Don’t close the window just yet. Although you may not have heard about Skoda before, it’s a name worth looking out for. Last week I got by in the Skoda Octavia 1.8 TFSI. Under the bonnet you’ll find an engine shared with some Audis, while inside you’ll find an interior not dissimilar to vehicles in the Volkswagen range.
That all seems rather strange I hear you say. Well, there’s a reason behind all this. Owned by Volkswagen Group, Czech company Skoda has produced just over 2.0-million Octavias since 1996. They are literally everywhere in Europe and anyone who test drives one in Australia will wonder why they didn’t hit our shores earlier.
Priced from just $30,990, the Octavia 1.8-TFSI features a turbocharged, 1.8-litre, 4-cylinder motor which pumps out 118kW and a smooth 250Nm of torque. The motor is tied to a 6-speed manual gearbox, which gets by with slick shifts and a very easy to use clutch. The motor is quite responsive and propels a car full of passengers along without even thinking twice. All this while only using 7.7-litres/100km of fuel – astounding.
The interior has an air of Volkswagen about it. Instead of lighting up with Volkswagen’s trademark blue background, the interior features a green ambience, differentiating it from the German manufacturer. Build quality and build materials inside the cabin are literally flawless, everything simple feels extremely well built. The doors close with confidence and there are no rattles to be heard of at highway speeds.
Interior room is adequate. The boot – all 560-litres of it! – provides plenty of storage space, while rear seat occupants have enough room to get their legs in comfortably.
Although the 1.8-TFSI isn’t a sports car – that title is left for the Octavia RS – it performs well enough for the average punter. There is a fair amount of body roll when thrown into a corner, but the standard ESP sorts out any potential understeer situations. The brakes are quite touchy, but they are very competent – even after several hard applications.
Standard features include: 16” alloy wheels; door mirrors with illumination; dual-zone climate control; fog lights; central locking; electric mirrors; electric windows; cruise control; heated exterior mirrors; 6-stack CD player with 8 loudspeakers and MP3 compatibility; AUX input; pollen filter and cooled glovebox.
Standard safety features include: ABS brakes with EBD, EBC, TCS, EDL, HBA and DSR; Electronic Stability Program; driver and passenger front airbags; driver and passenger side airbags; driver and passenger head airbags; front seats with active head rests and engine immobiliser.
The test vehicle came with a pretty dull colour, but aside from that, I was absolutely thrilled with the Octavia 1.8-TFSI. It came with a tremendous amount of features for a $30k car and had a very lively and energetic engine to boot.
You can also expect to receive a 3-year, unlimited kilometre warranty, along with 24-hour roadside assistance with your new Skoda – very impressive. Skoda is a brilliant value for money proposition. If you’re not a car nut and need a car to get you around, the new Octavia range has a vehicle to suit everyone’s needs. I really can’t speak highly enough of Skoda, take one for a test drive and you’ll see what I mean.