It’s fair to say that the Skoda Octavia is a bit of an Irish favourite, with the car consistently being one of the top selling models in Ireland. The Octavia’s generous interior space and value for money pricing makes it an irresistible package for Irish car buyers.
Skoda recently introduced a new 1.0-litre TSI engine to the Octavia range that will replace the 1.2-litre TSI 110bhp that was previously available. Reducing engine capacity in favour of turbo charging has become a popular trend in petrol technology, and this new engine is no different. The 1.0-litre turbocharged unit packs 115bhp and it’s also more efficient, returning up to 63mpg compared to 58mpg in the 1.2-litre TSI it replaces. CO2 emissions are down from 114g to 103g, so motor tax is €190 per year.
Of course, Ireland is still a diesel-loving country so Skoda also offers the Octavia with 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre diesels. In terms of power, the closest would be the 1.6-litre diesel with 110bhp. But petrol engines make a lot of sense for low mileage and/or urban drivers.
There is also something very pleasant and refined about a petrol engine. On the road, the Octavia 1.0 TSI is impressively smooth and refined, though when you do rev it hard you may be reminded of your granny’s old supermini. It pulls hard from about 2500rpm – that’s the sweet spot when it feels just as nippy as a diesel, though when you hit the accelerator it’s not immediately responsive. But once it starts spinning, the Octavia 1.0 TSI will make you smile. There is 200Nm of torque on offer compared to 250Nm in the 1.6 diesel Octavia, but the petrol is marginally quicker in a sprint to 100kmh if you’re interested in that sort of thing. So it can keep up with the best of them! Real world economy during my test drive was 47mpg.
Elsewhere, this is solid if not particularly exciting motoring. The steering has a good weighty feel to it but there is not much in the way of feedback and the car feels a bit heavy and stodgy in the corners. Ride comfort is generally good though not as supple as the very best in this regard. The Octavia is a class above in terms of interior space, with large rear footwells and a massive 590 litre boot. There is also something very reassuring about sitting into the cabin of an Octavia. Everything is in its right place and Skoda has really stepped up the quality in recent years, so it’s far from budget feeling.
There are currently four trim levels offered in Ireland: Active, Ambition, Style and L&K. Pricing starts at €18,995 for a very basic model. More realistic are Ambition models starting at what is still a very reasonable €22,880. Those cars include air con, cruise control, 16” alloys, four electric windows, rear parking sensors and a 6.5” touchscreen. Style models like the one on test start from €24,235 and include a rear reversing camera, dual zone climate control, rear LED lights, and a sports steering wheel. Diesels starts from €22,300.
The Skoda Octavia is clearly excellent value for the space on offer when compared to rivals. It’s not the most exciting car among its rivals, being quite conservatively styled and it won’t thrill you behind the wheel either but the 1.0-litre TSI does a great job here and gives the Octavia some real character.
Model tested: Skoda Octavia 1.0 TSI Style
Price: €25,730 (as tested including Sport Pack at €1,495)
Engine: 1.0-litre three cylinder turbo petrol
0-100km/h: 9.9 seconds
Claimed economy: 63mpg
CO2 emissions: 103g/km
Tax band: €190 per year