Skoda Octavia VS Peugeot 508
- Good value
- Nice to drive
- Sport by name and nature
- Option packs abound
- Uglier than predecessor
- Materials a little cheap
- Hatch and wagon available to Aussies
- Punchy engine in top-spec model
- Some questionable fit/finish
- Ingress/egress to back seat
- Pricing unknown
The Skoda Octavia 2018 range offers buyers unparalleled pragmatism, and a broad range of options to suit varied budgets.
It may not be as attractive as it was prior to its most recent facelift, but there is plenty to like if you can look beyond the challenging front-end design.
There's the choice of a five-door hatchback (which looks like a sedan), or a five-door station wagon - and with Skoda buyers being pragmatic, the wagon is the more popular body style. So that's what we've got here, and in the new Sport trim line.
Consider yourself intrigued? Read on to find out more.
|Engine Type||2.0L turbo|
Peugeot reckons you shop with your eyes. That should mean the company will sell plenty of this car, the new Peugeot 508 2019 model.
The problem will be convincing the other, more brain-like parts of its potential customers that this is a vehicle worth considering. Most people want SUVs now, and Peugeot has the impressive seven-seat 5008 SUV if you want something like that.
But there are reasons that this car is more appealing than an SUV. More than just its striking design, this is a car with style and substance.
|Engine Type||2.0L turbo|
The Skoda Octavia 2018 Sport wagon may run the same 110TSI drivetrain as the regular base model car, but its chassis and design tweaks make it a worthwhile model to consider if you want something that stands out a little bit from the rest of the Octavia pack.
If you want an RS wagon but can't afford one, you really ought to take a look at this car.
Would you consider a wagon over a hatchback? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.
So is it worth considering the 508? Well that will depend on how it's priced. We won't know that til mid-2019, but all signs point to this being a compelling option, and a nice alternative to some of those other luxury-focused European models, too.
Has the Peugeot 508 done enough to lure buyers away from the German brands? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.
I didn't like the new look for the Octavia when Skoda revealed it early in 2017, and I wasn't alone. The once-handsome Czech mid-size model had been taken to with the ugly stick, with the dual-headlight look appearing to make the model look, well, nothing like a model.
In some colour combinations it's not too bad - a red RS245 with the black gloss grille, for example, looks tidy. But the Octavia Sport model you see here in white just looked a little bit… spidery, I'd say. Yeah, spidery.
The Sport model is accentuated by black pinstripes here and there, and look, I reckon the design of the wagon is a lot more becoming than the hatch. But if you value style as much as substance, consider the svelte Mazda6 is available for close to the same money…
The dimensions of the Skoda Octavia vary between the hatch and wagon, and the regular model vs the RS - yep, there's a bit of a size difference, but it's pretty miniscule. Here are the main numbers you need to know.
The hatch is 4670mm long (2686mm wheelbase), 1461mm tall and 1814mm wide. The regular wagon isn't as long at 4667mm (2686mm wheelbase), but sits a bit taller (1465mm) and is the same width (1814mm).
Thankfully the interior dimensions are accommodating, and the design in the cabin is very, very smart.
Yes, there's a lot that's interesting about the design. But the main point is that it's absolutely gorgeous.
Having spent a few days in and around 508s, I struggled to find a bad angle to the exterior styling. I don't think there is one. Even the lower-grade models look good on smaller (18-inch) wheels, while the GT on 19s looks just right.
From the sharp LED daytime running lights that drop like fangs from the maw of the front end, to the elegant lines that run side to side and the full LED headlight clusters, the front is pretty. I even like that it proudly has '508' brandished above the lion emblem on the grille.
And while Peugeot is acting like most European manufacturers in saying the car is inspired by a coupe, it actually does kind of look like a four-door coupe without being tryhard about it. Peugeot officially calls it a fastback.
Little things like pillarless doors help in that regard - they're very sporty for a mainstream model. And while it might be a convincing sedan shape to some, it's actually one of those clever liftback hatches. We'll get to the practicalities of that in the next section.
The rear end is simple in its styling; the smoked tail-light finish and black central finisher mean it's not fussy in any way back there.
Skoda is a marvel when it comes to interior packaging, and the Octavia is perhaps the most impressive exponent of this. It really packs a lot in to relatively compact dimensions.
