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Skoda Octavia Mild Hybrid 1.0 TSI e-TEC Style Review: It's A Comforting Car That's Generous And Thoughtful

The Cat A Octavia is a value proposition with true appeal.
James Wong
James Wong
31 May 2023
It’s very clear that Skoda has put in a lot more effort in focusing on customer needs.
What we like:
Build quality
Thoughtfulness in features
Interior and boot space
What we dislike:
Bring back physical buttons and we're good!

The default choice in the Volkswagen empire for a staple car seems to be a, well, a Volkswagen, and for the adventurous they may choose SEAT. Skoda might easily fade into the background for its industrious character, but the Octavia reminded me again why Skoda has a firm spot in people’s hearts.

In fact, in Cat A 1.0-litre guise, it is precisely the specification that sets off the Skoda in the best light. With a spacious interior that rivals cars at least one size above, as well as a super practical liftback that just makes the boot extremely usable, the Skoda really offers plenty in its class despite having a small engine.

Surprisingly, the 3-cylinder turbocharged motor does not feel lacking for daily duties. Only when you’re really in a rush do you wish the engine could give a bit more shove. It gives  ample 200 Nm of torque that peaks at 2,000-3,000rpm, so it almost feels diesel-like in nature. We’ve sampled this engine in various forms across the last few years and it rarely disappoints. It helps a lot now that with the mild hybrid system, the car restarts seamlessly unlike in a pure ICE setup where the roughness of the 3-pot can be felt.

When Skoda scored better in customer satisfaction surveys than some of its VAG peers, I used to wonder why. But I quickly realised the reasons. It’s very clear that Skoda has put in a lot more effort in focusing on customer needs. For example, the umbrella hidden inside the driver’s door is a lifesaver during those rainy days when I didn’t have a brolly with me. When stowed away, it is even designed to dry itself with air ventilating the space.

The decision to go for a liftback is the other hint. It means easier loading/unloading and a whole lot more usable space than a regular sedan. There are also plenty of boot hooks and clips to carry NTUC barang barang.

Jumping inside the car, while the Octavia adopts the new infotainment system from Volkswagen like in the Mk8 Golf, it is operated through mostly physical and tactile buttons and scroll knobs. There is also a row of quick access physical buttons to core functions. This is a huge boost for the user as it is so much easier to manage. It is not perfect, but it’s better than what Volkswagen has done. If you also notice, there are rubber nubs beneath cup holders to allow you to press down a bottle and open its cap with just one hand. Simply clever!

There is an amazing appeal that comes with the Octavia, not in a rash ‘I want one’ way, but as something that will be loyal and reliable. It gives off the impression of a car that can clock hundreds of thousands of kilometres throughout its lifetime faithfully. And each time you return to the car, you know it’s got your back.

Photos by New Gen Marketing


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