Quick Review: New Skoda Octavia 1.4 TSI Ambition

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Regulars here would remember that we have been reporting in detail about the soon-to-be-launched new Skoda Octavia. As we have been saying, the new Octavia will be launched in India in as many as three engine variants. Power options for the car include-

  • The internationally acclaimed 1.4 litre TSI Petrol engine
  • The 1.8 TSi Petrol engine from the Laura
  • The 2.0 TDi Diesel engine, again from the Laura

While the 2.0 TDi powered diesel variant is sure to be responsible for the major chunk of sales and the 1.8 TSi would impress driving enthusiasts and car aficionados across the country, the 1.4 TSi, which will be the entry level engine option, should appeal to those who neither have high running to justify buying the diesel variant nor wish to play the boy racer with the 1.8 TSi.

We also drove the Skoda Octavia 1.4 TSi back when we tested the diesel variant (Click here to read about the new Skoda Octavia Elegance 2.0 TDi DSG). If you read our Octavia Diesel first drive impression, you would know about the great things we have to say about the upcoming oil burning Octy. Now, the question that would come to your mind is if the 1.4 TSi petrol engine equipped Octavia is as impressive as the diesel variant.

Read On to find your answers

Design

As we said earlier, we can go on talking in great length about the new car’s styling. However, here is a really brief summary of the 2013 Skoda Octavia’s styling.

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Urbane, contemporary and chic are the words that best describe the car’s front end. It is worth mentioning here that while the car’s front fascia manages to look as fresh as that of any mid-size European sedan, the car retains traditional Octavia design cues such as rectangular headlamps and centrally located hump on the hood.

The headlights are angled slightly upwards at their terminal ends. It may be noted that the 1.4 TSi can’t be bought with the DRLs, which help with imparting the car’s front end a slightly aggressive look. Nonetheless, the car’s front fascia has got a sense of ‘premium-ness’ to it. Also helping with matters is a well defined crease flanking the headlights and running right into the front bumper. The design cues from VisionD Concept can be found in abundance on the bumper of the car. The slim central air-dam and the angular fog lamp housings have been directly lifted from the much publicized concept.

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When viewed from side, the car manages to look pretty loo……ong, which isn’t at all a bad thing. Compared to the last gen Octavia (aka Laura), the rear windows have definitely grown in surface area. The rear window on the new car also features a quarter panel with a pronounced black cladding around the aft portion. A set of ten spoke alloy wheels make the car look all the more stylish.
Rear is where the car has got the minimal drama.

The rear of the new Octavia has striking resemblance with that of the smaller Rapid sedan. When compared to the outgoing model, the new Octavia’s bumper is more angularly cut out and the boot seems to be taller than before.

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The C-Motif in the tail-lamps, which has been carried forward since the 2006 Roomster (some trivia there), shouts Skoda and further help the car with boasting of a familiar look.
Summing it up, the exterior of the new Octavia looks athletic and very classy. On the same time, it has this understated sense of purpose that the Octy has always been famous for. We love it!

There is no denying that the interiors of the new Octavia are as contemporary as the exteriors. The Octavia’s dashboard design is typical of most entry level German luxury sedans and the liberal usage of soft touch plastics further elevates the richness. The new Octavia gets a classy four spoke steering wheel which comes draped in leather and sports the new Skoda logo.
Without beating around the bush, it can be said that the interiors of the new Octavia are very pleasant on the eye and manage to impart a hint of clinical precision that some bigger and pricier German limos are known for.

The flipside? Well, you might be a tad disappointed had you been wishing Honda Civic like flamboyance. (Tell you what, we weren’t)

Motoroids Rating: 4/5

Go to next page to read about Space and Equipment

Space and Equipment

The Octavia has surely grown in size and all this increase in length translates into only one thing- increased cabin space. This increase in length is thanks to the MQB platform, which endows the Octy with a longer wheelbase. Hence, it is only logical that the passengers of the new gen car enjoy more space to stretch their legs.

The front seats offer almost an acre of leg space and only the most heavily built and tallest of gentlemen might complain about the space on offer. At the rear, the passenger enjoys almost ‘Superb-like’ leg-space, along with sufficient elbowroom and headroom.

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It is only when the front seat is pulled completely backward that a rear passenger (with a height of more than 5’8″) might get somewhat uncomfortable.

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The car comes with several cubby holes and storage spaces, which range from everything from a sunglasses holder in front to sufficiently deep door pockets to hold water bottles at the back.

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The boot space on offer is phenomenal to say the least. The car gets approximately 600 litres of boot space, which can be bumped upto a whopping 1600 litres (approx.) by folding the rear seat. Adding to the convenience factor are the several hooks that the boot offers.

