Skoda Octavia COMBI Style 1.5 TSI e-TEC Review
Combi For the People

Words and Photos by Clifford Chow
17 Jun 2021
 

With 150hp and 250Nm, the Octavia Combi makes light work even with a full load.

Just this week, Skoda launched a two-variant offensive, and this is not too long after their launch of their Scala and Kamiq B Segment sister cars. With the new 4th generation Octavia, Skoda has referenced all the good things that made the previous generation car great, and in our opinion, they have given us an even better car.

This time round, Skoda Singapore decided to bring in not only the sedan which we have just tested, but also the Combi version of the car. 

Styling-wise, Skoda’s new compact estate car shares a lot with its sedan sibling. From its front end, with its wider grille and slim one-piece headlamps, and even to how the tail lamps are styled. From the side, if you were to squint a little, you could probably catch a little bit of the Volkswagen Passat Variant in its design. Between both the sedan and the wagon, I actually think that the Combi is a prettier car, and for sure, more practical too… well it is a wagon after all.

While the Octavia sedan is available in two model variants, the Combi is only available in the higher-spec Style package…. Which means more trim, cooler wheels and more stuff inside.

Inside

Just like the sedan, the Combi has a 10” ‘Bolero’ infotainment system that dominates the dashboard. Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available, and there is a wireless mobile charger to keep your phone juiced up. Skoda boasts that their new infotainment system navigates with the ease of how a mobile phone works, which is true. Unfortunately, you will need some time to get used to the air-conditioning controls, which are buried within the interface. I like that Skoda has kept the menu buttons as physical piano key-styled ones arranged in a row under the screen. 

Overall, I feel that there is quite a lot of thought placed behind the design of the dashboard. This is split into an upper and lower half by a contrasting bar running across the dash, which is inspired by the car’s grille design. The soft fabric upper section of the dashboard is quite a unique touch, and it does add a slight premium-yet unpretentious feel to the interior. With the new car, there is now a 10.25” Virtual Cockpit, which is a pleasant touch, allowing for customisation of the drive data you would like to see on your instrument panel.

The fourth generation Octavia is also their first to feature a shift-by-wire gear selector, similar to the ones found in the new Volkswagen Golf, SEAT Leon and Audi A3. The pint-sized gear selector switch frees up space, making it easier for you to gain access to the mobile charger in-front of the assembly.

Like the sedan, there is plenty of storage space within the cabin, including door pockets, large enough for bottles, and within the front doors, Skoda’s signature self-draining umbrella compartments.

The main reason to choose a wagon over a sedan, is in its versatility. The Octavia Combi boasts the largest boot in its segment, with a 640 litre capacity (30 more liters than the previous Combi), and has an adjustable boot floor for greater flexibility. With the rear seats folded, the Octavia Combi can swallow up to 1,700 litres. Added conveniences like an automatic retracting cargo cover, rear seat release levers located in the cargo area, and a Virtual Pedal boot door release, are designed to make loading an easier exercise. The Combi is also equipped with a set of silver roof rails as standard, for added cargo carrying capabilities.

The Drive

The 1.5 litre TSI engine that the new Octavia is equipped with, gets additional help from a mild hybrid drive system. This same powertrain and 7-speed DSG combo can be found in the likes of the Volkswagen Golf, SEAT Leon and Audi A3, and sans the hybrid system in both the Skoda Scala hatchback, Kamiq SUV and SEAT Ibiza FR.

With 150hp and 250Nm, the Octavia Combi makes light work even with a full load. The mild-hybrid system assists in taking off, significantly reducing the lag you would experience from even a light-pressure turbocharged engine, and reduces fuel potentially consumed. Apart from good pick-up in city traffic, the Octavia performs quite excellently on the highway, with plenty of low to mid-range grunt, which is great when merging with faster moving traffic. 

With the suspension tuned to deliver a comfortable ride, it is no surprise that the Octavia Combi irons out most of what comes its way. There is slightly more noise intruding into the interior, compared to the sedan. The difference is extremely subtle, and you will not notice it unless you hop between the two cars. That said, the added noise is not even close to being a deal breaker. Overall, the Octavia Combi is quite a silent performer, and even with its simple suspension setup, handling is better than what I would have expected. The Czech estate car bites without protest into most corners. But you can tell quickly that this is no VW Golf.

One of the key features in the new Octavia which impresses, is how effortlessly the car glides over long stretches of highway in ‘ECO’ drive mode. The 1.5 litre is also capable of deactivating cylinders two and three while cruising, further reducing the amount of fuel consumed. Skoda claims that the fuel consumption for the Octavia Combi is 20.8km/l, I did manage around 20 flat, which is very good.

The Octavia Combi receives all the same safety equipment as the ‘Style’ trim Octavia Sedan we also tested within the same duration. This includes 7 airbags, a rear-view camera, Side Assist with Rear Traffic Alert. Additionally buyers of the Combi will enjoy Adaptive Cruise Control, which also means that the Combi is equipped with Front Assist with City Emergency Brake, which adds a whole extra layer of active protection.

Our Thoughts

If you are looking for added versatility, and dislike going down the SUV route, the Skoda Octavia Combi offers a stylish alternative, and it is very well equipped too.

In Summary

We Like

Performance. Fuel economy. Superb ride quality. Overall attractive styling. Excellent versatility.   

We Don't

Pricy due to the Category B COE. Air-Conditioning controls buried within the infotainment makes adjusting difficult.

Verdict

If I could pick just one compact family car for all of the family, including the dog...

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Engine

Engine Capacity 1498cc
Engine Type Inline 4
Power 148bhp @ 5000rpm
Torque 250Nm @ 1500rpm

Performance

Acceleration 8.6s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 230 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 20.8 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 7 -speed DSG
Drive Type FF
Steering Electric

Measurements

Body Type Wagon
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(5689 x 1829 x 1468) mm
Wheelbase 2686 mm
Turning Circle 10.4 metres
Boot Capacity 640 L
Boot Capacity (folded) 1700 L
Fuel Tank Capacity 45 L

Brakes

Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs