2008 Skoda Octavia and Roomster First Steer

Skoda Octavia

- by Paul Maric

After a lengthy break from the Australian market, Skoda has returned offering two models catering for varying audiences. The Octavia and Roomster models – both built in the Czech Republic – arrive offering proven reliability and affordability, with stylish looks and practicality thrown in for good measure.

The Octavia model is offered in both hatch and wagon with engine variants ranging from torquey diesels, right through to turbocharged petrol monsters. The interior of the Octavia feels surprisingly well built and offers commendable rear leg room. Open the boot and 560-litres of cargo capacity is available with the seats up, whilst 1420-litres can be accessed with the rear seats down.

Offered in three grades – Ambiente, Elegance and RS – standard features across the range include: Alloy wheels; remote central locking; automatic air conditioning; power windows; MP3-compatible CD player; engine immobiliser; leather steering wheel; trip computer; cruise control and electric mirrors.

Skoda is big on safety, that’s why Electronic Stability Program (ESP) is standard across all Octavia and Roomster models. All models also receive 6-airbags as standard equipment – two front airbags, two curtain airbags and two side airbags.

Skoda’s Roomster is a uniquely designed car which offers practicality and versatility in the one package. The rear row of seats is extremely easy to climb in and out of, catering for both children and the elderly. The second row of seats can also be entirely removed from the vehicle, increasing cargo capacity from 530-litres with seats in, to a class leading 1780-litres with rear seats removed.

The Roomster comes in one grade – called ‘Style’ – and features: Remote central locking; front and rear power windows; electric wing mirrors; heated wing mirrors; automatic air conditioning; eight speaker CD/MP3 system; cruise control; alloy wheels; trip computer and leather bound steering wheel.

Available with two engines – a 1.6-litre petrol and 1.9-litre diesel – the Roomster struggles a bit with the 1.6-litre petrol. The 1.9-litre diesel is definitely the pick of the bunch.

Priced from $29,990 for the Octavia Ambiente sedan, the range tops out at $37,490 for the turbocharged RS sports model. The wagon version of the Octavia is available for an additional $2,000 over the sedan.

Roomster pricing begins at $26,990 for the 1.6-litre petrol and ends at $28,990 for the 1.9-litre diesel (only available in five-speed manual). The petrol can be optioned with a 6-speed automatic for an additional $2,300.

The launch program also involved some time behind the wheel at a private race circuit in the RS and turbocharged 1.8-litre models. The RS offered blistering performance around the circuit; the 2.0-litre turbocharged motor is sourced from the Volkswagen Golf GTi and moves the RS along with little haste.

Through corners, the body sits extremely flat, while the standard Michelin Pilot Sport 225/40 18” tyres provide seemingly unlimited grip on all types of surfaces.

Skoda’s re-entry into Australia is good news for the public. On offer are a range of vehicles that offer plenty of space, practicality and safety. Featuring a 5-star ANCAP safety rating, the Roomster caters for small families, or people who like to get away on weekends.

The Octavia on the other hand offers an alternative to large sedans. Those with a sporty nature will naturally swing toward the RS version of the Octavia which offers the ultimate bang for your buck. 10 dedicated dealerships will start the Skoda ball rolling, including one in Geelong.