The Fluence has stylish and classy interiors and even the fit and finish is fine. The sedan can seat people in comfort and even the boot is large.
The Fluence interiors are a good example of French design. The instrument panel are stylish with good fit and finish. The quality of the materials used is just fine, however the look and feel is just fine. The Fluence has stylish interior with beige interiors and different styling compared to Japanese and German competition. The key is a card and the Fluence has keyless entry and push start too.
The interiors are stylish with integrated music system with Bluetooth and several other bells and whistles. However, one that is oddly placed near the hand brake. The Fluence can comfortably seat four people. The fifth will be a bit of a squeeze. The front row seats are large and extremely comfortable. The boot of the Fluence is also large enough to gobble large for an entire weekend for four people.
The Fluence has a powerful 2.0-litre diesel engine and this mill is Renault’s best selling diesel engine.
The Fluence comes with a 2.0-litre diesel engine that produces 108bhp and comes mated to a six-speed manual transmission. This is the same engine that also powers the Duster. The NVH levels of this engine are good for a diesel engine and even the insulation of the cabin is good. There is not much of diesel clatter melodrama when you cold start the car. This turbo kicks in at about 2000rpm, before the turbo lag is prominent and the engine struggles to pull. The drivability of the Fluence is just fine and even the power delivery is good once the engine across 2000rpm. Driving in the city needs some amount of downshifts however it does well on a highway.
This 2.0-litre engine comes mated to a six-speed manual transmission, and this transmission is wee bit rubbery. The clutch is soft and the spring stiffness is good enough.
The Fluence does a good job with its brilliant ride quality and even the handling is just fine. It doesn’t feel jittery at high speeds but it isn’t that confident either.
The ride of the Fluence is supple as the suspension does a good job of soaking up all the bumps. This is one really good aspect of French cars, their ride quality. Despite our bad roads, they do well and they do not wallow. The French know how to design a suspension and the Fluence is one of the best examples for this.
Despite the good ride quality the Fluence handles well. It has some amount of body roll, but that’s about it. The steering feel isn’t that great, it does weigh up as the vehicle gathers speed but it feels slack.
Ed’s take: The Skodas are known for their build quality, space and equipment list. The Octavia is a perfect combination of all.
Skoda has kept the interiors simple, exclusive and luxurious. There is ample knee and headroom in the rear but the seat does feel a little too upright. The leather used has an exquisite feel to it and is clean and soft. Just like any other Skoda, space is one of the biggest USPs of this cabin. The dual zone A/C Climate control system allows the driver and the passenger to set their surrounding air temperatures to their personal liking. Škoda has also added a rear vent for the passengers sitting in the back.
The light colour of the leather makes the cabin look roomy and compliments the dark instrument cluster and the dark steering wheel and trim. The top end variants all come with a 12-way electrical seat adjustment with a memory setting for 3 drivers. The passenger seat has a manual seat adjuster. The mid and top variants get a 5.8inch LCD touchscreen audio player with a multifunctional steering wheel that can be connected via Bluetooth, USB or Aux.
The Bolero system not only plays music and helps you answer your phone but it also has a whole data tracking system built into it to keep you updated with the vehicle dynamics such as mileage, drive duration, fuel consumption, tire pressure and time till the next service.There are multiple stowaway areas in the car that allows for a good storage capacity in the cabin. Boot access from inside the cabin is also available by folding the rear armrest down. The door handles have a very sleek and elite finish. The metal lever is easy to hold and opens with a pop that feels genuine.
Ed’s take: Generally it’s the Skoda diesels that are powerful and fuel efficient, but now even the petrols are frugal as they are downsized mills.
The diesel is a reworked engine seen on many cars in the VW group, the 2.0-litre, 4cylinder turbocharged engine that produces 140bhp and 320Nm of torque. The diesel engine comes mated to either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed DSG automatic. The engine has very minimal turbo lag and with the foot down on the gas pedal the tachometer needle moves freely to the 5000rpm mark. That is quite commendable for a diesel motor. After about 2000-2500rpm the diesel drone in the cabin from the engine is pretty high and can get slightly annoying. The large amount of torque produced by the engine makes it easy to climb up slopes but low rpm drivability in 3rd gear is close to naught. This is the same oil burner, that also powered the Laura, and still powers the Jetta and even the Passat and Superb.
The 1.4 TSI is also found in the VW Jetta, but here it is bumped up to put out 138bhp and comes mated to a six-speed manual box only. It has sufficient thrust to pull, despite the small sized engine. The 1.4-litre petrol is low on NVH as well.
The car that is the most fun to drive is the 1.8 TSI. Skoda says the engine is a brand new development on the 888. This petrol mill comes mated to a seven-speed DSG automatic transmission. It produces 179bhp and 250Nm of torque. This car is an absolute blast to drive. The engine pulls from anywhere in the rpm range all the way to the red zone. In the first and second gears the car gives you all the confidence needed in flooring the throttle and controlling the vehicle. The multilink suspension does a great job in preventing the car from getting shaky or buckling down, under pressure of hard cornering.
Ed’s take: Skoda’s DNA is a great meld of ride and handling, and the Octavia is of different. The ride is supple and the handling is agile.
The new Octavia is extremely easy to drive. The steering feel is light and has a good response though it is an electric system instead of a mechanical one. The feedback is very minimal but that makes for a good urban ride and drive. The ride is plush that allows the passenger in the rear to sit easily without feeling every single bump or pothole on the road.
The main difference in suspension is noticed when you move from the diesel that has a torsion bar in the rear to the independent multi link suspension found in the 1.8 TSI. The independent suspension in the rear gives the car a very tight feeling and a lot more feed from the rear end. Body roll is very little and chucking the steering wheel into a sudden corner doesn’t jerk the passengers around too much. The steering feel is just phenomenal and one of the best in its class too.
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