The 1.4 TSi won’t be offered with the top-of-the-line Elegance trim level, which brings along enough bells and whistles to put to shame some of the cars from a segment above. The Ambition level misses out on the sunroof, a Bolero audio player (instead gets a Skoda branded touchscreen system) and electric seat (with memory) for the driver, et al. However, it does come with enough equipment to be at par with most of the D Segment offerings out there.

Talking about the shortcomings, the transmission tunnel is pretty high and the fifth passenger might find himself/herself wanting to replace seats with other passengers. Also, the rear seat doesn’t offer a headrest for the middle passenger; definitely no deal breaker but the availability of this feature on some sedans from several segments lower makes us want to mention about its absence on the new Octy.

Motoroids Rating: 4/5

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Engine

The 1.4TSi Petrol engine makes 140PS for the new Octy and comes mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. This engine has a peak torque of 250Nm, while the fuel economy is being claimed to be 16.8kmpl.

This engine comes into life only around 2000 RPM, once the turbo has spooled up and has provided the kick you’ve been waiting for. Anything below that and it is like testing you patience levels, with the car being somewhat lethargic in the way it performs. The Skoda Octavia 1.4 TSi, like most turbocharged petrol cars out there, makes you learn/want to learn to stay in the powerband. Talking about the powerband, the 1.4 TSi offers a meaty performance between 2000RPM and 3600RPM. Anything above or below it and you are left wanting for more juice. The 6 speed manual box offers slick and precise throws, which is a relief considering that you might need to shift pretty often to stay in the powerband. Talking about the NVH levels, the cabin is well isolated from the wind noise and the vibrations coming from the engine. However, the motor does become pretty vocal when whipped. Not that we are complaining for we thoroughly enjoyed the turbocharged petrol engine’s sweet sound note.

The ARAI certified fuel efficiency figure for the 1.4 TSI is 16,8 kmpl. Easily expect 11-12 kmpl under normal driving conditions. Not bad considering the size of the car, no?

Motoroids Rating: 3.5/5

Go to next page to read about the Ride and Handling

Ride and Handling

We drove the new car on varied terrains, ranging from well paved 6 lane streets of Chandigarh to broken and narrow roads of small towns/villages of Himachal Pradesh.

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The Octavia boasts of great ride quality on most roads and only the biggest of undulations on the beaten tarmac unsettle the car. However, just when we were about to term the ride quality as exemplary, we decided to take the car to the broken roads for a high speed drive. What ensued was a lot of clatter from the suspension and a really unhappy rear passenger. While the front passengers emerged fresh out of the car even with some fast driving on broken roads, the rear passenger had less nice things to say and kept complaining about the discomfort he suffered for the rest of the day.

It won’t be wrong to say that our little adventure brought out a glaring fact about the Octavia’s ride quality, especially at the rear. We do understand that none of the new Octy owners might ever decide to play the boy racer on broken hilly roads but it is pretty surprising to note how the Octavia, which offers a plush ride on most surfaces, sings a different tune when the going gets tough.

Handling is where the Octavia excels and we surely had a fabulous time pushing the car in the corners of Chandigarh-Shimla highway. True, the Octavia is no Mazda Miata in the corners but we really can’t think of any D segment family sedan that has been as much fun in on a hilly road. The car’s steering, even though an EPS unit, has just the right amount of weight at high speeds and is as precise as a Swiss watch. We really can’t stop marvelling over how the really accurate steering and well controlled body balance make a mockery out of the most challenging of the corners.

Motoroids Rating: 4.5/5

Go to next page to get to read our Verdict

Overall

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The entry level petrol variant that we drove has good chances of finding a fair bit of takers and hence, the 1.4 TSi engine variant has quite a task up ahead. We feel that the new Skoda Octavia 1.4 TSi would be responsible for bringing many new customers to Skoda India. The Skoda Octavia 1.4 TSi Ambition could be launched at an ex-showroom price of about INR 13.5 Lakhs in Maharashtra and such a price would really make the fully loaded entry level engine variant quite a value for money proposition, what with it being considerably loaded, along with boasting of good dynamics and the brand image that Skoda cars enjoy in India?

True, the 1.4 litre TSi engine that powers the entry level Skoda Octavia would be difficult to tame for those who are used to high-torque normally aspirated petrol engines (read: Yours Truly). However, the drivers of last gen Swift/Dzire Diesel won’t feel really out of the place behind the wheel of the Skoda Octavia 1.4 TSi. Ultimately, it is all about getting used to and there really is no reason for you to shy away from the entry level engine variant of the upcoming 2013 Skoda Octavia.

We believe that Skoda India has another winner in their hands and don’t be surprised if the new Octavia repeats the success story of the 5th gen model.

Motoroids Rating: 4/5

Go to next page for more pics of the new Skoda Octavia

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