Skoda Octavia Expert Review

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Introduction

Having sold more than five million units in two decades, the Octavia is Skoda’s bread and butter model globally. On sale in the county since the first-gen model, India has been one of its prime markets and manufacturing hubs. 

2017 Skoda Octavia

The stakes are high when you have to come up with a mid-cycle refresh or facelift of your bestselling model. And when Skoda unveiled the third-gen Octavia facelift in late 2016, it quickly divided opinions about its older Mercedes-Benz E-Class-like split headlights. But as they say, don’t judge a book by its cover. Here’s what has changed and carried over in the updated model of one of the most popular nameplates of the D-segment.    

Pros
  • Well loaded – full-LED headlamps with daytime running lamps, LED tail lamps, 16-inch alloy wheels, panoramic sunroof, 8-inch capacitive touchscreen, among others
  • Features like hands-free parking and the new 8-inch infotainment system are not even offered in the Skoda Superb
  • Caters to a wide range of customers from chauffeur-driven to enthusiasts with its drivetrain options and suspension setups
  • Advanced directed-injected and turbocharged engines with complementing manual or dual-clutch automatic transmission options
  • Classic European build quality and ride and handling
Cons
  • Independent rear suspension setup is limited to 1.8 TSI only
  • Rivals offer better under-thigh support at the rear
  • Extremely light-coloured interior which will get soiled easily
  • Most feel-good features are limited to top-end variants only
  • The diesel is a bit louder for its segment

Stand Out Features

  • Full-LED headlamps with daytime running LEDs

    Full-LED headlamps with daytime running LEDs

  • Hands-free parking 

    Hands-free parking 

  • Panoramic sunroof

    Panoramic sunroof

  • Large 8-inch capacitive touchscreen infotainment system

    Large 8-inch capacitive touchscreen infotainment system

CarDekho Verdict

With this facelift, Skoda has worked to iron out a few wrinkles in the third-gen Octavia’s packaging. It always had potent powertrain options and a lengthy list of class-leading features. Surprisingly, Skoda has added more luxuries from the Euro-spec facelift model, which are unheard of in the segment. In fact, features like hands-free parking and the new big screen infotainment system are not even offered in the Skoda Superb as well. As SUVs/crossovers are eating into the sales of these D-segment sedans nowadays, they need to lure customers with over-the-top features, and the 2017 Octavia has got that double ticked!

 

2017 Skoda Octavia

 

Skoda is also actively working to enhance its after sales service, which had a few loose ends earlier. It offers up to four-year additional warranty and economically priced four-year all-inclusive periodic maintenance package. There's a MySkoda app as well, which aims to make the overall service experience more transparent. This will surely help in clearing the mindset about its aftersales and in turn, improving the sales.

 

2017 Skoda Octavia

 

The GST is all set to go in action from July, which will make cars like these slightly more affordable. The 2017 Octavia facelift might be priced lower than the previous model, and this, perhaps, will singlehandedly become the USP of the updated model. We expect pricing for the updated sedan to begin from just about Rs 15 lakh (the outgoing model is priced just below Rs 16 lakh) and go up to Rs 22 lakh.

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Exterior

2017 Skoda Octavia

As the Octavia is a sought-after model in Skoda’s line-up globally, it was expected that the facelift of the current model will bring subtle stylistic changes along with new goodies to keep the product competitive. And that is exactly what has happened with the 2017 Octavia. There’s an air of subtlety in its aesthetic makeover.  

2017 Skoda Octavia

However, its 'double headlamps' have certainly altered the appearance of the front fascia compared to the pre-facelift model, which was rather on the conventional side. Perhaps, one thing is definite that its split headlamps may not be to everyone's taste. On the ‘brighter’ side, in the very literal meaning of the word, the updated Octavia gets full-LED headlamps over the Bi-xenon ones of the pre-facelift model. The new units, of course, have higher performance and are more energy efficient as well. The fog lamps are halogen and also feature cornering function. 