Boot space is perhaps one of the biggest advantages to the Octavia, with the hatch's luggage capacity spanning 568 litres, and the wagon offering up 588L (that measurement is to the window line). There's a spare wheel under the boot floor (you get a space-saver in RS models) and the back end features a dual-sided mat so you can put damp items in the back without damaging the carpet.
Of course there's a couple of clever inclusions like flip-down shopping bag hooks, remote release levers for the split fold seats (they go down in a 60:40 fashion, and there's a clever ski-port for loading through longer items), and there's a dual-action cargo blind. You get a mesh net system, a removable torch and an umbrella, too.
Plus the space on offer for occupants is very good. A family of five, plus luggage, will fit in here easily, with the back seat offering enough rear legroom, headroom and shoulder room for adults, too. With the driver's seat in my driving position (I'm 182cm) I had easily enough room to sit comfortably.
Storage is well thought out, too, with bottle holders in all four doors, map pockets in the back, rear air-vents and a flip-down armrest with cupholders. The materials aren't as plush as you'll find in a Volkswagen Golf or a Mazda6, but they're not scratchy or harsh.
Up front there are big door pockets, a pair of shallow cupholders, a good sized box in front of the gearshifter for your phone and wallet, and a reasonable glove box.
The media system in our test vehicle was the upgraded 9.2-inch unit, which is crisp to look at an offers good resolution, plus the added usability that comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto can't be ignored. But the lack of a volume knob is frustrating, and it can be hard to figure out if you should be pressing Home or Menu when navigating through the systems array of pages.
Yes, there'll be a Touring version; a wagon model known as the 508 SW in Europe. And yes, it'll be more practical, with a bigger boot and arguably even more kerb appeal.
But the 508 Fastback was the model we tested, and it doesn't disappoint too much for usability and practicality.
The boot is said to offer 487 litres of cargo capacity, which is pretty decent for a vehicle of this size, and the storage space can expand to 1537L with the back seats folded down. And unlike lots of Peugeots that have come before it, there's decent storage in the cabin, too.
Yep, you even get good-sized cup holders! There are two between the front seats, and the door pockets are decent, too.
More impressive than the storage, though, is the presentation of the cabin. The finishes are lovely, and at a quick glance it feels more convincing in terms of premium-ness than some other European models from more expensive brands.
The 508 has Peugeot's i-cockpit set-up, which means there's a small steering wheel that you look over the top of to see the instruments. It's polarising - some people don't like having a steering wheel sitting so low - but personally, I love it.
The 12.3-inch digital info screen itself is lovely, and offers a lot of different views and configurations depending on what you want to see. Plus there's a 10.0-inch touchscreen media system with sat nav, plus there's Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. All models are expected to get wireless phone charging as well.
The seats offer good adjustment and reasonable comfort, but the ones in our test vehicles were the sports seats in the optional Nappa leather trim, and they were are a bit hard. Hopefully the lower grade versions without leather are a bit cushier.
Another complaint in the cars we tested was some questionable fit and finish. The paddleshifters, for instance, are constructed of several parts, none of which fit together very well (why not just a single aluminium piece, Peugeot?). We also noted a squeaky, loose centre console in one car, and some uneven fitment lines across the dashboard.
What about back seat space? With the driver's seat set in my position (I'm six-foot tall, or 182cm) the room back there isn't tremendous, but I would be comfortable for a couple of hours.
There's good knee room but anyone taller than me might struggle for headroom, especially when getting in and out - that coupe-style roofline has its downsides. And people with big feet may complain about the toe room. I've got size-12 feet and they were cramped.
There are the requisite ISOFIX child-seat anchor points and top tethers, and while the new model is wider than the 508 that came before it, three-across might still be a squish. At least there are rear air vents and the seats are pretty comfy.
Price and features
One of the main reasons you might be drawn to the Skoda Octavia is its attractive pricing. So, how much does the the mid-size model cost?
Without running through the full price list of the Skoda Octavia models sold in Australia, we can tell you that Skoda prefers to deal in drive-away pricing, so that's what you see here.
The base model Octavia is pretty well equipped, with niceties such as an 8.0-inch touchscreen media system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, dual-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control, a cooled glovebox, and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror.
