SKODA OCTAVIA: D for desirability

SKODA’S latest Octavia could have been made for Dickens’ endearing little chap Oliver Twist – the lad who wanted more.

Because that’s what he’d get if he wandered into his local showroom.

The third generation Octavia, billed as the most advanced Skoda ever, would fill the little bloke’s bowl with a healthy portion of what they’ve offered in the past – and another helping on top for good measure.

New touchscreen infotainment systems are fitted as standard across the range, it has segment best interior space, there’s more equipment than the old model including features like Automatic Post-Collision Brake, Lane Assistant, park assist that will get you in AND out of a tight space, start/stop technology and a host of clever design features including an integrated ice scraper in the fuel filler cap.

In fact the only thing you get less of is weight – up to 102kgs dependent on model, which has obvious benefits in fuel economy and efficiency.

Priced from £15,990, there are three trim levels – S, SE and Elegance –  as well as four engine options  (two petrol, two diesel) from launch day (March 16) with outputs from 105PS to 150PS.

Octavia has been a popular purchase here in the UK (more than 205,000 have been sold here, making it the second biggest seller for Skoda after the Fabia) and the new model raises the bar higher when it comes to space, equipment, technology and, more importantly, what you get for your money.

Product manager Vicki McGill admits the Octavia – and its stablemate Rapid – are pitched into a competitive market and the aim has been to highlight its desirability.

It’s bigger, wider and longer, yet despite the extensive restyling is still unmistakably an Octavia.

Moving back the C pillar successfully masks the large rear tailgate that gives access to an above average size load area, and gives it an almost coupe like look.

The cabin has been reworked to make it more comfortable and spacious – facts highlighted during our long test route on the UK launch down in Wiltshire just days before the on sale date.

Ride quality is well up to the mark, and Octavia scored highly in its ability to soak up the bumps and thumps of our potholed road network.

Equipment levels are better than many and the interior is finished to a high standard – take a look at the pictures if you don’t believe me. It’s beginning to become something of a constant thread with all VW Group products and it’s something you come to expect in every new product you slip behind the wheel of. Neat, clear, uncluttered and everything within reach of the driver. There’s even a neat little slot in the centre console to safely hold your mobile phone.

Skoda themselves are showing sales up eight per cent year year to date over 2012 (March 2013) so could be looking at a record breaking year. Worldwide they are edging very close to the 1million sales in a year mark.

The Mk1 Octavia that made its debut here in 1998 was the first completely new Skoda to be built under the ownership of the VW Group and the name has been synonymous with success ever since.

No longer just a user-friendly car, Octavia is now a very comfortable and accomplished user friendly car.

AT A GLANCE: Skoda Octavia SE; £20,490; 1598cc TDI, 105ps, 250Nm; seven speed DSG; Top speed, 121mph, 0-62 10.5 secs; Fuel – urban 61.4, extra urban 80.7, combined 72.4; CO2 102g/km; Will it fit the garage? 4659/1814/1461 (l/w/h).


© 2013


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