Skoda Octavia Hatchback (2013 -) Driving & Performance

Review by Tim Bowdler on
Last Updated: 02 Feb 2017
4
This is the third generation of the popular Skoda Octavia from the Czech maker. It is now 90mm longer and 45mm wider than the previous generation but it also looks more elegant than before.

3.5 out of 5

Performance

The Octavia’s engine range comprises 103bhp 1.2-litre and 138bhp 1.4-litre petrol units, as well as a 1.6-litre diesel with 103bhp and 108bhp power outputs.

The top-of-the-range 2.0-litre diesel delivers 147bhp but we think that the 138bhp 1.4-litre petrol is the best option if performance is your thing. This version will accelerate from 0-62mph in 8.4s with a top speed of 134mph. The 2.0-litre diesel is one tenth slower to 62mph and has a top speed of 133mph.

The 103bhp 1.2-litre has reasonable performance, getting to the benchmark sprint in 10.3s with a top speed of 121mph.

The 1.6-litre diesel model is adequate too. With 103bhp it achieves 62mph in 10.8s. The 1.4-litre is the pick of the bunch but the all-rounder is probably the 2.0-litre which offers a combination of good cruising ability as well as punchy acceleration.

A choice of five and six-speed manual transmissions are available as well as six-speed or seven-speed double-clutch automatic gearboxes. We wouldn’t bother with automatic versions, unless you really need an automatic - they blunt the performance (ever so slightly) and are less economical.

3 out of 5

Handling

The Octavia isn’t exactly a hoot to drive but it is perfectly competent. Around corners it’s much more wallowy than, say, a Ford Focus, SEAT Leon or VW Golf. It doesn’t quite have the poise of those three but it is capable when pushed.

The petrol models feel fractionally more assured in the tighter corners but it is marginal. There’s a bit of body lean and there’s not much in the way of steering feel. The manual gearbox is smooth though and the brakes are very dependable.

Owners can pick from three driving modes: Normal, Eco and Sport. You can also set the car up to your own individual requirement, delivering the desired mixture of all three.

The driving modes adjust the steering and throttle responses according the driving situation: If you are on a twisty B-road you might want to set it to Sport, while Eco is best for town driving and Normal makes most sense on the motorway.