Review

New 2013 Skoda Octavia review, test drive

The new Skoda Octavia is bigger and better than before, and we're keen to see if it can go on to be as popular.

RATING
8 / 10
DETAILS
9
photos

The diesel Octavia saloon model from Skoda gets the same 1,968cc four-cylinder engine that’s carried over from the Laura, albeit with some minor tweaks to improve its torque spread and driveability. You get the same gruff character, and at high revs, the drone doesn’t let you forget that there’s a diesel under the hood. 

However, adopt a slightly relaxed pace and the drone quietens down to an unobtrusive hum, while the six-speed, twin-clutch automatic gearbox (a manual will also be available for the diesel) shifts up smoothly and almost imperceptibly. There’s no lack of grunt either – the 32.6kgm of torque coming in early in the powerband and propelling you forward with a nicely linear pull. This updated engine has a wider powerband than the one in the Jetta too – where the VW’s torque curve falls off at 2,500rpm, the Octavia’s hangs on for another 500rpm more. There is a hint of lag at low revs, but otherwise, it’s a very tractable engine and the clever gearbox negates the need to use the tip-tronic function most of the time. The DQ250 gearbox shares identical gear ratios with the Jetta, and yet the Skoda Octavia is over half a second quicker to 100kph than its cousin. Its 141bhp helps it hit 100kph in 9.3sec, which is 0.7sec better than the VW’s. Performance is strong all the way up to 170kph too, after which power starts tailing off. Also in its favouris the punchy mid-range and a tall sixth gear, which makes the diesel Octavia a great long-legged cruiser.

But for those looking for pure driving thrills, it has to be the 1.8-litre TSI. This third-generation EA888 motor now develops more power than before – 177bhp to be exact – and that makes for a really special engine. As before, the TSI is unbelievably smooth and refined right through its rev range and there’s a deliciously engaging snarl when you really wring it out. It’s not the most responsive engine at low revs, but serious shove comes in at around 2,500rpm and simply doesn’t let up until 6,500rpm, where the gearbox snatches up the next ratio. Speaking of which, enthusiasts might bemoan the fact that Skoda isn’t offering a manual version with this engine this time around – the TSI is available only with a seven-speed DSG similar to the one in the Superb. The good news is that this ’box is as impressive as the engine and it’s evident that Skoda has programmed it to provide maximum thrills. Stick it in manual mode and it will downshift on demand, accompanied by a blip from the throttle. In fact, with the 1.8 TSI, you will feel the need to use the tip-tronic mode more often, especially when you are pottering around. Unlike the six-speed in the diesel, this seven-speed gearbox isn’t as eager to downshift quickly in the normal mode (in the interests of fuel economy, we presume) when you tap the throttle. This prompts you to move the superbly finished stubby lever across the gate into manual mode to command it to jump down a gear or two.  

That said, the Octavia 1.8 TSI DSG is quicker than the manual Laura TSI, but not by as wide a margin as expected. The Octavia gets to 100kph in 8.01sec, which is just 0.2sec quicker than the car it replaces. It’s because the DSG gearbox has a protection mode that won’t allow a proper smoking-tyre launch. But this little niggle doesn’t prevent the 1.8 TSI from being the most exciting four-cylinder petrol motor in the country today. 

Ride and handling >> << Interiors
comments powered by Disqus

notSet

An exclusive review of the new Mercedes-Benz GLC, drives of the Datsun Redigo and Honda BR-V and loads more. Dive in!
What's in this issue?

Trending Now
Find a car review

Latest Car Reviews

Mercedes GLC 300 review, test drive

Mercedes GLC 300 review, test drive

8 hours ago
Mercedes finally plugs the only serious gap in its model range with the new...
Lamborghini Huracán LP580-2 track drive

Lamborghini Huracán LP580-2 track drive

1 day 10 hours ago
Lamborghini maintains that AWD is the best way to make the most of a lot of...
Porsche 718 Boxster review, test drive

Porsche 718 Boxster review, test drive

2 days ago
Unlike most mid-life facelifts that are just cosmetic, the new Boxster comes...
Maruti Celerio diesel long term review, third report

Maruti Celerio diesel long term review, third report

5 days ago
The Celerio diesel has become our favourite option for frugal long-distance...
New Skoda Superb review, road test

New Skoda Superb review, road test

May 16, 2016
The all-new third-gen Skoda Superb looks very promising. But is it as...
Latest News
Chevrolet Beat Activ spied
Seen for the first time on Indian roads, the Beat Activ test car's front and...
1 hour ago   1 picture
Diesel unlikely for next-gen Toyota Corolla
Option of diesel likely to be dropped for the new Corolla, due to decline in...
3 hours ago   1 picture
Hyundai Grand i10 20th anniversary edition launched at Rs 5.72 lakh
Available in the Sportz trim, the special-edition Grand i10 comes with...
3 hours ago   4 pictures
Hyundai Tucson to launch in India this year
A rival to the CR-V, the Tucson is likely to get both petrol and diesel...
6 hours ago   10 pictures
New Google Android system to get more in-car functions
Google is looking to integrate various in-car functions such as air...
8 hours ago   1 picture

Autocar Magazine

Issue: 202 | Autocar India: June 2016

An exclusive review of the new Mercedes-Benz GLC, drives of the Datsun Redigo and Honda BR-V and loads more. Dive in!
Autocar Magazine
Latest Poll
Which compact SUV would you buy





or View results
Ford EcoSport
  29%
 
Maruti Vitara Brezza
  37%
 
Mahindra Nuvosport
  2%
 
Mahindra TUV300
  5%
 
Would rather wait for the Tata Nexon
  27%
TOTAL VOTES: 3567

Vote now
View previous Polls »