Car ReviewsFirst Drive

Skoda Octavia 110TDI review

Isaac Bober’s Skoda Octavia 110TDI Wagon review with pricing, specs, ride and handling, safety and verdict.

In a nutshell The new third-generation Skoda Octavia is bigger than its predecessor and just as practical as ever with a range of engines to suit all tastes.

Practical Motoring says By making the new Octavia bigger to make way for the smaller Rapid, Skoda have broadened the appeal of the Octavia, making it more practical than a Golf, and at similar prices, indeed it’s almost as big now as a Volkswagen Passat. Well built and with quality materials used inside, the new Octavia should absolutely be on your list if you’re on the hunt for a new family car.

Skoda’s success around the world has, if you’ll pardon the pun, been driven by the Skoda Octavia – more than 3.7 million of them have been sold globally since the model’s launch back in 1996.

And this new version (third-generation) has changed again, to build on its own success and appeal as an alternative to, say, a Mazda6, but also to make room in the line-up for new family member, the Skoda Rapid which is the new compact in the range. And that means, the new Skoda Octavia is bigger to prevent any clashes.

The Octavia now sits, in terms of size, part way between the Rapid and the Superb. And, to ensure maximum appeal it’s available in both sedan and wagon (we’re testing the Octavia Elegance 110TDI wagon) forms, with three engines available.

Skoda Octavia gets a new badge and grille

And the three engines are: a 1.2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine producing 103kW and 250Nm of torque (from 1500-3500rpm), which can be had with either a six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG, fuel consumption is 5.2L/100km; the most-powerful engine in the non-RS Octavia range is the 1.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine producing 132kW and 250Nm (from 1250-5000rpm), this is only available with a seven-speed DSG, and fuel consumption is 5.9L/100km. The 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine (in the vehicle we’re testing) produces 110kW and 320Nm (between 1750-3000rpm), this is mated to a six-speed DSG and consumes just 4.9L/100km.

Behind the wheel and the Octavia’s new interior is an example of simple elegance. There’s soft-touch, good-quality plastic throughout the spacious interior and the controls are all very clear and easy to use, although the multi-media unit can take a moment or two to get your head around when syncing an iPhone via a USB cable, it seems to prefer Bluetooth audio streaming. I was driving the Elegance model which adds goodies like intelligent park assist, lane assist and keyless entry and start.

Skoda Octavia 110TDI Elegance interior

The Octavia sits on the Volkswagen Group’s flexible ‘MQB’ modular platform, which underpins a number of new VW Group models and will do for a good many years more. As testament to its flexibility, the VW Golf sits on the MQB platform yet the new Octavia is 50mm longer (wheelbase) than that vehicle and 108mm longer (wheelbase) than its predecessor.

That extra length in the wheelbase adds up to an extra 90mm of interior length, 45mm of width and that’s basically all benefitted rear seat passengers who now get an extra 73mm of knee room, 16mm more headroom (which totals an impressive 980mm), and 26mm more elbow room. All of this extra room is excellent news for families, because it means there’s now even more room for two child seats across the back (an adult can still sit in the middle rear seat).

Rear seats in the Skoda Octavia Elegance

Boot space in the wagon, with the seats up, is 588 litres (568 litres in the sedan), growing to 1718 litres (in the wagon), and with one of the lowest bootlips in its class (just 980mm), loading and unloading the Octavia is a cinch – and the reversible boot mat (non-slip rubber on one side and automotive carpet on the other) is genius. The one minor irritation is that the rear seats don’t fold completely flat.

As mentioned earlier, our test model carries the 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine and it combines thrift at the bowser (4.9L/100km, although in our week of driving, covering more than 700km of town and country we averaged 5.8L/100km) and decent oomph, with 320Nm from 1750-3000rpm. So, if you’re not going to be covering huge distances (remembering that diesel engines are at their most efficient once they’ve warmed up and stop-start city traffic and short distance can often negate their consumption advantage over a petrol engine), you might be best off looking at one of the smaller-engined petrol models.

While there’s been plenty of talk and the odd recall or two, the six-speed DSG in the Octavia is both smooth and excellent at getting the most from the engine without ever over-working it.

The Skoda Octavia offers excellent driving dynamics

The Octavia behaves just as you’d expect a family car to handle, with precision and comfort. The steering is accurate, well-weighted and solid on-centre at highway speeds. Across broken surfaces, like road works, and there are about 20-odd kilometres of them on my daily commute, the Octavia offers excellent insulation, and it’s almost faultless across smoother roads.

Safety-wise, the Skoda Octavia receives a five-star ANCAP crash safety rating and numerous active and passive safety inclusions, like multi-collision brake which is a component of the ESC and standard across the range, it works to slow the vehicle (to a residual speed of 10km/h) after a detected collision even if the driver doesn’t have their foot on the brake pedal. There are also elements like Front Assist which is designed to constantly monitor the distance between it and the car/obstacle in front warning and then braking the vehicle if the driver takes no action. The Elegance model we’re testing (Ambition Plus, too) offers Passenger Protect Assist which, depending on the detected risk, will tighten the seat belts for driver and passenger, close the sunroof and side windows to keep objects from entering the car. There are Isofix points in the back with top-tether mounts as well, with up to nine airbags available depending on the model and spec.

The new Octavia is well equipped with one-touch up and down windows, Bluetooth with audio streaming and climate control. The Elegance 110TDI (from $36,840+ORC – the wagon is a $1350 premium over the sedan) we’re driving adds things like leather, dual-zone climate control with humidity sensor, rain-sensing wipers, front and rear parking sensors and stop-start with brake energy recuperation, front fog lights with cornering function, privacy glass and more.

The arrival of the new Octavia has also seen Skoda offer capped price servicing for six years or 90,000km, whichever comes first, from $2044 (1.4L petrol) over 90,000km or six years, to $2397 (1.8L petrol) to $2464 (for the 2.0L diesel).

Skoda Octavia 110TDI Elegance Wagon

PRICE From $36,840 (+ORC) WARRANTY three-years, unlimited kilometres (cost-option for an additional two years) SAFETY five-star ANCAP ENGINE 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel POWER/TORQUE 110kW/320Nm TRANSMISSION six-speed DSG BODY 4659mm (L); 1814mm (W) WEIGHT 1397kg THRIST 4.9L/100km


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Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober