Skoda Octavia: The Legend Returns
“Once a legend always a legend” might prove to be an apt way of describing this car which created its own cult status 12 years ago. Iconic, pioneering and the ultimate statement in its time, the Octavia not only marked Skoda’s presence in India but also marked the birth of a new segment.
The Czech car maker succeeded in selling 44,900 units between November 2001 and October 2010. Its strong build quality paired with the ultimate comfort introduced the tag of premium sedans in India. The Octavia created its own niche with a new approach. It is still responsible for Skoda’s premium image in India as many vouch by it.
The 2013 version of the Octavia is a very important model for Skoda on many counts. It revives the Octavia brand and thus will try and live up to the legacy left behind by the earlier generation. It also marks Skoda’s strong presence in the premium D segment. With ambitious plans and a legendary status to back it up, Skoda Octavia rolls on Indian streets soon. We find out more on it in our first impression report.
At Skoda, designs are more about strong visual appeal without loud elements. Consider any Skoda car and that’s the essence in the design. These cars won’t blend in with the new age design characteristics of peers but then they stand out cause of their unique design style.
If 12 years back, it was a benchmark the new one has it all to carry the legacy forward. It looks truly international with its styling. The new Octavia has got bigger in dimensions and sophisticated in nature. The radiator grille has a chrome outline and fits the vertical blinds neatly inside.
The headlamps too have their own lines and creases and this time get a host of detailing with the Bi-Xenon headlights with dynamic levelling. The lower spec Active and Ambition variants get halogen lights with manual leveling. They also miss on the amazing LED daytime running lamps which come only on the Elegance variant.The strong mid rib which flows along the bonnet highlights the Skoda logo.
When seen along its length, except for the increase in the overall length there is nothing to elaborate on. The Active variant gets Velorum alloys while Ambition and Elegance both get Minoris 16 inch alloys. Also, all three variants gets turn indicators embedded in them with body colored door handles.
The rear profile clearly is reminiscent of the Skoda Rapid. The signature C shaped tail lamps and the envelope crease on the tail door have now become familiar with all Skoda sedans. The Octavia fonts have also changed from its earlier generation and look crisper now.
The new Octavia is not about design only but it is inclusive of all the changes done. The sophisticated design line may attract a certain group of people but then for the drama seekers, it has to be the Hyundai Elantra which looks stunning with its fluidic architecture.
In sync with the new generation, the new Octavia pulls off great quality and stylish interiors. Since the new generation model has undergone considerable changes outside the cabin space inside has been increased too. The interiors have been improved considerably.
Among the three trims, the Active gets fabric seats while the Ambition and Elegance trims gets seats finished in leather. Skoda claims that no other car in the segment offers as much space as the new Octavia for the rear passengers. The beige interiors compliment really well with the ebony black plastics.
The Elegance variant offers comfort rich features like 12 way electrically adjustable driver seat with auto memory function. This variant also offers front passenger height adjustment as well as lumbar support for driver’s seat adjustment. The seat angle adjustment in other variants is a pain with a rotary knob arrangement that is quite inconvenient.
Front row seats are comfortable with sufficient cushioning and support. Tall passengers might feel a little cramped especially with the congested knee room. The reason for this is the tall central console. Thankfully all the variants get height and length adjustable armrests which comes in handy on long journeys. Rear passengers might have to compensate on comfort too because of the seats which are upright. However, the legroom here is generous at 73mm. Even the headroom, kneeroom and the elbow width has been increased making it a roomier cabin in its segment.
Ambition and Elegance get s a touch screen entertainment system with a 5.8 inch LCD TFT color display. The base variant only offers a standard swing audio player with USB and auxiliary plugin options while the other variants get additional support in the form of SD card reader, Media-in input for USB and iPod connectivity. Every variant gets 8 speakers with steering mounted controls on the top two. Entertainment system performs decently. The touch screen system is a very sensitive unit with automatic dimming and brightening options as the user closes in. It is very convenient to use. The music playback quality is also very good.
