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Skoda Octavia 2014 Review

EXPERT RATING
8
The big-hearted Skoda Octavia just got bigger in a bid to make its mark on the mid-size segment.

The big-hearted Skoda Octavia just got bigger in a bid to make its mark on the mid-size segment. The third generation of the vehicle, which comes as a sedan or wagon, has grown markedly in length, width and wheelbase with occupants being the benefactors with increased space, especially in the rear.

The cabin is longer (1782 mm), there's more knee room (73 mm) and more headroom at the back (980 mm) than in the previous model. Other interior dimensions increased over Octavia's second generation are front elbow width (plus 39 mm) and rear elbow width (plus 26 mm). Cargo room has been given a boot up too with 568 litres in the sedan and 588 litres the wagon. The cabin is also blessed with an impressive range of standard equipment.

PRICE / FEATURES

The new Octavia comes in three specification levels – Ambition, Ambition Plus and Elegance – powered by one of two petrol engines or a diesel unit mated with either a six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG automatic transmission.

Prices start at $21,690, plus on-roads, for the Octavia Ambition 103TSI manual sedan and top out at $35,490 for the Octavia Elegance 110TDI DSG automatic turbo-diesel. A premium of $1350 applies to the wagons.

Our test vehicle, an Octavia Elegance 132TSI wagon with seven-speed DSG auto was augmented by an optional Tech Pack, adding assorted safety and convenience features for $3300 extra. Metallic paint added a further $475, putting the total price at $36,040. A six-year capped price servicing programme is one of the longest in the business.

DESIGN / STYLING

In keeping with its increased dimensions, Skoda designers set about ensuring the latest Octavia made a bolder statement to match. Unlike many rivals who do this with great chunks of chrome, especially up front, a cheapening effect, the Elegance relies on pleasantly restrained use of the shiny stuff.

A thin strip of chrome runs around the distinctive Skoda radiator grille, another binds the side windows in one, while silver roof rails top off a prestige-looking package. An interesting feature is the headlights with their precise cut edges mimicking crystal glass, a tradition of the Czech Republic, the home of Skoda.

Greater dimensions do not mean more bulk. The added inches are taken up in a body that, even in wagon form, is slim and athletic. All set to burst out of the blocks on its 18-inch sports-style wheels.

INFOTAINMENT

Up front instruments are set up so that both driver and passenger have equal viewing access. The Columbus radio navigation system leaves little out, its 3-D navigation display using an 8-inch touch screen with proximity sensors is activated as soon as the hand approaches the screen.

A DVD player has taken the place of a CD player, media-in connection, system menu, eight speakers, two SD card slots, Bluetooth, voice control, jpeg viewer and an internal 64 GB flash memory are all within easy reach.

ENGINE / TRANSMISSION

The Octavia Elegance 132TSI wagon test vehicle was powered by a 1.8-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine putting out 132 kW at 6000 rpm and maximum torque of 250 Nm from 1250 to 5000 revs.

Hooked up to a seven-speed DSG direct shift gearbox, combined urban / highway fuel consumption is claimed by the maker to be 5.9 litres per 100 kilometres and carbon dioxide emissions 136 grams per kilometre. Lighter weight, reduced internal friction and better heat management are responsible for up to 19 per cent lower fuel consumption and emissions.

SAFETY

A five-star ANCAP safety rating means the new Octavia leaves little to chance in an accident. For the first time, the Octavia features a standard knee airbag for the driver and rear side airbags on Ambition Plus and Elegance, adding up to nine airbags to protect occupants from injuries.

Avoiding accidents is in the hands of Electronic Stability Control with anti-skid function and a Multi-Collision Brake system, while visual warning to other road users comes with standard daytime running lights.

DRIVING

More metal does not mean sluggishness. The well sorted power train has the bigger Octavia dancing to the driver's tune. The optional Tech Pack, fitted to the test wagon, adds nice little touches such as fog lights with cornering function, automatic parking assist and adaptive cruise control. Well worth the three grand-plus investment.

Especially worthwhile with this is the Driving Mode Selection, designed to match the mood of any driver. It works on the engine and DSG transmission, coasting, steering, Adaptive Cruise Control, bi-xenon headlights, or air-con, a button on the centre console can select Normal, Sport, Eco or Individual driving modes.

Normal adapts to average driving, Sport peps up the car's agility through throttle response, steering and gearshift pattern, Eco saves fuel and cuts emissions but dulls performance, while Individual tailor the car's characteristics to suit the driver.

The interior is replete with comfort and convenience features including a slot in the centre console to take a mobile phone or iPod; a rubbish bin with detachable throwaway plastic bag in the door and there is no lack of cup holders.

Up to eight bottles can be put into holders designed specifically for them in the doors, centre console or folded down centre armrest in the rear. The cargo area features a reversible mat, on one side fabric, on the other a rubber surface to take wet or dirty gear, while cargo can be anchored to the fabric side by Velcro fasteners to stop items sliding around.

SUMMING UP

Since the launch of the Octavia in 1996, more than 3.7 million of a total of more than 9.1 million vehicles sold have been Octavias, putting it at the heart of the Czech company's product line-up.

With the new model, in sedan and wagon form, offering more space, a wider range of specification, better fuel economy, all at highly competitive prices the Octavia can only continue as the Skoda sales pacemaker.

Pricing guides

$16,994
Based on 28 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$11,990
Highest Price
$29,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
103 TSI Ambition 1.4L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $6,700 – 10,450 2014 Skoda Octavia 2014 103 TSI Ambition Pricing and Specs
103 TSI Ambition Plus 1.4L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $7,700 – 11,880 2014 Skoda Octavia 2014 103 TSI Ambition Plus Pricing and Specs
103 TSI Elegance 1.4L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $10,600 – 15,620 2014 Skoda Octavia 2014 103 TSI Elegance Pricing and Specs
110 TDI Elegance 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP $11,700 – 17,160 2014 Skoda Octavia 2014 110 TDI Elegance Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8
Pricing Guide

$11,990

Lowest price, based on 23 car listings in the last 6 months

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