Say the name Skoda and the car that instantly crops up in our mind is the Octavia. The Skoda Octavia is the car that represents everything the Skoda brand has been known for and in India it established the brand image of Skoda single handedly. While the vRS is part of enthusiast folklore, the diesel Octavia is a bit of a legend.
Bullet-proof build, classy styling and superb efficiency was one of the hallmarks of the first gen Octavia and Skoda hopes this new generation model will endear us in the same way. This is the third gen model (previous gen was sold under Laura name) and our new Skoda Octavia review has all the details regarding the exterior and interiors so here we will dig deep into the diesel Octavia's performance and handling characteristics in detail.
The Skoda Octavia gets three engine options including two petrols and one diesel. It goes without saying that the diesel would be one of the best sellers in the range. We have driven both the automatic and the manual versions. The diesel engine in the new Octavia is a 141 bhp 2.0 diesel engine along with 320 Nm of torque.
This diesel is a familiar unit and thanks to the torque, performance is effortless and smooth. It is fast and triple digit speeds are easy with this car. What alters the characteristics are the different gearboxes i.e. the auto and manual. The diesel Octavia unlike the 1.8 TSI petrol version (7-speed) gets a 6-speed DSG with Tiptronic manual gear changing. To be honest you do not need any use of the manual gear changing at all as there is no turbo lag at all. This autobox is a smooth one and really complements well to the engine.
The six-speed manual version on the other hand provides a more intimate driving experience and you have work a bit more for the performance. There is hint of turbo lag and you have to downshift but that not much of a problem considering how slick this gearbox is. Overall for a sunday morning drive, the manual will be our choice but the automatic provides a more smoother driving experience and edges past its manual counterpart.
Ride and Handling
The new Octavia at the front axle has a McPherson suspension with lower triangular links and torsion stabiliser while at the rear axle there is a compound link crank axle. The handling is razor sharp and the steering feels direct but is too light. It is surely more fun than the other cars in its class. The ride though at city speeds is decent but it does get a bit bumpy over the really bad roads, it gets better at high speeds though.
The diesel automatic version has an official mileage figure of 19.28 kmpl while the diesel manual has an official mileage figure of 20.61 kmpl. We got 14-15 kmpl in the city with the manual being more efficient by a slim margin.
Price and Value
The Active diesel manual is priced at around Rs 15.55 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) to Rs 19.5 lakh for the top of the line Elegance diesel AT model. The Active version is the base model and does not have features like steering controls, touchscreen audio, USB, climate control or even the LED DRL's. It does have some of the basic features and has dual front airbags.
Though in our opinion it is just too basic and the one that makes the best sense is the middle Ambition version which gets most features like climate control, touchscreen audio, steering controls, rear parking sensors etc.
The petrol Octavia is obviously more fun but the diesel offers a better combination of price and lower running costs. We think you should go for the automatic diesel over the manual as it makes more sense and in everyday driving you will enjoy it more. The new Skoda Octavia is the most complete car in its class and we recommend a buy.
Words- Somnath Chatterjee Photography- Rajeev Bhendwal