Sedans are a dying breed all around the world thanks to the SUVs and crossovers. The D segment in India has seen a lot of sedans come and go but none of them survived. The only current car being sold in the D segment is the Hyundai Elantra which again is not popular or sells in huge numbers. Skoda however, is betting on the next generation Octavia and is confident that it will bring a new lease of life to the segment. With a new platform, powertrain and host of new technology, lets see how the new Octavia fares:
The Skoda Octavia has grown is size and it continues to have its charm like the older iterations. The front features new adaptive LED headlamps which surround the typical Skoda butterfly grille. You also get strong two strong creases on the bonnet and the lower end of the bumper features LED fog lamps with cornering function. The side features 17 inch alloy wheels. The top end L&K variant gets its inscription on the front fenders. The side of the Octavia shows off its iconic notchback design which is unlike any other sedan in the market today. The Octavia misses out on the sunroof which is a serious omission. The rear features sharp LED tail lamps with dynamic turn indicators. The electrically operated boot features the new Skoda lettering. The reverse parking camera integrated in the boot gets a nifty washer to keep clean from the muck. The boot gets a massive 600 litres of space and for added practicaility it can be split into a 60:40 format. Overall, the design has its understated elegance and it will age well.
The interiors are a huge step up from the previous generation. It gets soft touch materials all around with generous use of leather on the door pads. The bottle holders in the doors also get felt lining. The beautiful leather and suede seats are very comfortable and they offer a host of electric adjustments including memory function and electric lumbar support. The Octavia features Skoda’s new two spoke steering wheel which might not be to everyone’s taste. The virtual cockpit instrument cluster has a whole host of customization options available and it provides all the important information for the driver. The dashboard again features a mix of soft touch materials with piano black inserts. It also gets 10 colour ambient lighting which uplifts the cabin at night. The centre console gets a lot of storage options thanks to the shift by wire leaver for selecting the gears. It frees up a lot of space like the big wireless charging pad ahead of it or the adjustable centre armrest. The 10 inch touchscreen infotainment system gets wireless android auto and apple carplay.
It comes paired with an excellent sounding Canton sound system which is the best in its class. Other features that the Octavia gets are heated wing mirrors, electronic parking brake with auto-hold, cruise control, dual zone climate control, USB c ports for the front and rear passengers, virtual boot release, front parking sensors, fatigue sensor, park assist and auto dimming IRVM. In terms of safety, you get ISOFIX, TPMS, Multi collision braking, ASR, MSR, TCS, ABS, EBD and 8 airbags. The rear seats are slightly low slung but there is ample knee room and leg room. Even 6 footers wont have any issues with the head room. You also get rear armrest with cupholders, touch sensitive LED lamps, rear A/C vents and sunshades for the windows and rear windshield. However, the huge hump in the middle means that the middle passenger wont be able to sit in the middle for too long.
The turbocharged 2 litre TSI engine churns out 190hp and 320nm of torque. It comes mated to the fantastic 7 speed DSG dual clutch automatic transmission. The engine is refined and you won’t hear any noise inside the cabin. The engine offers explosive performance with 0-100km/h coming up in just 8 seconds. There might be a slight lag lower down the rev range and that could be attributed to the DSG. However, once you’re past 3,000 rpm the engine pulls strongly all the way to the redline. The DSG gearbox offers lighting quick gear shifts and you also get a sports mode with paddle shifters if you want more fun. What’s more astonishing is the fuel efficiency that you get from the engine. You can extract around 11-12km/l in the city and 17km/l on the highway easily. This dual nature of the car is impressive and the kind of efficiency the engine delivers is commendable for its size and performance.
Ride and handling
The Octavia has gone a bit soft for this generation. It does retain its rear multi-link suspension however the suspension has been tuned a bit more towards comfort this time around. The car might have gone soft but it still retains its fun to drive nature. It remains sure footed and confident around corners. The stability is excellent too and the car feels solid at high speeds. The steering wheel has become a bit less communicative this time around. It does have a lack of feel in the centre and it doesn’t have the accuracy of the previous model. The ride quality has become more supple and it soaks up the bumps well. The NVH is under control too at highway speeds making it a comfortable cruiser. The Octavia has more family appeal this time around by looking at the way it has sacrificed a bit on the handling front.
The Skoda Octavia has lost some its key strengths like the excellent handling and the popular TDI diesel engine. But, that doesn’t make it worse than the previous iteration. It gets a whole host of technology which is easily the best in class, the 2.0 TSI engine is fun yet practical, its spacious and it continues to have its own charm in terms of design. It is also more family friendly with the new suspension tuning and NVH package which makes it more appealing. The only question remains is if you are ready to shell out ₹28.99 lakh rupees for this top end L&K variant. If you can overlook the premium pricing, the Octavia is one of the best sedans that you can buy in the market today.