2017 Skoda Octavia

But I feel that its new look will eventually grow with time; it takes a bit to settle in. Frankly, it has grown on me over the course of my short stint with the updated model. The inner units of the headlamps, which appear as a part of the grille, make the Skoda’s butterfly grille look wider than it actually is. Thus, in turn, providing a wider stance to its front profile.  

2017 Skoda Octavia

The redesigned bumper with a relatively larger air dam and a chrome applique compliment the pseudo width that the grille and headlight arrangement imparts. Incidentally, the split headlamps of the Octavia put it in line with Skoda’s new SUVs, the Kodiaq and the recently revealed Karoq!   

2017 Skoda Octavia

The sides remain identical to the previous model, save for the new set of 16-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels. Look meticulously and you’ll find that the rear fenders are marginally wider to accommodate the increased rear track (read about it in the Ride and Handling section). But this change is hard to notice to the untrained eye. 

2017 Skoda Octavia

The changes at the rear are quite limited compared to the front. Though the tail lamps retain the same shape, the new LED graphics (Skoda’s regular ‘C’ shape) and the 3D design of the revised units make the rear look sharper than before. 

2017 Skoda Octavia

The updated rear bumper gets more streamlined featuring rectangular reflectors. And its new middle crease line makes the Octavia look less rear heavy. 

2017 Skoda Octavia

In terms of colours on offer, the 2017 Octavia discontinues three out of the six colours offered with the pre-facelift model, including the amazing 'Race Blue'. There's an addition of a new shade, Quartz Grey, which you can see in the images. 

2017 Skoda Octavia

Exterior Comparison

Hyundai Elantra Toyota Corolla Altis Skoda Octavia
Length (mm) 4570 4620 4670
Width (mm) 1800 1775 1814
Height (mm) 1465 1475 1476
Ground Clearance (mm) 165 175 155
Wheel Base (mm) 2700 2700 2688
Kerb Weight (kg) - 1270 1395
 

Boot Space Comparison

Hyundai Elantra Toyota Corolla Altis Skoda Octavia
Volume 420-litres 470-litres 590-liters

Interior

2017 Skoda Octavia

It was the third-gen Octavia’s interior which served as a base for the current crop of Skodas, including the all-new Superb. The layout of the dashboard is free of clutter, which will certainly go on for a few more years until the fourth-gen arrives. What Skoda has actually done with the updated model is plug a few gaps. 

2017 Skoda Octavia

It features the same dual-tone theme, but the lighter colour gets a subtly different shade (same for the upholstery). Then there are new glossy black inserts around the climate control unit and the gearshift knob. The door trims now feature brushed aluminium finish instead of faux wood. All these additions make the cabin look plusher than the previous model.

2017 Skoda Octavia

As is the case with VW Group’s facelifts, the Octavia gets the German conglomerate’s latest infotainment system. It is a glass-encased unit with a capacitive touch display. There are capacitive touch buttons as well, which makes the bigger 8-inch screen look larger than it actually is. 

2017 Skoda Octavia

Like before, MirrorLink, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support are present and it also has built-in navigation. The touch works flawlessly just like our smartphones and features crisp graphics as well. The upcoming India-bound Kodiaq also features an identical unit as well as the Karoq. Eventually, Skoda will replace the Superb’s 6.5-inch unit (available with the pre-facelift Octavia) with the same as well.      

2017 Skoda Octavia

The Octavia was Skoda's first vehicle to be based on VW’s famed MQB platform, which later spun out the Superb, Kodiaq and the Karoq. The MQB platform’s prime goal was to maximise interior space, while keeping the vehicle relatively lightweight. Thanks to its underpinnings the Octavia has larger footprints than two of its arch rivals, the Corolla and the Elantra, which results in a roomy cabin. 