The wagon model has silver roof rails, but sadly, there's a chrome strip at the nose end, and this model comes with halogen headlights but the tail-lights are LED units. Standard-spec Octavias come with 17-inch alloy wheels, and all Octavias get front fog lights.
The Sport model costs more, with the hatchback version listing at $32,990 drive-away, and the wagon priced at $34,490 drive-away. Both of these are auto-only, though.
In comparison to the entry-grade model, the Sport adds auto LED headlights with adaptive lighting and LED daytime running lights, auto wipers, an extra pair of airbags (for rear side protection) and it rolls on 18-inch alloy wheels.
Sport models have different front seats with integrated headrests (still manually adjustable), privacy glass, and the seatbelts feature a tightening feature if the car's computer predicts a crash (the windows wind up, and if there's a sunroof, it'll close).
Plus the Sport has a black pack, including black door mirror caps, plus side and tailgate decals, there's a rear spoiler (black for the hatch model and body-colour for the wagon), and it rides on a lower sports suspension set-up. The Sport wagon has black roof rails.
If you're interested, the RS model line-up consists of a few different variants. The petrol manual hatch costs $41,990 drive-away, the petrol auto hatch is $44,490 drive-away, and the diesel auto hatch is $45,590 drive-away. Add $1500 for a wagon.
Then there are the top of the range RS245 models, with extra punch and more kit again. The sporty petrol-only RS245 model costs $46,490 for the manual hatch, and $48,990 for the auto hatch. Wagon versions add $1500.
Some notable elements: you need to option keyless entry and push-button start, no matter the model you choose, and a sunroof will cost you $1500 for the hatchback and $1700 for the wagon. You can get a power tailgate as an option on all trim grades of the wagon, too, at $500.
Now, option packs.
The 'Tech Pack' consists of the upgrade to the 9.2-inch screen with nav, LED headlights, semi-automated parking, adaptive chassis control (on RS and RS245 models only), keyless entry and push-button start, 10-speaker Canton audio, drive mode select (already on RS and RS245 models), manoeuvre braking assist (auto braking in reverse), and a driver profile set-up (already on RS and RS245 models).
The Tech Pack costs $4900 for the entry-grade car, $3900 for the Sport model, and $2300 for RS versions.
The other main pack is the 'Luxury Pack', which adds leather trim (base car; N/A Sport) and electric seat adjustment (base model and RS; N/A Sport), Alcantara/leather trim (RS; N/A Sport), heated front and rear seats, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, the added rear airbags (base model only), and auto folding door mirrors with dimming and puddle lights. This pack costs $4200 for the base grade, $1600 for the Sport model $2800 for the RS, $1500 for RS245.
For those playing along at home, the model you see in these images is the Octavia 110TSI Sport wagon, fitted with the Tech Pack and an electric sunroof.
The other choice you'll need to make is on colours, with metallic paint adding $500. Check out Skoda's configurator to see if you like it in red, white, silver, blue, grey, green or black. There's no gold, brown or yellow, but there's a lightish beige hue called 'Cappuccino', which you can't get on higher-spec versions.
The exact pricing and specifications are still to be confirmed for the new Peugeot 508, but we can make some educated guesses.
It is expected that the target zone for the range is between $45,000 and $55,000, meaning it'll compete with upper-end versions of mainstream rivals like the Mazda6 and Skoda Octavia, and under the likes of the Volkswagen Arteon. You might also consider it a more affordable alternative to the likes of the Audi A5, Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class or BMW 4 Series GranCoupe.
It is possible that there'll be three grades offered, and the Fastback hatch and Touring wagon of each. But we'd bank on a more simple line-up, with maybe three or four versions of the 508 to choose from.
We sampled the GT-Line and the flagship GT. Full specifications will follow closer to the local launch of the 508 range in the second quarter of 2019.
Engine & trans
There are three drivetrains to choose from in the 2018 Octavia range, and the specifications step up as you move up the range.
Base grade models and the Sport variant have the 110TSI 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol unit with 110kW of power (5000-6000rpm) and 250Nm (1500-3500rpm). It is available with the choice of a six-speed manual gearbox or seven-speed dual-clutch (DSG) automatic transmission in the base grade, but the Sport model is auto only. If you want more horsepower from your motor, you'll need to go for the RS.
