2021 Skoda Octavia Road Test Review

Skoda in India is primarily known for the Octavia that they launched way back in 2002. This was their very first car model for India and a model that made them good name and put them into the game establishing them as one of the finest car makers in their segment. The Octavia has always been known for its unmatched quality, fit finish, drive pleasure and overall appeal. Hailing from the Volkswagen Group a lot of stuff on the Octavia trickles down from the Audi range of cars putting it in a different league. Now Skoda is all set to launch the 2021 version of the Octavia, we drove it for our review and here is how it fared. Read on to know all on what all has changed on one of the best cars in its class.

Food for Thought

The 1st generation of the Octavia was launched in 1996 globally and it entered the Indian market in 2002. Later Skoda renamed the Octavia as the Laura for some time but returned back to the original Octavia name after a few years. The Octavia has been known to use the same platform as other cars from the Volkswagen group that include the Audi A4, Volkswagen Jetta, Volkswagen Golf to name a few. Currently in its 4th generation codenamed as the NX made its global appearance in 2020.

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Exteriors

First things first, the fourth-generation Octavia leaves a larger footprint than the previous model, with the sedan being 19mm longer and 15mm wider, too. The Octavia has always been a smart looking car in its class and the handsome styling continues on the latest version too. On first look the new Octavia reminds you a lot of the latest generation Superb which is a big compliment for it. The car looks very sporty and premium in terms of its overall design. Upfront you get the new Skoda family grille finished in thick chrome surrounds and engulfed with vertical slats in black finish. The all LED headlights come with dual xenon glow and also get a very neat looking angularly styled DRL’s integrated in them which double up us follow me turn lights too.

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The front bumper gets a touch of roundedness and looks wider thanks to the horizontally placed chrome strip that mates the wide styled LED fog lamps. The bonnet comes with the unique character lines of the Skoda family making the front end look classy and catchy. Coming to the sides the key highlights here is the chrome window line that adds a lot of glamour, sharp waistline that runs across the length and the sporty designed dualtone alloy wheels with R17 sized tyres. We drove the Laurin & Klement trim which is the top of the line variant and gets a special badging on the fenders. At the rear you get some classy looking crystal style all LED taillights.

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The boot lid also gets the SKODA badging while the all new styled bumper comes with sharp character lines along with slim type stop reflectors. What we majorly missed on the Octavia is the sunroof, we feel a car of this class and price deserves an electric sun roof. We are told that the global model of the Octavia does not come with a sunroof and this being a CKD built unit in India it misses out on it.

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Interiors

The Octavia has always been known for its plush exteriors and interiors and with the 2021 update the sedan gets an all new cabin. The premium cabin comes with a all new dualtone dashboard made of soft touch rubbery material like any premium car. Key highlights here include an suede leather insert along with hand stitching and a glossy black insert making things more exciting in here. The other highlight on the dash is the 10 inch floating touchscreen AVN system that gets all the connectivity features which include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Skoda Connect, Radio, Bluetooth connectivity etc.

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You get wireless charging and two USB C type charge ports upfront along with a two zone flawless climate control unit. The sound system is a 12 speaker Canton system that pumps out some premium quality music. The steering comes with a unique two spoke design making it look very different, you get manual adjust for height and reach along with premium quality MFD buttons on this leather wrapped premium feel steering.

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The instrument cluster again is a 10 inch color display which Skoda calls as the virtual cockpit. This intuitive screen reads out all the needed telltales flawlessly. The most unique feature as per us on the New Octavia is the shift by wire drive shifter. This is a very compact unit that replaces the conventional shifter stalk. You just need to tap it into the desired drive mode, this not only looks futuristic but also helps in freeing up space. The seats get leather upholstery along with suede inserts on them. Both the front seats get full electric adjusts with memory function. Comfort level is pretty high with loads of leg, knee and shoulder room. The seats have these unique shoulder pads that support you.

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Rear seats comes with three adjustable headrests, folding arm rest with cup holder and rear AC vents along with USB C charge ports. Rear seating is pretty comfortable for two adults. Third passenger can fit in the middle but his feet won’t be comfortable due to the raised transmission tunnel. Rear seating is excellent with more than good knee room, head room and shoulder room.

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You also get rear window curtain to enhance privacy. In terms of storage the Octavia has always been renowned for its boot space and the New one gets 600 litres at its rear end which can be further enhanced to 1555 litres folding down the rear seats.

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Engine – Transmission – Drive

The 2021 Skoda Octavia will only be available with a petrol engine. Skoda along with Volkswagen and Audi have not got their Diesel power plants into India after the BS-6 norms came in place. Powering this car is the 2.0L TSI Petrol engine. This Turbo Petrol engine makes 190PS of power and 320Nm of torque. Yes this is the same family engine that also powers other models like the Superb, Tiguan, Kodiaq, A4 etc. Transmission on here is the 7-speed DSG dual clutch unit.

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The drive quality is easily the best in class; the Octavia just glides above any road condition that it is put on. The car feels extremely nimble and easy to drive around small roads or traffic conditions. Power delivery is not instant but it is highly refined and very good once you into the turbo zone. The steering feels very light and nimble which adds to the ease of driving a car this size. As speed builds up you can feel the steering also get a bit heavier.

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The Octavia is a fun car to drive, if the automatic shifting does not fulfill your needs you also have the paddle shifter to play with. Skoda has also paid good attention to levels of refinement for the cabin of the Octavia, with big improvements in sound-deadening meaning less noise and vibration is felt through the cabin compared to the older model. Comfort level in the Skoda Octavia is pretty high and the occupants are always reminded they are driven around in a premium class car.

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Verdict

The Octavia has always been a very important and big selling car model from Skoda and with the 2021 edition the new model takes this lineage ahead. The car easily is the best car in its class to drive and be driven around in, it looks very chic and European, the safety levels are pretty high, comes with a pretty powerful and tireless engine-transmission combo. Well in short the Skoda Octavia is a more car for less price and eats into the Premium car segment while offering a lot more making it a very good option in its class.

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The Skoda Octavia will be priced in the Rs. 25 Lakh to 30 Lakh price segment being a CKD import and would be available in two trims , Style and Laurin & Klement. Will we still opt for it? Yes we very well would.

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