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The Warsaw Voice » Society » January 26, 2012
CAR REVIEW: Skoda Octavia 1.8 TSI Family Plus
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Still Attractive
January 26, 2012   
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The Skoda Octavia has long topped sales charts among compact cars on the Polish market. Customers praise the car for its spacious and comfortable interior, extensive equipment and a wide range of engines, transmissions and drive types.

The model’s history dates back to 1996, when the first Skoda Octavia hit the market. In 2004, the second-generation Octavia was unveiled. The way it looks now is due to a facelift that the Skoda underwent four years ago. Despite the passage of time, the car still looks attractive. Although it is not exactly an example of stylistic extravagance, it attracts the eye with its well-balanced proportions and quiet elegance.

The Skoda Octavia is available in two versions: as a five-door liftback and as a station wagon. Interestingly, both versions have almost identical dimensions: 4,569 mm long and 1,731 mm wide, and the only difference is that the station wagon is 6 millimeters taller than the liftback (1,462 mm).

The test-drive liftback was only slightly less functional than the station wagon. The trunk is a spacious 560 liters and its maximum loading capacity is 675 kg—figures without parallel among compact cars; and, in fact, few models in higher segments can compete with the Octavia in this respect.

Other pluses of the Octavia include easy access to the trunk thanks to a large hatch, and the fact that the trunk has a regular shape, which makes it easier to pack all your baggage. The car comfortably seats four adult passengers. There is plenty of room on the front seats, and plenty in the back. There may be a small problem when the front seats are pulled all the way back: the compartments under the front seats take up space and prevent the backseat passengers putting their feet under the front seats.

The Skoda Octavia is available with a range of no fewer than 11 engines, both gasoline units (including a turbocharged one) and turbodiesels. Every buyer will find something for themselves. The test-drive model was fitted with a 1.8-liter/152 hp turbocharged gasoline engine, which offers excellent performance without being too thirsty. With the car weighing in at 1,275 kg, this engine is good off a green traffic light, hitting 100 kph from standstill in 8.1 seconds and capable of delivering a top speed of 219 kph. And all without the “turbo lag” effect otherwise typical of turbocharged engines. The Octavia’s maximum torque of 250 Nm is available from 1,500 all the way to 4,500 rpm, as a result of which there’s sufficient engine power practically all around the rev range. According to the manufacturer’s technical data, average fuel economy is a respectable 6.9 l/100km. Even though during the test-drive fuel consumption was more than 2 liters higher, this was nonetheless acceptable considering the dimensions of the car and its engine parameters. The test-drive Octavia was a front-wheel drive with a six-speed manual transmission that ran precisely and was well tuned with the engine.

The main selling points of the Skoda Octavia are its spacious and functional interior and extensive standard equipment (including ABS/ESP, a full set of airbags, manual air conditioning, and an electric package), combined with good handling and an even better engine. The only glitch that bothered me during the test-drive was the unpleasant-to-the-touch plastic on the steering wheel and the gear stick knob, but this problem could be easily fixed by ticking off an extra leather package (leather-encased steering wheel and gear knob) for zl.1,000—an acceptable additional cost given that the Family Plus version is priced at a reasonable zl.75,900.
Bartosz Grzybiński
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