Skoda Octavia Style 1.5 TSI e-TEC Review
On A Higher Octave

Words and Photos by Clifford Chow
17 Jun 2021
 

The Octavia’s strong comeback makes this one of the best compact sedan offerings currently available...

When Skoda made a comeback to Singapore just a few short years ago, one car left the biggest mark with buyers initially. The Skoda Octavia quickly became a popular choice among buyers who were looking for a practical and spacious compact sedan for the family.

The Octavia’s popularity simply boiled down to a simple and successful formula that includes heaps of space for both front and rear passengers, class-leading cargo space, and where it matters most, touchpoints that remind you of a car which is well-built.

Just this week, the Czech automobile manufacturer launched both body styles of the all-new Octavia, the sedan and the wagon (Combi), and very quickly, we can tell that the very same simple and successful formula stays true to their newly-minted Octavia.

The fourth generation Octavia does a fine job in carrying through Skoda’s current design language, with its large grille, seen earlier with their Scala, that fills in the front end, and sleeker headlamps, now with a less fussy single lens design. The rear sports sharper styling, complemented by pronounced taill light sculpting. 

Along the side of the car, those who are familiar with the brand will notice that the window, including its chrome surround, apes their award-winning Superb flagship sedan.

Inside

The first feature that you would probably notice in the new Octavia is the large free standing infotainment screen. The Style variant is equipped with a 10” screen, fronting a premium ‘Bolero’ infotainment unit, while the base Ambition model gets a smaller 8” screen ‘Swing’ system. Our test car, with the upmarket infotainment unit is easier to navigate, since it is also equipped with gesture recognition, allowing you to swipe easily through the menu. All Octavia infotainment units are compatible with Apple and Android devices, and have a wireless mobile charger as standard. 

In cleaning up the dashboard, Skoda has also removed the physical air-conditioning controls as seen on the previous car, and they have instead buried these virtually within the infotainment unit, meaning that adjusting the climate control will take time for you to get used to. While the air-conditioning toggles have been moved into the infotainment, I like that Skoda has made it a point to keep physical infotainment menu buttons just below the screen for easier navigation. 

The Virtual Cockpit now sports a 10,25” screen, which is customisable, and users can decide what infotainment they wish to have displayed, by toggling the multifunction steering wheel.

The multi-level dash has a more premium feel, and is split by a colour contrasting bar, inspired by the car’s grille. Soft-touch fabric, which is to me, one of my favourite bits of the Octavia, lines the upper section of the dashboard. Skoda has also kept their air-conditioning vent design clean, by integrating the vent closing mechanism with the louver.

With a smaller shift-by-wire gear shift lever, better organisation of space is just one of the small things you will appreciate with your experience with the Octavia. The simple design change means that it is easier to drop and remove your phone from the wireless charging dock, without hitting the gearshift lever. 

Those who spend plenty of time in their cars will enjoy the comfort and support the shaped front seats provide, and in true Skoda fashion, passengers at the rear will be able to stretch out, with the heaps of legroom the Octavia has to offer. You will also appreciate the large bottle holders in the door cards, mobile phone pockets in the backs of the front seats, and of-course, the signature self-draining umbrella compartments located in the front doors.

Cargo carrying ability is one of the Octavia’s strongest points, with the sedan boasting 600 litres, 10 litres more than the previous car. Like the Superb, the Octavia also sports a liftback style boot (electric for the Style variant) for ease of access. And again in true Skoda fashion, you will find practical cargo solutions, like hooks for bags, that retract neatly out of the way when not in-use, and levers to fold the rear seats from within the boot. There are also removable plastic panels intended to keep the loading area straight; when removed, gives you ample room to drop your golf bag along the boot’s width. With the rear seats folded, the Octavia sedan boasts a whopping 1,555 litres.

The Drive

Beyond all the Octavia’s practical features and space it offers, the star of the show to me is the new 1.5 litre turbocharged engine, which is further boosted by a 48V mild hybrid system (same as the one found in the new Golf 8 and the new Audi A3). The new Octavia delivers 150hp and 250Nm, and has its front wheels driven via a quick-shifting 7-speed DSG.

While the mild hybrid system helps to keep the car’s vitals alive when at the lights, it also assists with the drive by helping to launch the car. The advantage of the Octavia’s mild hybrid assistance, is that it significantly reduces any bits of lag associated with what a turbocharged engine would inherently have. 

From a standstill, the Octavia hits 100km/h in 8.5 seconds, which is very respectable. But where it shines most is when it is on the go; being able to accelerate easily out of trouble spots, or when building speed to merge with traffic. 

Fuel economy-wise, Skoda claims a very respectable 18.9km/l. But with just a little clever  lifting off the throttle in ‘ECO’ drive mode, I managed 22km/l - done without the engine compromising in any significant way in how it delivers. The Octavia’s impressive fuel economy is partially attributed to the engine’s ability deactivate two of its four cylinders when cruising, and coasting for long distances; the latter just like having the car running in neutral, and with the mild hybrid system powering all the essentials, including the brake boosting and the power steering.

Within the cabin, the Octavia eats up the miles with confidence, with a suspension prioritised for comfort, rather than performance. The Czech sedan rides over most road surfaces with the kind of ease that would probably not wake a sleeping baby. The rear suspension, a compound link crank-axle, does quite an excellent job sorting out what most of our local roads may throw at it. In the driver’s seat, I would best describe the driving experience as an  armchair-comfortable one.

If you value safety, the all-new Octavia is equipped with 7 airbags, a rear view camera and a driver alert system as standard. The Style variant of the car also includes Lane Assist and Side Assist, the latter to warn you of vehicles in your blind areas. The all-important Rear Traffic Alert acts as an additional set of eyes for you, as you back onto a road, helping to warn you of approaching traffic or pedestrians, and even stopping the car if needed.

Our Thoughts

The Octavia’s strong comeback makes this one of the best compact sedan offerings currently available, though it is not going to be cheap.

But if you want a little more in terms of creature spoils and space, and if you are looking for a comfortable, powerful family compact, simply look no further, the Skoda Octavia is truly a simply clever car.

In Summary

We Like

Performance. Fuel economy. Superb ride quality. Overall attractive styling. Base car is already well-equipped.

We Don't

Air-Conditioning controls buried in the infotainment makes adjusting difficult. High starting price, no thanks to the Cat B COE.

Verdict

Just about all the good things that you could possibly want in a compact family sedan.

Car Loan Calculator - Skoda Octavia Style 1.5 TSI

SGD 133,900 (17 Jun 2021)

This car is eligible for minimum 40% down payment

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Engine

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

Performance

Acceleration 8.5s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 230 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 18.9 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 7 -speed DSG
Drive Type FF
Steering Electric

Measurements

Body Type Sedan
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(5689 x 1829 x 1470) mm
Wheelbase 2686 mm
Turning Circle 10.4 metres
Boot Capacity 600 L
Boot Capacity (folded) 1555 L
Fuel Tank Capacity 45 L

Brakes

Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs