Now, this model has changed significantly; not only to maximise its own potential but also to make space for nother car in the firm’s line-up.The Rapid is now the compact family hatchback of the range, leaving the Octavia with a bigger body and, inevitably, a higher price to prevent it from clashing with its sibling
The Skoda Octavia carries a minimalistic design that comes with a blend of premium appeal and sportiness. The front fascia carries an aggressive look and the facelifted model here comes with a new set of LED headlamps which have a love it or hate it design, while the new grille adds some flair to the styling. You also get restyled bumpers and revised LED tail-lamps. To complete the package, the alloy wheels have also been given a new design now. The grey colour that you see here is also new and looks quite good in flesh.
The new Octavia’s cabin is clinical, clean and very German. The amount of space available also hits you immediately when you step in. A cream-beige and grey interior colour theme is pleasing to the eye and also gives it an airy feel, though there is no dearth of light streaming in.
Fit and finish quality and the material quality is perfectly matched to the best in the segment and there is a general feeling of solidity to the cabin, except the faux wood trim in the centre console, which felt that too faux. The controls and knobs are all within easy reach for the driver and there was enough electrical and manual adjustability to the seats and steering for me to get the most comfortable driving position.
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION
The car remains identical to the outgoing version mechanically, except for the wider rear track as mentioned earlier. Powertrain options remain the same and you can choose from the same 1.4-litre petrol, 1.8-litre petrol and 2.0-litre diesel engine options. We drove the 2.0-litre diesel version which offers 143PS of power and the 1.8-litre TSI petrol engined version that offers 180PS.
The diesel motor feels as smooth as ever and offers brisk acceleration along with excellent throttle response. The engine is a tad noisy though, with the clatter typical of diesel engines. It comes mated to a 6-speed DSG automatic gearbox as before. The 1.8-litre petrol version has always been the better driver’s car and is a hoot to drive with its performance and the responses from the 7-speed DSG transmission.
The abundance of space and plush ride quality are the highlights of the Octavia as before, with the latter not compromising handling or driving pleasure. The steering offers good feel and feedback too, while feeling perfectly weighted, which adds to the joy of driving the car. While the diesel version is a good handler no doubt, the petrol version handles even better, thanks to its independent rear suspension that also offers a slightly better ride.
RIDE AND HANDLING
The handling ability has come at a slight cost which is that the ride quality on this facelifted Octavia has been setup to be on the stiffer side, but in a way that isn’t back or deal breaking. Instead what you get is an assured clunk and a setup that will settle down quickly if you push the car through imperfections, pot holes and bumps.
This car is good in safety as well you can get up to 9 airbags in the top end variant. You get ABS with EBD, Brake Assist, Anti Slip Regulation (ASR), electronic stability control and tyre pressure monitoring. There is also a feature called Multi Collision Braking which essentially continues braking even after a collision thereby reducing chances of colliding with other obstacles.
Overall, the facelifted Skoda Octavia builds on the strong points of the earlier model and wraps them in a package that is even neater and more modern than before. The subtle exterior changes work well and lend the Octavia lot of character than before. Buyers will also appreciate the extra bit of kit that has been added to car. The fact that it is very practical just adds to the package. Overall the upgraded Octavia is an exceptional product and a car that is easy to recommend. Its blend of luxury, space, comfort and performance at this price point is hard to match. Now with a four year warranty and an optional Rs 39,999 maintenance package (takes care of your regular service for four years) the Octavia has become a relatively safe buy too.