When a car company looks to enter a new country, the all important decision is which car they launch first as it can make or break the company. When German-owned Czech car firm Skoda decided to release their Octavia a little over a decade ago, it’s hard to imagine whether any of the head honchos at Skoda had an inkling of what they started. This car took the automotive market by storm because no one had seen a car with such levels of quality, both inside and outside. Every panel, surface, switch and knob felt solid and as tight as a drum. The paintwork consisted of several coats, so it had much better scratch resistance and the overall effect was fantastic.
All this was way back in 2001 and now, Skoda has re-launched the famous Octavia and the success story looks poised for a repeat show! The new Skoda Octavia is powered by one of three engine options – a 1.4 litre, 4 cylinder, petrol motor that churns out 138 bhp; a 1.8 litre, 4 cylinder petrol mill that delivers 177.5 bhp; and a 2.0 litre, 4 cylinder, diesel powerplant that puts out 141 bhp. The 1.4 petrol comes connected with a 6-speed manual gearbox as standard and the 2.0 diesel can be ordered with either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic transmission. However, the 1.8 TSI petrol comes only with a 7-speed, dual clutch automatic transmission. The diesel engine is a little rough around the edges but apart from that, driving this car is sublime.
The car absorbs pretty much every bump, dip and pothole with ease and when you put your foot down, the handling of the car is far crisper than several cars that are built from the ground up to be sporty. The inside of the car is such a lovely place to be. It’s swathed in all the right materials; be it leather, wood or chrome and, as always, everything feels built to last. There’s a large and beautiful panoramic sunroof, a 12-way electrically adjustable driver’s seat and cruise control on the top end variant. The other variants are by no means ignored in the features department. Depending on the variant, they get a 5.8″ touchscreen LCD display to control the infotainment system, steering-mounted controls, dual zone climate control, rear AC vents, Bluetooth telephony, rain-sensing wipers, reading and puddle lamps, cooled glove box and a cavernous boot that’s just a snatch under 600 litres.
All of this opulence can be enjoyed peacefully because the Skoda Octavia 2013 comes with oodles of gadgetry that makes it very safe as well, such as 6 airbags on the top end ‘Elegance’ variant, ABS with EBD and BA, electronic stability control, parking sensors, keyless entry with control for the doors, boot, windows and sunroof and an engine immobiliser. The 2013 Skoda Octavia price bracket ranges from just under Rs. 17 lakhs to around Rs. 24 lakhs depending on the location of the purchase and the variant in question.
But no matter which variant you buy, as almost every Skoda Octavia review will tell you, this is one cracking car to have. It is truly a worthy successor to the original Octavia we knew and loved and begs the question: With this new sedan giving more expensive cars a serious run for their money in every aspect, why would one pay truckloads more money and buy one of those? For Skoda, there was indeed no looking back after having created such a powerful first impression and although all their models have less expensive alternatives from other manufacturers, for people who understand the experience of owning and driving Skoda cars, the premium they pay is indubitably worth every penny.