The new Skoda Octavia completes the compact family car of the Volkswagen Group that includes the Audi A3, SEAT Leon and the VW Golf. Like these models, the Skoda is built using the “MBQ” platform.
In the UK, Skoda has made available four engines – the petrol powered 1.4-litre 140hp TSI or 1.2-litre 105hp TSI and the diesel powered 2.0-litre 150hp TDI or 1.6-litre 105hp TDI. All of these engines are turbo and not much different from other VW products. You might be a bit surprised though that given the size of the Skoda, it is does not come with a more powerful engine.
In mid-2013 the vRS, high performance models of the new Skoda are scheduled for release but none of them are slated for UK. In tests, the 1.4-litre petrol is keen and smooth and hums pleasantly; turbo response is credible at low revs and even with the 6-speed box engaged the engine purrs just as smoothly at high way speeds.
As should be expected, the diesel which comes with a 5-speed manual is a bit slower. But the lack in enthusiasm is properly compensated with efficiency, which many people think provides the TDI with the desired balance of power and fuel economy.
An optional 7-speed DSG automatic is available for all UK engines, which might be convenient but does not help much in reducing C02 emissions. Compared to the models it replaces, the Octavia is both lighter and stronger, and being a bigger car, it predictably carries more weight than the similarly “MBQ” based Leon or Golf.
It’s the lightest Octavia to hit the road, and when this is combined with its extra width, and longer wheel, this model probably provides the most comfort and cornering aptitude. The problem is, except for the 2.0-litre diesel all of the others come with less refined and cheaper suspension design.
This new Octavia is just slightly less agile than other Skodas of similar make but this is not a major drawback given its bigger size, and whatever suspension type you choose, its grip is firm and rolls are hardly noticeable. It may not be the greatest ride in the world, but it’s enjoyable, especially since its price is not hard on the pockets.