Air conditioning in Skoda cars have always impressed me and so did the one in the Octavia. It is equipped with the latest gizmos in the automatic climate controls. Even the rear passengers get their individual cooling with the rear AC vents. The AC unit is effective and in the higher variants, there is also an option of dual zone air conditioning.
The storage facilities are extremely simple and cleverly contrived. There is a storage compartment under the front passenger seat. The rear seat gets an armrest with adjustable cup holders. Even the one under the front armrest is very generous. The front doors can hold upto a litre class of bottles while the rear doors can too hold one. Thanks to the notchback arrangement, the luggage capacity is 590 litres which goes to 1580 litres when the rear seats are collapsed.
With a new exterior design and improved interiors, the Octavia already is on its way to become a competitive offering in the D segment. It also gets a new heart which the company claims to be a great combination of performance and economy.
The range starts from a 1.4TSI petrol engine to a more rev friendly 1.8TSI petrol engine followed by a meaty torque spitting 2.0TDI diesel engine. The 1.8 TSI comes with an automatic transmission while the 2.0TDI gets an optional automatic transmission.
We were invited at Parwanoo Chandigarh to drive the all new Octavia. For the ones who have been here might be aware of the twisty roads this place has. If the twisty roads are not enough, the insane driving style of the locals here proves to be a bigger challenge to get used to.
The manual 2.0 TDI was our first ride. The 1968cc turbocharged DOHC diesel engine is capable of producing a power output of 143 PS and a torque of 320Nm. To begin with the engine remains as noisy as it was but then on the flip side, the engine seems to surprise all with its low end performance.
Slip the gear to first and the rev needle travels fast which is at the same pace with the speedometer meaning the torque kicks in at close to 1600 rpm and stays strong before descending from the peak of 3000 rpm. The gear shifts are seamless for a diesel unit. The only disappointing bit is when it’s shifted on to the 3rd when the engine feels too low on power delivery.
If it is a pedal to the metal type of driving you enjoy, this is the engine which would make you happy. Once we were done doing our sane driving and getting the optimum mileage out, we shifted back to our performance way of driving. Since the roads were winding we were not able to reach great speeds but instead got a fantastic opportunity to test its mid range and low range performance.
The engine remains very juicy when on 1st and 2nd gears while it drops on the hauling potential post 3rd gear. If there is one thing which impressed me to the maximum it has to be the handling of this vehicle which is phenomenal. In fact it gives you the confidence to throw it around the corners at great speeds. The combine actions of the Electronic Stability control and the Electronic Differential lock make it more challenging.
It was amazing to see the Octavia take on hard roads with its suspension setting which were keener to swing on the softer side. We were driving the Octavia on roads and in a way no Octavia customer will ever drive. The Octavia delivered fantastic results with its great drive quality.
The automatic diesel on the other hand makes the drive less interesting. The brains of the DSG spoil the brute appeal of the manual shift and instead the automatic box has a certain lag which is felt greatly in the initial engine speeds. When the specifications were read, it said DSG with Tiptronic manual gear changing and I had dreams of playing with paddles but NO!! One has to change gears by playing with the same auto stick. Why Skoda?...why?
We didn’t get an opportunity to drive the other 2 engines and hope to do a detailed review on them on our website soon. The real time mileage that we recorded was close to 15 kmpl. Skoda Auto claims a mileage of 20.6 Kmpl for the manual and 19.3Kmpl for the automatic 2.0 TDI.
