2021 Skoda Octavia review – Plush, punchy, practical sedan you'd want | First Drive | Autocar India
It feels so great to be back in the outdoors and shooting again. I am just so ecstatic that’s why? I have this massive grin across my face, but it’s not only for that it’s because today is about a car one that we’ve all been looking forward to. And when i say all i mean you guys, because this is one pretty epic model and me because, as an enthusiast, this is a car that i’ve always enjoyed and that’s. What i was doing was going through our old issues and seeing what we’d written about this car and we seemed to always really like it. It seemed to come out on tops. So how do you take a car that’s always been really great and then live up to these expectations when there’s a new model it’s got to be pretty tough. What am i talking about? Well, while i hop out of this car a little unceremoniously, you guys take a look at what i’m talking about. So this is what i was talking about: the all new skoda: octavia 2021. Why was i in the boot when i started, because that was one of the strengths of the octavia and because this massive tailgate, thanks to the fastback design and i’ll, get to the design in a bit was giving me some really great shade? And you can open this boot, you have to get a bit. Yeah takes a bit of getting used to once you get the spot right, you can open the boot hands free as well, and it opens up this massive massive space.
I was small and could fit in there, but trust me. I mean i think two or three people could actually sit in there and have a little bit of a picnic. It is that massive you get 600 liters of boot space and when you flip the seats down that opens up to a massive 1555 liters now, for some of you suv fans out there thing to know is that this is more space than you get in suvs Of the same segment price point: yes, there has been a lot of chatter as to what the price of the new octavia will be, and we expect it to be priced at 25 to 30 lakh rupees. Now that is a lot of money for so much car. So, apart from this massive massive boot that can compete with any suv, what else will you get well that’s, what we’re about to find out and let’s start with the back seat, but while you are on the outside, let me tell you everything about the design everybody Panel is new and it brings the styling more in line with skoda’s current design language. All the lines seem to draw you into the nose when you view it from the front where there’s a wider, typically skoda, grill, surrounded by chrome, the grille is flanked by sleeker. Buy led lamps instead of the older split ones. A strong shoulder line, contours on the bonnet and etched flanks are all there to add muscle and speak of the legendary tough build.
Octavias are known for Music, the bonnet slopes down to the nose and the roofline tapers over in a fastback style, giving it a really sleek silhouette. What is a bit jarring? Are the 17 inch alloys that look a bit overdone to me? You do have different ones on the style variant, and these are the ones that you will see on the lnk. Yes, there will be two variants of the skoda octavia, the split led lights at the rear are quite striking and the bold skoda lettering sits across the boot lip. Now you do get a bigger car, the dimensions have grown, it is 19 millimeters longer and 15 millimeters wider than before, and it is also more aerodynamic than its predecessor. Do those millimeters translate into more backseat space as well Music? Now there may be more space, but in the back seat it doesn’t feel drastically different to the earlier octavia. However, it still is a very spacious back seat to be in, as you can see, there’s loads of leg room uh. You can even stretch your feet out underneath the seats in front so yeah you can get very comfortable over here. What has changed drastically? Is these seats they’re so well, contoured, they’re, nice and soft there’s, a great leather and suede finish so yeah. The seats have become far more comfortable than before, and even the recline angle is much better. So yeah, comfort, wise the back seat, feels a lot better to be in at the moment.
On the feature front, you have the manual blinds, you have door pockets, you have a slot for your phone, the ac vents, the two c ports and some simply clever features like the slot for your phone uh, which is in the bucket of the seat in front And you do have a bigger slot there as well the touch lights, it’s, a small things like this – that really make this car feel premium rich and luxurious and, of course, arm rest with cup holders. So yeah the back seat gets a thumbs up from me, Music. Well, while you guys check out the dashboard in front i’m, going to just hop into the front seat Music, it is a minimalist interior and those used to the flash and drama of the likes of the koreans may find this a bit underwhelming. But i love this sedate, but stylish appeal look a little closer and you will find a rich european, build quality and premium materials with a feature list. That is quite long. Let’S take a look Music okay, so there are some big misses like ventilated seats, something that i find is extremely helpful and one has come to expect, especially in a car of this price point and then, of course, the sunroof. Now that, according to me, isn’t really a big miss because in our weather, with the heat and the pollution, where does one really use that sunroof and if you’re thinking about the kids sticking their head out? Well, that shouldn’t be done in any case it really isn’t safe.
But of course it is an expectation, especially at a car at this price, and so it is miss on the feature list. What you do get is a really rich. Looking fantastic quality interior, i mean there’s. This really soft touch on the top of the dash. There is the suede finish that sweeps right across the piano black. It all feels really really luxurious, and then i like the way that the infotainment system is really inset. It doesn’t go above the dash line, so it doesn’t hamper your vision, even though it is a standalone tablet. You of course, have the slider bar to adjust the volume, which means you don’t really have to take your eye off the road. You have the virtual cockpit, which has you know, all the information and a variety of settings over there. This beautiful two spoke steering with the floating. I mean it is a really really nice design and of course you have the steering functions. You have paddle shifters as well lots of storage spaces for practicality cup holders. Everything has a really nice finish to it. Everything has a rubberized bottom. The pocket doors are felt line as well. So you can see where the money has been spent on this car. It does have a button bar below the infotainment system for easier access to functions, which is always good. The only thing is when you need to use the fans which you have to is like a three or four step, because you get into the climate and then every time you restart the car, it goes into smart ac, so you have to get it into the Classic version and then access the fan, so yeah that’s a bit of a bummer.
