Sedans are to business professionals what sports cars are to young adults. Every businessman at one point of their life dreams about stepping out of a sedan with a sharp outfit and a nice briefcase. The era of the old Toyota Corolla and the Nissan Sunny Super Saloon were successful in imprinting an image of ‘class’. But the sedan market has been in a decline in recent years, with most customers preferring other vehicles. These include your hatchbacks, cross hatchbacks, CUVs, compact SUVs, small SUVs and even full-sized SUVs. Today we will find out if the Octavia can hold its own and see if it can pull people back into sedans again.
We’ll say it outright, the Skoda looks different, it looks fresh, it looks.... unique. The uniqueness comes in the form of headlights that has been split into two units. These split LED headlamps come with split DRLs as well, which may look odd in pictures but are actually sleek and attractive in flesh. These headlights also help the car distinguish itself on the road. The butterfly grille up front is now larger and wider with premium gloss black finish. Underneath the butterfly you get a massive air intake with smart looking fog lamps on either side.
The wide bonnet is marked with strong creases on either side, and a sizeable hunch in the middle that adds a dominant character to the Octavia. Things are a bit too simple over on the side, a prominent line starting from the headlight and ending on the tail light is all the action you get. The proportions look well balanced and while we would have loved a pair of black alloys, the ones you get here is in-fact a lot smarter. At the back you get LED tail lamps, as on its elder brother Superb. You get a new bumper and tail gate that is more pronounced with the creases running across that help the car look wider. The coupe like silhouette of the Octavia accentuates the sporty characters of the car and completes the look.
The facelifted Octavia doesn’t do much inside the cabin. Not that it is a bad thing, because it retains the same quality finish as the previous model
The facelifted Octavia doesn’t do much inside the cabin. Not that it is a bad thing, because it retains the same quality finish as the previous model. The dashboard feels good to touch and you get the same high-quality fit and finish. The two-tone beige and black color combination of the interior sheds a light of airiness into the cabin. The large seats upfront are comfortable, and their well contoured build keeps you in comfort without letting you slide about. Being a sedan, seating at the back must be above average, as this is the place where all the fancy execs will be sitting down and doing their businessy things, and thankfully it is.
There is plenty of knee room and leg room and a decent head room despite a sloping roof. The comfort in the back is adequate. But Skoda should have provided more under-thigh support for the back bench. Overall quality of the materials used inside the cabin is top-notch and it is rather difficult to find things that one would call cheap. Cabin entertainment is handled by a new 8-inch infotainment system. The touchscreen sports high quality graphics, swift response times and built-in functions that make this one of the best in car systems to use.
Practicality is one area where the Octavia trades blows even with SUVs. There’s plenty of cup and bottle holders and storage spaces for every little thing you’ll carry, but the best part is the Octavia’s boot. This massive 580-liter boot fits two largest members of Nepal Drives Crew with ease.
The party trick of the Octavia lies under the bonnet. The car is powered by a large 1.8-liter TSi petrol engine mated to an automatic 7-speed DSG gearbox. Making 177 horses and 250 Nm of peak torque, this is a very capable motor. Wring it out and the refined motor builds power smoothly, emitting an addictive sound. While the car will hesitate in the low rpms, gun it past 2,500 rpms and the Octavia darts off, pushing you into the seats. The 7-speed dual clutch gearbox is instant without being overpowering: it stays in the right gear at any given time and becomes eager to upshift once you put in on Sport mode.
The 1.8 TSi comes with independent rear suspension that is more sophisticated. The Octavia feels more planted and balanced thanks to the wider track. The electric steering weighs up nicely and feels precise even when under pressure. Body roll is well contained and the car copes up with quick directional changes with authority, preventing the car from losing control. In terms of ride comfort, the Octavia does a good job battling the potholes of the road without jolting the passengers on board every now and then. While you should always avoid bumps and potholes when inside a low riding sedan it wouldn’t be too bold to say that this engine does justice to the coupe silhouette of the Octavia.
The new Skoda Octavia builds on the old one in every possible way. It looks better, drives better, provides better features and is more practical. Whether you are going to be driving it yourself or have your driver do the heavy lifting; while you think of making more money, the Octavia has you covered. While the Skoda Octavia has picked a... not-so-favorable time to surface into the sedan scene of the country, the Octavia is a beautiful marriage between class and style and it is definitely the right car to rejuvenate the love for sedans.
Engine Type: Petrol
Power: 177 bhp @ 5100 rpm
Torque: 250 Nm @ 1250 rpm
Transmission: 7-speed DSG
(Also available in a 1.4-litre Petrol option, and a 2.0-litre Diesel option)