|Engine Type||1.4TSI/103KW||1.8TSI/118KW(A)||2.0 TDI CR 105KW|
|Engine Displacement (cc)||1395||1798||1968|
|Power in PS/RPM||140/4500-6000||180/5100-6200||143/4000|
|Torque in Nm/RPM||250/1500-3500||250/1250-5000||320/1750-3000|
|Dimensions in mm|
|Fuel Tank capacity in Liters||50||50||50|
|Alloy wheels 16"Velorum||NO||No||Single|
|Alloy wheels 16"Minoris||NO||No||Yes|
|Wood design décor on interior panels||NO||Yes||Yes|
|Silver design décor on Interior panels||Yes||No||No|
|Ivory colour upholstery||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Bi Xenon Headlights||NO||No||Yes|
|Adoptive Front Light System||NO||No||Yes|
|LED Daytime running lights||NO||No||Yes|
|Halogen Daytime running lights||NO||Yes||No|
|Front Fog lights||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|ABS and EBD||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Dual front Airbags||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Side airbags at front||NO||No||Yes|
|Curtain airbgas at front and rear||NO||No||Yes|
|Panaromic Electric sunroof||NO||No||Yes|
|Skoda Audio player with touch screen control||NO||Yes||Yes|
|Audio control on steering wheel||NO||No||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Power in PS/RPM||140/6000||166/3800||128/4000|
|Torque in Nm/RPM||250/2500||380/2000||260/1900-2750|
|Tyre Size||205/55/R16||205/60 R16||205/60 R16|
|Fuel Tank in Liters||50||60||56|
|Mileage in KMPL||16.8||17.6||17|
|Bi Xenon Headlights||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Adoptive Front Light System||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Front Fog lights||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|ABS and EBD||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Dual front Airbags||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Side airbags at front||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Curtain airbgas at front and rear||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Panaromic Electric sunroof||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Audio player with touch screen control||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Audio control on steering wheel||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|ABS with EBD||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Ex showroom price Mumbai||NA||15,80,638||14,61,988|
The new Skoda has gone through a major transformation in its attempt to regain its position in India. Skoda cars have always been fantastically engineered vehicles. Be it the quality of finish, interior comfort or the engine performance, Skoda vehicles have scored strongly on all aspects.
Skoda sadly faced severe negative criticism for its post sales experience. Few unfortunate experiences have spread a negative vibe and many feel skeptical before buying a Skoda. Unfortunately, the brand seems to have suffered a very strong setback because of the negative post sales image.
Skoda India now assures that it has learnt from its past episodes and looks forward to serves consumers in a better way. The new Octavia brings in lots of new things like the MQB architecture on which it is based on. It not only helps developing cars on the same platform in an efficient manner but also concentrate on individualistic characters like weight reduction of engines and gearboxes which in turn helps reduce fuel consumption.
Its contemporary European styling will sweep many if not all. The design offers sophistication and class combined together in style. Its spacious interiors with plush fabric and leather upholstery are a welcome change. The variety of engine options which caters to all needs ranging from the fuel conscious to the performance friendly. The 1.8 TSI will also makes its way to the Octavia RS which is expected early next year and hopefully it will have paddles to play around.
Skoda India has finally decided to launch the all new Octavia on 3rd October where its prices would be announced. So who does the Legend plan to compete against? The Diesel rocket Chevrolet Cruze which is known for its design and performance and comes at a price range of Rs 14.5 lakhs to Rs. 16.8 lakhs (Ex-Showroom Mumbai).
The Volkswagen Jetta which ranges from Rs.14 Lakhs to Rs.19 Lakhs (Ex-Showroom Delhi). The Octavia will be more expensive than the Jetta for obvious reasons so one can expect the prices to be very close to that of Jetta. The Jetta does not have the 1.8 TSI which the new Octavia offers but then rest of the engines are very similar in statistics.
One more contender to this will be the Hyundai Elantra which people go weak with its fluidic design. It lies in the price range of Rs.13.3 lakhs to 16.83 lakhs (Ex-Showroom Mumbai) and offers petrol, petrol automatic and a diesel engine as powertrain options.
All speculations end on 3rd October 2013 when the final prices are out. We hope the Legend returns in style and the completion are not left with any other option but to bow down.