There are other nice touches like the backlit c ports and there’s. Also, the wireless charger which is in a nice and spacious cubby hole which is easy to access the front seats too, are well contoured and comfortable Music and also here’s something that’s different. The gear lever it well, it isn’t really a lever it’s, just a rocker and that’s, because this is shift by wire. What that is, i’ll tell you in a while, but for now let’s get going. Shall we ah the first thing, one notices when one gets into a car when it’s swelteringly hot outside, is how well the ac works and though the center ac vents are set quite low, they are pretty efficient and i have to say this. One is cooling me down pretty well Applause with a massive range of seat adjustment, it’s, really easy to find a good driving position. Visibility is really good. It’S, a nice wide glass area and the car sort of wraps itself around you doesn’t feel too large. When you drive it Music to power, the octavia is the two liter four cylinder tsi seen in the skoda: superb, with 190 hp. This comes mated to a 7 speed, dsg that adapts to your driving style and for the first time, is shift by wire. As i said earlier now, what shift by wire means is that there’s, no mechanical or physical linkages between the lever and the transmission it’s all done electronically? What else is done electronically? Is the parking brake so uh that’s changed too, and it all frees up a lot of place in the central console area? Because no longer do you have a big lever or a hand, brake lever, so that’s how you get this really nice big wireless charging pad right up here in front which is very easy to access.
Now, while we are talking about the gears for most, the gearbox works, really smooth, it’s easy shifts, come well enough. Put your foot down and the kick down comes quick enough too, and when you want to counter that and you need a really quick set of downshifts, you also have the paddles. If you want to slow down really quickly now where the gearbox sometimes gets a little bit, snappy is when you at low rpms like this, and you want to suddenly move on, and you put your foot down it kind of snaps into a gear. So you can feel that sometimes when you’re ambling around in a city but if you’re at path throttle, it works really well it’s. Only when you need that sudden burst of power that it can sometimes snap into a gear. We noticed this more when we were treading traffic earlier on. Our drive. Getting out of the city, however, use it as power throttle, and it works well enough. The octavia cuts through traffic smoothly performance, it’s, clean it’s, smooth, it’s refined and the bite really comes in after about 2000 rpm. When you get a nice kick and surge of power, and then you ride that wave of torque all the way to 6000 rpm Music. On the whole performance is very close to what it was before. Despite the bigger engine, 0 100 is now 8 seconds. We’Ve also come to expect drive modes on cars of a certain category and the octavia doesn’t have them.
The only change that one can affect is by using manual or sport mode on the gear rocker. But honestly i didn’t miss it at all. The thing is, the performance of the octavia is another one of its strengths and power. Delivery is just effortless, so that’s a lot of info but i’m sure every enthusiast also dying to know. Does it still handle as well or maybe better well i’m off to find me some winding roads? The drive gave me a chance to check out the music system and the 12 speaker, 600 watt canton system on the ln case sounds great, but i’m, not really convinced with the slider it’s a nice gimmick. But if i have the rotary dial on the steering, why do i really need it to increase the volume? The drive also gives me some really bad patches of road which are under construction, and that gave me a good opportunity to test the ride quality. Now the octavia does manage to smother the bumps pretty well. However, there is a firm edge to the ride and does get caught out on ruts and sharper potholes still for its segment. I would say it is one of the best ride, qualities out there, because it does damp the road pretty well. What it doesn’t manage to do is damp the sounds that come in when you go over potholes or ruts, or expansion gaps and a lot of those filter through a short distance away.
I finally found a small winding statue of road Music Applause. I really like this two spoke steering. I mean it is very nice and it gives you a nice heft as well it’s light and easy in the city, but when you’re, cornering and you’re at higher speeds like this, it feels really connected and planted it’s crisp, it’s clean, and it gives you a good Amount of confidence, the octavia handling, is very predictable and it’s easy to enjoy a winding section of road, good levels of grip and a composed manner, along with the legendary tough build, just add to the levels of confidence behind the wheel over the day, the general feeling Is that the octavia is what it sets out to be a sedan that feels luxurious on the inside ferries, you to places in comfort and can be fun to drive when you want or as effortless as you need a whole day of driving and filming. And i could still drive some more. The octavia comes with only the petrol option. They will not have a diesel next year, they’re also likely to bring in the 1.5 tsi as an addition, and we could also probably see the rs version. Music fact is that there are not many sedans in this segment, especially ones that are fun to drive and have a cabin that could easily be mistaken for a more luxury premium sedan, especially if you hide the badge on that lovely two spoke steering.
It does miss out on some features like sunroof and maybe ventilated seats and drive modes things you expect when you buy a pricey car. But what you do get is a lovely looking car with a superbly crafted interior loads of tech that massive massive boot performance ride, handling comfort, it’s. All there it’s improved on every front.