There is no diesel option for the lower grades, and every model in the Octavia range sold in Australia is front-wheel drive (FWD / 2WD). In some markets there are all wheel drive (AWD) models sold, but there isn't a proper 4x4 version with a low range transfer case in any market, though. There is no LPG model sold here, either.
Now, if you think you might consider towing with your Octavia, you'll need to know its capabilities - and towing capacity varies across the range.
The 110TSI hatch has a 620kg un-braked trailer weight capacity or 1500kg for a braked trailer (manual or auto); the 110TSI manual wagon can deal with 630kg/1500kg, while the DSG wagon is good for 640kg/1500kg.
The difference is the power outputs. The low-spec model has a 180 horsepower rating, which translates to 133kW, and it has 250Nm of torque.
The flagship drivetrain in the GT model has 225 horsepower, or 168kW, and 350Nm. This model has a zero-100km/h claim of just 7.3 seconds. The other version claims 7.9sec.
Fuel economy is good for the 110TSI model we're testing, with claimed consumption rated at 5.2 litres per 100 kilometres for the DSG hatch and wagon, while the 110TSI manual hatch uses 5.4L/100km and the 110TSI manual wagon claims 5.5L/100km.
Fuel tank capacity for all models is 50 litres, and your mileage will vary depending on how hard you drive. Based on my time in the 1.4-litre Sport wagon, I was going to do about 650km on a tank, with at the bowser fuel consumption measured at 7.3L/100km. The dashboard display was reading 7.2L/100km.
The Octavia requires 95RON premium unleaded fuel at a minimum.
The official European claimed fuel consumption for the high-spec engine is rated at just 6.5L/100km, while the less powerful engine uses a touch less fuel at 6.0L/100km. I saw displayed fuel use on test - with a mix of freeway, traffic-snarled highway, back road and spirited driving - of 8.9L/100km.
Fuel tank capacity is 62 litres. It requires 95RON premium unleaded fuel.
What makes the Octavia Sport worthy of that much-lauded, oft-overused badge?
Well, it feels pretty sporty to drive, with the MacPherson strut front suspension and torsion beam rear suspension both getting the harder-edge tune and sitting a few mm lower to the ground as a result (be aware of the car's ground clearance - it is lower, but it's not suctioned to the ground like a sports car).
The regular Octavia model was already at the pointy end of the segment for dynamics and comfort, but this Sport version is more dialled into the surface below, with the combination of the stiffer chassis and the bigger wheels with grippy Bridgestone Potenza 225/40/18 rubber rewarding the driver, albeit at a slight penalty in terms of outright ride comfort. You can link bends together with ease, and the turning circle is pretty tight, meaning parking moves are easy enough.
The way the Octavia Sport finds its way through corners, almost telepathically, will have you thinking you've got more grunt than the 110TSI's outputs suggest - that comes down to the refinement at speed, where the torque of the small engine keeps momentum as the dual-clutch auto shifts clinically between gears. There are no paddle-shifters, but there's a manual mode to flick up or down on the shifter, and there are a few drive modes to choose from, each adjusting the throttle response and gearing. Sport was great, but Normal was where I spent most of my time.
In Normal mode there's a bit of stuttering at lower speeds when you're on and off the throttle, but it isn't as much of a deal-breaker as it might have been with earlier iterations of dual-clutch autos. Just make sure that if you're considering the Octavia (or any new car, for that matter!), that you test drive the car extensively, and try to put it through your regular day-to-day routine.
As with many examples of cars built on the Volkswagen MQB modular architecture, there is some road noise - especially on coarse-chip surfaces. I didn't find it hard to live with - I just turned up the volume on the sound system.
Over a week of commuting, driving in and around Sydney and more than a few hours on the city's motorways, I came away convinced that if I couldn't stretch to the RS, I'd be pretty happy in the Sport model.
Need more? Want a quicker 0-100 acceleration time, more speed, and better performance figures, and independent rear suspension? You really ought to read my review of the RS245 wagon.
Having spent time in both variants, it's fair to say you probably don't need the GT with the extra grunt, but it is a nicer car overall.
That's because the GT gets the additional 35kW and 100Nm - increases of 15 and 40 per cent, respectively - which translates to a considerably more urgent response under hard throttle. It's a quick car, let down a bit by the eight-speed automatic transmission which has a tendency to hang on to gears if you decide to back off the throttle, letting the revs linger higher than you might want.
