A romp through the Top Gear front man's frolic-filled life
Skoda Octavia Elegance 2.0 TDI 150 DSG review (2013 onwards)
Model: Skoda Octavia 2.0 TDI 150 DSG Elegance
Bodystyle: five-door hatch
Engine: 2.0 TDI turbodiesel
Transmission: six-speed twin-clutch automatic
Date of test: April 2013
First drive: Skoda Octavia (2013 onwards)
Read more Skoda car reviews
What is it?
Under the stewardship of Volkswagen, Skoda has developed from a budget car brand to a value for money car brand. That may sound like there’s scarcely been any transition at all but Skoda has actually been on a very important journey, one that few marques from the lower end of the market complete successfully.
For evidence of what’s changed, you need look no further than this Skoda Octavia 2.0 TDI DSG Elegance. It’s a generously proportioned family hatchback but it certainly isn’t cheap. Instead, here’s a Skoda that aims to tempt buyers with its quality, technology and sophistication. Will it work?
Where does it fit?
Now in its third generation, the Octavia is Skoda’s mid-range stalwart sitting between the Fabia supermini and the big boned Superb. It’s a difficult car to classify because although it’s based on the same platform as Volkswagen Group family hatchbacks like the Golf and Leon, it’s larger. Compared to the Golf, the Octavia has 15mm of extra width and a huge 400mm of extra length.
it’s significantly bigger than the Golf
It all means that, in terms of capacity, the Octavia sits somewhere between family hatchbacks and full-size family cars like the Ford Mondeo or Volkswagen’s Passat.
Is it for you?
At over £23,000 before any options have been added, this Octavia is firmly at the upper end of the family hatchback class. The car we tested had over £6,000 worth of options taking it to within a set of luxury shag-pile floor mats of £30,000. For a Skoda, that’s mega bucks.
And yet, the Skoda Octavia 2.0 TDI 150 DSG Elegance has a very good stab at justifying the cost. It’s the latest generation Octavia based on the same architecture that debuted and was roundly praised on the seventh generation VW Golf. As we’ve said, it’s significantly bigger than the Golf though with superior rear legroom and a cavernous boot to make light of the most arduous family duties.
There’s an advanced 2.0-litre common-rail diesel engine in the nose and a DSG twin-clutch automatic gearbox to change gear for you. Elegance trim loads on a host of attractive extras from 17” alloy wheels to dual-zone climate control, touch-screen sat-nav and DAB digital radio.
What does it do well?
There’s a really premium feel about this Skoda. We’re in posh Elegance trim with a lot of extras tagged on but it will still be a surprise for a lot of people to find a car from the Czech marque that gives so little away to premium brand German cars on perceived quality.
The VW group’s 2.0 TDI diesel engine is one of the best of its type and, in 150hp guise with the DSG self-shifting gearbox, it lends an effortless quality to the Octavia. This is a fine motorway car and, dare we say it, a prime candidate for taxi fleets in a few years’ time. The ride is comfortable and there’s ample overtaking urge. Given its
In the corners it displays impressive composure
head, the car will hit 60mph from a standstill in 8.3s and reach a 134mph top speed.
What doesn’t it do well?
The Octavia is doomed to be constantly compared to the excellent seventh generation Volkswagen Golf with which it uses a platform. In the corners it displays impressive composure but the suspension doesn’t quite have the silky suppleness found on the Volkswagen. There may be a touch more engine noise too, perhaps a product of less comprehensive sound proofing on the Skoda.
What's it like to live with?
So it’s not quite as polished on the road as a Golf but that still means the Octavia out classes the majority of family hatchbacks from a driving point-of-view. From a space point-of-view it out strips them all.
There’s a 590-litre boot back there
Outside, the understated but handsome looks suggest it’s a saloon but the Octavia is most certainly a hatch, and what a hatch! There’s a 590-litre boot back there (a Golf has 380 litres) and 1,580 litres if you fold the rear seats. Passenger accommodation is just as generous with lots of rear leg and headroom even for taller adults.
How green is it?
The Octavia’s strong fuel economy adds to its ability as a motorway mile-muncher. Officially, its thirst is measured at 62.8mpg on the combined cycle with a CO2 output of 119g/km. There’s also a stop-start system on this automatic Octavia but we found it a little too eager to engage and occasionally ponderous on the restart. The slight delay while the engine fires can be annoying when you’re trying to pull swiftly out of junctions.
Would we buy it?
If you’re still thinking of Skoda as a budget car brand, it may be time you reassessed its positioning. This top spec Octavia has a flagrantly premium feel about it but it’s a classiness that’s reflected in the price tag.
This is a highly impressive car with composed manners, a strong turn of pace and prodigious carrying capacity. The idea of paying over £23,000 for a Skoda Octavia might take some getting used to but this is the top-spec car in the range and the aforementioned qualities are still in evidence on less opulent models.
related stories on msn
Latest Cars videos
Check out the Shockwave Jet Truck racing at Toronto Motorsports Park in Cayuga, Ontario, Canada. Powered by 3 Pratt and Whitney J34-48 jet engines, which are usually found in the U.S. Navy's T2A Buckeye plane! Now that's intense!
Date 25/07/14, Duration 3:54, Views 977