2017 Skoda Octavia

Since there are no dimensional changes with this facelift, the cabin remains spacious as ever. However, the under thigh support of the rear seat could have been improved compared to the pre-facelift model. The rear AC vents aid to keep the cabin cool, but there is still no blower control for the rear vents. 

2017 Skoda Octavia

The Octavia’s notchback design makes its cavernous boot space of 590 litres a tad more practical. Further, the rear seat is nearly flat-folding, liberating more space, and it also has a 60:40 split function as always.  

2017 Skoda Octavia  

The updated Octavia has quite a few new party tricks up its sleeve! It now comes with hands-free parking. You just have to brake and accelerate, while it steers itself in a parallel or a perpendicular parking spot. Cool?

2017 Skoda Octavia

Interestingly, this tech made its debut with the Octavia in India and is not available in the Superb as of now. 

2017 Skoda Octavia

There’s a new ambient lighting on offer as well with multi colour option (10 colours to choose from) similar to the Superb.

2017 Skoda Octavia

It has thin LED strips that run on the upper edge of the door trims. 

2017 Skoda Octavia

It also pampers its chauffeur-driven owners with an app-based control of the new infotainment system, BossConnect via Skoda Media Command app, which really comes in handy compared to the rear armrest-based controls in most of its rivals. It is a basic app which lets you quickly browse through the available FM stations, streaming music and sharing playlists along with setting locations through car’s built-in navigation.  

2017 Skoda Octavia

Finally, there are two new fast-charging USB ports for the rear passengers, which also connect to the car's infotainment unit. 

2017 Skoda Octavia

Performance

All the three engine options of the Octavia remain unaltered with this facelift in India. And that is not a bad thing since the third-gen model offered potent yet frugal motors. All the three engines are direct-injected and turbocharged and are mated to either a 6-speed manual or a 6/7-speed DSG (dual-clutch automatic). 

2017 Skoda Octavia

The petrol range starts with the 1.4-litre TSI motor, which puts out 150PS and 250Nm and comes only with a 6-speed manual. It also has a range-topping 1.8-litre TSI petrol, which offers a blistering 180PS and 250Nm and is coupled to a 7-speed DSG. The Octavia 1.8-litre TSI is the most powerful sedan in its class and it excels by a large margin. The torque figure is identical to 1.4-litre TSI because the 7-speed DSG is rated for 250Nm. 

The mainstay motor in the Octavia’s line-up is the 2.0-litre TDI diesel, which puts out a healthy 143PS and 320Nm and comes with an option of a 6-speed DSG or a 6-speed manual. The fuel efficiency of all the three motors remains identical with a little improvement. The 1.4-litre TSI is rated at 16.7kmpl, the 1.8-litre TSI delivers 15.1kmpl and the diesel Octavia delivers 21 and 19.5kmpl for its manual and DSG variants, respectively.  

Performance Comparison (Diesel)

Toyota Corolla Altis Hyundai Elantra Skoda Octavia
Power 87.2bhp@3800rpm 126.2bhp@4000rpm 141bhp@3500-4000rpm
Torque (Nm) 205Nm@1800-2800rpm 259.88Nm@1900-2750rpm 320Nm@1750-3000rpm
Engine Displacement (cc) 1364 1582 1968
Transmission Manual Automatic Automatic
Top Speed (kmph) 170 Kmph 191 Kmph 205 Kmph
0-100 Acceleration (sec) 11.8 Seconds - 9.35 Seconds
Kerb Weight (kg) 1245kg - 1395kg
Fuel Efficiency (ARAI) 21.43kmpl 18.23kmpl 19.5kmpl
Power Weight Ratio 70.04016064257029 bhp/ton - 101.0752688172043 bhp/ton
 

Performance Comparison (Petrol)

