SUVs have taken the market by storm and are dominating the sales charts every month with the recent instance being of the Hyundai Creta grabbing the number one spot for the month of May 2021. However, this begs the question whether other body styles are still relevant, particularly sedans. The newest sedan on the block is the Skoda Octavia which was launched at a rather premium price of 25.99 lakhs. With Octavia being one of the two D segment sedans available in the market, let us take a look if it makes a strong case for sedans in the current market.
SUVs have gained popularity due to their upright stance and butch looks. They attract a sense of respect from the road users and in many cases, make them move out of the way. The SUVs may look brawny but they cannot match the understated elegance of the Octavia. With the typical Skoda butterfly grille flanked by Bi-LED headlamps, this thing for sure is a looker. Another trait unique to Octavia is how timeless its design is. The car will age gracefully just like its previous iterations.
One of Octavia’s key strengths is its practicality. It boasts of a massive 600-litre boot space which can be further increased to 1,555 litres by folding the rear seats. To put this into context, the Hyundai Tucson comes with a boot space of 530 litres which falls short behind the Octavia. One thing which the Octavia cannot offer is the practicality of seven seats that other SUVs such as the Tata Safari offers.
The Octavia has a pretty long list of safety and convenience features that try to justify the high asking price. It comes with 8 airbags, ESC, ASR, EDL, TPMS, virtual cockpit display, 10.25 touchscreen infotainment system with Canton speakers, hands-free parking, electronically operated tailgate and 12 way electrically adjustable front seats with memory function to name a few. Though it’s a pretty healthy list of features, it still falls short behind cars like the Jeep compass which offers ventilated seats, a 360-degree camera and the most popular feature of them all i.e. a panoramic sunroof.
The Octavia comes with a 2-litre TSI petrol engine which produces 190 HP and 320 Nm of torque mated to a 7 speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission. This engine is perfect for enthusiasts with its explosive performance. The motor is efficient too for the given performance where it can easily deliver upwards of 14 km/l with a light foot.
However, the lack of a diesel engine is a big miss for those who have a high running. Currently, every SUV in the D segment has a competent diesel engine which not only comes close to the Octavia in terms of specifications like the 2.0 diesel unit in the Hyundai Tucson but can also prove to be much more efficient.
Sedans have always been better at handling when compared to SUVs with the Octavia being a benchmark in its segment. However, the difference between a sedan and an SUV is surely reducing day by day. SUVs like the Jeep Compass are known to be fun to drive and can even put many sedans to shame with their communicative steering. Add the convenience of 4WD with better ground clearance and it would make it equally competent off the road too.
The lines between a sedan and an SUV are blurring day by day which is evident by the sales and the value which SUVs offer. What’s more surprising is how these SUVs can possess certain sedan traits such as a good ride and handling balance which makes it really hard to justify buying a sedan in today’s day and age. The Octavia in isolation is a great car which further strengthens its USPs over its predecessor. There is a tiny percentage of the population which still loves sedans despite the onslaught of SUVs in our market and the Octavia will surely capture that market. But will the consumers accept the premium pricing of the Czech sedan? Only time will tell.