The lower-output engine is suitable for meeting the requirements of the vast majority of buyers in this part of the market, with decent pulling power and rolling response, but there's a bit of low-rev lag to contend with.
The 508's drive mode system allows you to choose between Sport, Normal and Comfort modes for the steering, transmission and throttle calibration, and the GT's version also adjusts the car's adaptive dampers. You can notice it more at higher speeds on bumpy roads - in Sport mode, the GT's 19s can be a touch terse, where comfort allows a little more in the way of bump-soak through the suspension.
The GT-Line on 18s felt reasonably judged in terms of suspension, with a slightly firm edge to the ride. I'm very intrigued as to how each will cope with Australia's, ahem, poorer road surfaces.
I like the small steering wheel and it feels pretty agile for a car of this size, with pretty nippy steering at higher speeds. It is a little lifeless in terms of feel, though, so enthusiasts may be left wanting more.
One thing that stood out was how quiet it was. Admittedly our drive wasn't on coarse-chip roads like those so prominent in Australia, but the cabin was nicely muted at freeway pace, rather well insulated from road and wind noise, and the engine - which sounded pretty snarly under hard throttle - was hushed enough in more sedate moments.
All Skoda Octavia models currently on sale are still covered by the car's 2016 five-star ANCAP crash test safety rating.
Safety features across all models include a reversing camera and rear parking sensors (with a visual park assist display), auto emergency braking (AEB), multi-collision brake, tyre pressure monitoring, fatigue detection and adaptive cruise control.
Of course, every model in the range comes with outboard ISOFIX child-seat anchor points in the back seats, and there are three top-tether attachment points, too.
Airbags for the Octavia are seven for the regular model (dual front, front side, driver's knee and full-length curtain) and nine for RS models (added rear-side protection). The extra airbags can be added to entry-grade models as part of the Luxury Pack, which will also bring lane keeping assist and blind-spot monitoring.
At the time of writing, the new-generation version of the Peugeot 508 hadn't been tested by Euro NCAP or ANCAP, so we can't vouch for its safety rating. But the brand says it "offers a wide range of latest-generation driving aids that notably meet EuroNCAP criteria, which are ever more demanding".
Every model globally is fitted with autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian and cyclist detection (up to 140km/h), a reversing camera, plus there are available advanced items like a Night Vision system (infrared camera), a 360-degree camera with parking sensors all around and semi-autonomous parking assist.
Other tech items expected to be offered include: adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, driver fatigue alert, high-beam assist, speed limit recognition, and active blind-spot monitoring (with intervention). There are six airbags, too.
Because we don't know what we'll get in Australia, and what will be standard or optional, we've gone with an 8/10 here.
The Skoda vehicle range is covered by a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty plan, which is better than its parent company VW offers in Australia, and matches the likes of Mazda, which only recently upped its warranty plan. There's no extended warranty option, though.
The Czech brand allows customers to pre-pay their service costs by choosing one of its 'Service Packs, the cost of which can be bundled into finance or outright purchase price. The plans are three years/45,000km ($1150 no matter the model) or five years/75,000km ($2250 for non-RS models; $2700 for RS models).
The other option for customers is to pay for their maintenance as they go using capped price servicing for up to six years/90,000km. The average service cost for a standard Octavia is $416.50 and $453 for RS models, but that's before additional consumables like brake fluid. Also worth noting that the alarm system needs to be replaced every six years, at a cost of $411 - that might need to be considered in your resale value estimates.
If you're concerned about common faults, problems or issues you may encounter check out our Skoda Octavia problems page. The value of a page like this is that it goes beyond standard features to give you a gauge of the reliability rating for the vehicle.
The warranty period offered by Peugeot is now five years/unlimited kilometres, and you get the same cover for roadside assist, too.
The brand also has a capped-price service program, known as its Service Price Promise, which covers up to nine years/180,000km. The service intervals for the current 508 model are every 12 months or 20,000km, which is nice and generous.
While service pricing isn't confirmed yet for the new model, it is expected that the costs will be higher than some of the mainstream competition. The existing model averaged $605 per service - double some rivals. So unless it's considerably more affordable for the new model, we're lopping some points off for that.