Home Cover Story Skoda OctaviaMakes a comeback in India

Skoda Octavia
Makes a comeback in India

Skoda OctaviaMakes a comeback in India

Skoda has launched the third generation Octavia in India, bringing back the popular name to the country once again

After an absence of 3 years, Skoda has brought the Octavia back to India. The first generation Octavia, launched in 2001, was phased out in 2010, in the shadow of the Laura. The second generation Octavia in Europe was introduced in India as the Laura. What the new Octavia brings to the table is a car that promises more than what the earlier Octavia, or the Laura came to offer, in terms of technology as well as architecture. Designed by Jozef Kaban, the new Octavia is based on Volkwagen Group’s MQB platform – a platform that also supports the Volkswagen Golf Mark 7, Seat Leon Mark 3, and the current Audi A3.


Like the Audi A3, in terms of styling, the Octavia seems to adopt a minimalist attitude. The design is fairly conservative though well proportioned. Elegant yet understated in appearance, the design is appealing for certain. Bringing up the front is a Skoda business grille and headlamps. They, along with other styling elements, result in a ‘chiselled jaw’ look. If the 16-inch wheels a little out of proportion (they are the same size as Laura’s wheels), the sides flaunt a minimalist look. The rear has some semblance to that of the Rapid.

Longer and wider than the Laura, the Octavia has a 2686 mm wheelbase, 109 mm more the Laura. The result is a cabin that is more spacious and comfortable than the Laura. The extra room has resulted in more legroom at the rear, and a seat that is more comfortable than that of the Laura’s rear seat. If this marks a distinct change over the earlier generation car, the new Octavia is lighter yet stiffer. The monocoque construction makes good use of high tensile steel. Some components have also seen light weighting – the resultant saving in weight being 70 kg over the Laura.

skoda2.jpgProduced at Volkswagen Group’s plant near Aurangabad from a CKD kit, the car feels as solidly built as the earlier Octavia and the Laura. In fact, there is a perceptible rise in quality. Not just in the way the doors open wide, and shut with a re-assuring ‘thunk’, but also in the way the cabin is put together. The trim parts contain ‘wood’ and chrome inserts. The soft touch plastics, and the switches with a solid, and good tactile feel add to the experience.

Though a Czech brand, the Octavia at every stage feels like a German automobile. Attention to details is evident from the damped movement of the glove box, the felt lined door pockets, etc. Features, though less than those found on the Octavia in Europe (forward collision warning, driver fatigue detection system, driver knee airbag, rear side airbags and active bonnet), include massive sunroof, powered driver’s seat with memory, dual-zone air-con, six-CD changer with Bluetooth, and parking sensors. Storage space is a huge 590 litres, accessed by a big tailgate hinged at the top.

Three engines are on offer: a 140PS 1.4-litre direct injection turbo petrol engine; an 180PS 1.8-litre direct injection petrol engine, and a 143PS 2-litre common-rail turbo diesel engine. The 1.4-litre petrol engine is mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. The 1.8-litre petrol engine is mated to a 7-speed DSG auto transmission. The 2-litre diesel engine is offered with a 6-speed manual, or 6-speed DSG auto transmission. Performance oriented, the 1.8 petrol is – it is quick and fast. The diesel, on the other hand, marks a good combination of performance and fuel efficiency.

If the Laura came with independent rear suspension, the new Octavia offers independent rear suspension on the 1.8 petrol version. The 1.4 petrol and 2.0 diesel cars get non-independent, torsion beam rear suspension. The cars with non-independent rear suspension may have a little edginess to their ride at lower speeds, but the new Octavia offers a good balance between ride and handling. At speeds the car feels planted, any tendency to under steer cancelled by the ESP. ABS is standard, and the brakes include ventilated discs at front, and discs at the rear.

Earning the reputation of being a reliable car that was priced highly competitively, the first generation Octavia was an instant success in the advanced markets of Europe as well as the new markets like India.

Skoda chose to make an entry into India in 2001 with the Octavia rather than the Felicia, which was earlier to be the car to be first introduced in India. The second generation Octavia (Laura in India) picked up from where the first generation left – in Europe as well as the other markets around the world including India. It earned the reputation of being better and more reliable; more desirable too.

The third generation Octavia is bigger, roomier and more comfortable. It is also priced higher than the Laura, in the range of Rs 13.96 lakh and Rs 19.45 lakh. As solid as the car it replaces, the new car is both involving to drive as well as comfortable to be driven in. A reflection of the new technologies that have gone into the making of
this car.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.