interior
  • Features
4.9

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