Toyota Corolla Altis Hyundai Elantra Skoda Octavia
Power 138.03bhp@6400rpm 150bhp@6400rpm 177bhp@5100-6200rpm
Torque (Nm) 173Nm@4000rpm 192.2Nm@4000rpm 250Nm@1250-5000rpm
Engine Displacement (cc) 1798 1999 1798
Transmission Automatic Automatic Automatic
Top Speed (kmph) 200 Kmph 210 Kmph 220 Kmph
0-100 Acceleration (sec) 10.1 Seconds - 8 Seconds
Kerb Weight (kg) 1270kg - 1376kg
Fuel Efficiency (ARAI) 14.28kmpl 14.62kmpl 15.1kmpl
Power Weight Ratio 108.68503937007874 bhp/ton - 128.63372093023256 bhp/ton

Ride and Handling 

2017 Skoda Octavia

The updated model comes with a slightly tweaked rear suspension setup for the 1.8-litre petrol and the 2.0-litre diesel to improve handling and ride quality. The former gets a 30mm wider rear track (distance between the wheels on the same axle) for its reworked multi-link rear suspension. The diesel, on the other hand, gets a 20mm increase, but features a torsion beam setup (non-independent). The Octavia is the only car in this segment to feature an independent rear suspension setup with its 1.8-litre petrol variant (check out the image below). This model gets an independent rear suspension for relatively better road manners because it has a wide power advantage of 30 and 40PS compared to the base petrol and diesel versions, respectively.  

2017 Skoda Octavia

The Skoda Octavia is known to offer one of the best ride and handling packages in the segment since the first-gen model. The third-gen sedan stepped up its game, thanks to its MQB underpinning. And the updated 2017 model carries over the same traits. It feels sure-footed for most of the times with certainly the least body roll in its class. 

2017 Skoda Octavia

The 2.0-litre diesel, which we were mostly driving, is a gem of a motor, and is found under majority of cars under VW Group. The torque builds up from as early as 1700rpm and maxes out at 3000rpm, so you get a healthy range with minimal lag to potter around in the city or flex its muscle on the highway. Though at idle the cabin is absolutely silent, the engine gets a little audible as the rev climbs. That said, this is the only downside of this 2.0-litre diesel that we can find, and we are nit-picking here, because just put on its amazing sound system (eight-speaker system) and the little diesel humming fades away!  

2017 Skoda Octavia

The steering, light at city speeds, weighs up nicely as the speed builds up, with adequate feedback. However, a little more connected feel would have been appreciated. If you're looking for a sporty drive, pick the 1.8-litre petrol, which is a cracker of a motor. This variant feels more planted and offers a slightly better ride as well with its exclusive independent rear suspension setup. The shifts in the 1.8-litre petrol are also faster by a slight margin compared to the diesel, but they are evident. Otherwise, the 2.0-litre TDI fits the bill most of the times. All in all, the 2017 Octavia still retains the fun-to-drive character it is known for!

2017 Skoda Octavia

Safety

The third-gen Octavia had a strong suite of safety features in the country and the 2017 model continues to offer the same. It comes with a total of eight airbags (dual-front, front and rear side along with curtain airbags). The dual-front and front side airbags are standard as before. 

2017 Skoda Octavia

In terms of braking tech, it gets ABS (anti-lock braking system) with EBD (electronic brake-force distribution) and hydraulic brake assist. Also on offer are ASR (anti-slip regulation), MSR (motor speed regulation), EDL (electronic differential lock) and MKB (multi-collision braking), which are an extension and parts of its ESC (electronic stability control) and traction control systems. There's tyre pressure monitoring as well.

Safety Comparison

Toyota Corolla Altis Hyundai Elantra Skoda Octavia
Airbags righticonClose righticonClose righticonClose
ABS righticonClose righticonClose righticonClose
EBD righticonClose righticonClose righticonClose

Variants

Like before, the 2017 Octavia facelift is available with three variants to choose from. However, it now has two range-topping models. Earlier it had Ambition, Ambition Plus and Style Plus. Now, it comes with Ambition, Style and Style Plus. 

Skoda Octavia similar cars to compare & consider  
*Ex-showroom price

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