While we did a comprehensive review of the Skoda 2.0 TDI DSG automatic earlier, we had not sampled the manual version of the 2.0 TDI and the 1.4 TSI variants. We had driven the new Octavia on the smooth and windy roads leading up to Shimla. This time, we wanted to test the two manual transmission cars on the excruciating Mumbai streets with slow moving traffic. Here’s our two pence on the manual transmission variants of the two cars
The new Octavia is inspired by the new, more angular and sporty Skoda design philosophy, and thus features straighter cuts and chiseled surfaces as compared to its predecessor, known as the Laura in our part of the world. The new model has also grown in terms of length, breadth and width and now looks like a car from a class above the segment it represents. Space, comfort and convenience have all gone up a notch with the new model.
There’s something amazing about the cars coming from an evolved manufacturer design wise. They have the brand’s identity stamped all over them – their lineage is simply unmistakable. It’s the same in the Octavia’s case too. The face of the car now looks different. It’s more aggressive and slashed out, and yet, manages to retain just the right number of typical Octavia design cues to stand out as a Skoda.
The angular headlights impart loads of purpose to the face of the car. Strong creases on the bonnet merging into the radiator grille lend the new Octavia a sense of brawn, power and athleticism. The slim, wide front central air-dam in the lower part of the bumper and the angular fog lamps add to the visually wide stance of the car.
The new Octavia is significantly longer, the rear windows are bigger, and the shape of the roofline also suggests more headroom for the rear occupants. The rear window on the new car also features a quarter-panel with a pronounced black cladding around the aft portion.
At the rear, the new Octavia has some resemblance with that of the smaller Rapid. The bumper is more angularly cut, and the boot appears to be taller. The familiar C motif on the tail-lights makes this car instantly recognizable as a Skoda from behind, even from a distance.
The new Octavia has a muscular feel and an aggressive air without crossing the boundary of elegance and good proportions.
Interior, space and equipment
Both the 1.4 TSI and 2.0 TDI variants are available only in the Ambition trim as their top variant which means that some premium features are not available in these variant. You do however save more than a fair bit of money for choosing these variants though.
The bigger dimensions of the car are evident inside the cabin as well. The interior is much airier and more spacious then the outgoing version. The premium looking fuselage is feature laden and built with quality materials. The dashboard, the switches and the materials are reminiscent of premium cars from German carmakers. The new Octavia also features a brand new four spoke multi function leather wrapped steering wheel which is tilt and telescopically adjustable.
Skoda have provided ample cubbyholes to makes sure you never run short of spaces to pop odds and ends in. There is a glares holder up front, along with a big storage space under the front central armrest. The door pockets have enough space to store big water bottles and there are cup-holders in the rear central armrest too. The armrest can be dropped completely to access the big boot directly from the back seat. The transmission tunnel does interfere with the leg-space of the fifth passenger in the backseat though. Also, the rear seat doesn’t have a head rest for the middle passenger.
The front seats are wide and comfortable, offering great back and lateral support over long journeys. At the rear, the leg and head room has increased substantially, placing the new Octavia somewhere between the Laura and the Superb space-wise. The boot space on offer is phenomenal to say the least. The car gets approximately 600 liters under its trunk, which can be expanded to a whopping 1600 liters by folding the rear seats. Adding to the convenience factor are the several hooks that the boot offers.
The Ambition trim for the manual versions has several features stricken off from the Elegance variant available only for the automatic variants. The car doesn’t get the daytime running lights. It also loses out on 4 airbags, featuring only two. It does, however have traction control, digital MID and a full feature audio system that sounds great. Air conditioning is manual, though back benchers get separate vents. Sunroof and Cruise Control are also missing.
While the 1.4 TSI Ambition may look a little faded in front of the better equipped Elegance trim, the fact remains that as a standalone product the Ambition trim is still fairly well equipped and should appeal to the value seekers.
The 2.0 TDI diesel in its new avatar boasts 3 more horses as compared to one on the outgoing Laura. This takes the power output of the diesel mill on the new car to a very respectable 141 bhp. Add to that 320Nm of torque and you have a really powerful car at hand.
While the Auto box handles the 2.0 liter diesel very aptly, making it a very convenient car to drive, the same could not be said about the manual version. The 2.0 TDI motor isn’t quite as linear as some of the other diesel engines out there. It starts building momentum post 1600 rpm, with the turbo spooling up fully and delivering its addictive kick only after 2000 rpm. This may make driving the manual transmission Octavia in slow moving city traffic a little tedious, as you’ll have to shift often. Inexperienced drivers may end up stalling the car as well.
The ARAI certified fuel efficiency figure for the 2.0 TDI manual is 20.6 kmpl– fantastic efficiency figures those, for such a big car.
1.4 TSI Petrol
The 1.4 TSI engine may appear to be a small motor, but it has enough and more punch to pull the Octavia reassuringly. The peak power output of 138 bhp is par with the class, and offers adequate performance. What impresses more is the 250Nm of torque from this turbocharged unit, endowing it with great mid-range punch and pulling power.
The engine is quiet at idle, but get noisier as the revs build up, a phenomenon which can be pleasant or annoying depending on the kind of driver you are. We quite liked the sound of the engine post 3500 rpm, and revved the spin-happy engine all the way up to its 6500 rpm redline to listen to the mechanical music. There is a mild turbo lag though, perceptible at lower revs. The engine gets into its element only post 2000 rpm, before which the mill could have done with a bit more grunt. Bumper to bumper, slow moving traffic does call for gearshifts. However, if you are in a mood to go fast, this engine will not disappoint with its punchy, rev-happy character.
The ARAI efficiency figure for the Octavia with 1.4 TSI motor is 16.8 kmpl
As a product, the new Octavia shines in its segment. Both the engines discussed above are more than capable of handling the weight of the big car with aplomb. We would have appreciated a bit more linear power delivery from both the units, but there’s nothing unmanageable here. The new Octavia looks grand, is very spacious and comfortable and is arguably the most desirable car in its segment.
While the Skoda Octavia, in its newest iteration has turned out more expensive than we expected, it’s with these variants that you could discover value.
Price as tested (Ex-showroom)
Skoda Octavia 1.4 TSI
Active : Rs 14 lakh
Ambition : 15 lakh
Skoda Octavia 2.0 TDI
Active : Rs 15.6 lakh
Ambition : Rs 16.6 lakh
Skoda Octavia Tech specs 2.0 TDI / 1.4 TSI
Displacement 1968 cc / 1395cc
Transmission 6 speed Auto DSG / 6 speed Manual
Max Power 141 bhp @ 4000 RPM / 138 bhp @ 4500 rpm
Max Torque 320 Nm @ 1750 RPM / 150 Nm @ 1500 rpm
Mileage (ARAI) 20.6 kmpl (Manual) / 16.8 kmpl
Skoda Octavia 1.4 TSI and 2.0 TDI image gallery