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2023 Skoda Octavia 1.0 review: Stylish sensibility

2023 Skoda Octavia 1.0 review: Stylish sensibility
PHOTO: Motorist

Skoda joins its VAG stablemates in launching a downsized version of their bread-and-butter saloon offering. It offers a refined drive and a comprehensive equipment list at a relatively wallet-friendly price point.

This is a stark contrast to just a decade and a half ago, where typically wallet-friendly cars tend to come saddled with compromises in their manufacturer's attempts at chasing profits. There's no sense that any of these traits are present in the Octavia 1.0 litre.

And in fact, it goes one better. It isn't just being a practical daily runabout, but one that has some character. Especially when you engage in some spirited driving.

How does it look?

This update is strictly mechanical, so the exterior of the car remains unchanged. The car's best angle is no doubt from its rear three quarters, with robust bodylines emanating Germanic style and sensibilities.

I'm personally not a huge fan of the front end (the grille is a touch too big for my liking), though there's no denying its quality. In this Style trim level, the car comes with full LED Matrix headlights with LED DRLs, 18 inch wheels and colour contrast chrome trim.

It isn't what I'd deem as traditionally handsome, but the designers have done a good job in making the car look smart and feel premium.

What's inside?

Right off the bat, I'd have to give Skoda credit for creating one of the better interiors amongst its other MQB Evo stablemates.

Skoda's dashboard presents the biggest departure to the VAG norm, with a far more curvaceous design language as compared to the restraint offered by its German and Spanish marque mates.

Our test car has been optioned with a striking silver trim panel that spans the width of the dashboard.

The centre stack and screen breaks up the smooth, almost bow-like curve of the aforementioned trim panel.

You'll find Skoda-specific switchgear in this area, and everything appears to be more logically laid out than other offerings from the same parent company.

Props to the positioning of the 10 inch 'Bolero' infotainment screen — regardless of the lighting conditions, I never once had to deal with glare from the panel catching stray light rays. It is also feature packed, with all the goodies you'd expect from cars retailing for far more coin.

Android Auto worked flawlessly, with the car automatically registering and connecting to my smartphone almost instantaneously.

You're blessed with sufficient horizontal real estate, which makes long trips, especially when it involves crossing the causeway, tolerable even for rear seat passengers.

You may want to make sure these occupants have their own power banks though — there are no USB charging points in the rear of the Octavia.

How does it drive?

With a 109 bhp 1.0 litre Mild Hybrid drivetrain, you'd not win any traffic light Grand Prixes.

But you'd probably have expected that by now. The engine and gearbox combo has clearly been set up with efficiency in mind, so the car tends to hang onto as high a gear as possible.

Couple that with the slippery body shape, and you have a car capable of coasting long distances without ever consuming any petrol.If you are in the right gear and in the correct bit of the rev range, there's actually sufficient torque for spirited forward progress.

However, off the line or if you decide to just mash the loud pedal, you'd be met with a slight delay, as the car downshifts then slowly finds its way into a more favourable part of the powerband.

Use the paddles to override the transmission to minimise this effect.

On the chassis front, as it has been built on a platform also used to create some of our most favourite hot hatches, there's still some sense of athleticism.

Feedback through the wheel is decent for what it is, the illusion no doubt assisted by a pleasant-to-use steering wheel with excellent overall ergonomics.

You can carry a surprising amount of pace into any corner sequence of your choosing.

The car's chassis responds favourably to this hooliganism, shrugging off any exuberance with nothing more than some very slight lateral movement from its hind end. So do not be fooled into thinking that this is a dreary vehicle just because it has a small engine.

Genuinely good all-rounder

Need space, desire Germanic underpinnings but you are on a budget? The Skoda Octavia should be on your shortlist!

With excellent fuel economy in even the worst traffic and weather conditions, proper comfort from a well appointed cabin and decent all-round practicality, it is the ideal starter Continental car.

It has also been priced to be right in the firing line of many other Asian offerings. And yet it really manages to hold its own, offering value in a way that may be hard to ignore for the car shopper!

Skoda Octavia 1.0 litre MHEV Style Specifications
Price: $168,900  VES Band: A1

Inline 3 Cylinder

1.0 litre

109 bhp,  Nm 200


Driven Wheels:

23.3 km/l

10.5 s

Top Speed:
202 km/h 

Fuel Tank Capacity:
45 litres


4,689 mm x 1,829 mm x 1,470 mm


2,686 mm

Cargo Capacity:
 600 litres

ALSO READ: Porsche reveals new facelift for the Cayenne Family

This article was first published in Motorist.

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