28.6.2011 Skoda Octavia GreenLine II review
Well built, spacious and value for money; we almost know the Skoda proposition for its Octavia hatchback and estate models off by heart. This is an honest car for the family motorist who isn't a badge snob and wants to keep transport costs under control. You have to respect Skoda for what they do and how they do it.
You can understand why owners swear by them and there's a wave of new models coming from around September to tempt more into the Skoda fold. Octavia hatchbacks are now being offered from just £10,995 on the road or £149 per month with Skoda Finance.
Review by Russell Bray for nextgreencar.com
The 1598cc 144bhp engine in this GreenLine model is quite diesely sounding but not unpleasant. It just wants to be off and revs fairly freely, yet with a mass of torque in fourth gear it can chug along at 1,000rpm at just over 30mph. Acceleration from 0-62mph in 11.4 seconds isn't dramatic but the car feels brisker once rolling. Top speed is a more than adequate 119mph. Engine quite loud at times but note is not unpleasant.
The big surprise with the Octavia is how enjoyable it is to drive on a twisty road. The chassis is nicely balanced and quite 'pointy' without being nervous; it feels very well planted and behaves consistently. You can turn smartly into corners as you ease off the nicely modulated brakes with precision.
Take away the family grille and the Octavia could be Japanese or Korean meaning there's nothing to offend the eye but nothing to delight it either. There's no question that saloons look more upmarket and less sales rep than hatchbacks so the Czech solution is to make a hatchback that looks like a saloon. After parking in heavy rain you'll wish there was a wiper for that big rear window though. The back seats are adequate and the boot is huge. Boot volume is from 585 litres to 1455 litres with rear seats folded. Length is 4569mm and width is 1769mm.
COMFORT & CONTROLS
Some people will find the Octavia's cabin bland and a bit low rent but I welcome the lack of gimmicks. The attention to sensible detail, and quality, shows with the metal door handles which have fabric trim on the back so they are not freezing cold to the touch in winter.
The instruments aren't lit unless the car's lights are on which removes the danger of people driving around wrongly thinking they can be seen. Okay, you have to dip the interior mirror yourself but so what? Factory fit satellite navigation is a pricey £1,515 and couldn't find some places I wanted.
MPG & RUNNING COSTS
In heavy traffic the Octavia managed 40mpg, pretty good I thought for a big car with three on board. Out of town driving in a restrained fashion, two up, it easily nudged 65mpg – but achieving the official 74mpg combined figure would take some effort and quiet roads. Carbon dioxide emissions of 99g/km put the Skoda in band A with no annual road tax and exemption from the London Congestion Charge. It has a three years/60,000 mile warranty and service intervals are every 10,000 miles.
The 1.6 litre turbocharged engine is fitted with a high efficiency common rail injection system, diesel particulate system and automatic start-stop to save fuel in traffic. Brake energy recuperation also improves fuel consumption. Skoda is working on electric GreenLine models with lithium-ion batteries and a range-per-charge of 88 miles which would meet the requirements of most everyday commuters in Europe. By several improvements to the engine and body, Skoda have managed to bring the CO2 down to 99g/km, giving it an impressive Next Green Car Rating of 28.
There's more standard kit than you first notice including halogen projector headlights, alloy wheels, tinted glass, cruise control, leather rimmed steering wheel, manual air conditioning, touch screen radio with six CD changer, automatic start-stop system, remote control central locking and tyre repair kit (no spare wheel). Metallic paint, including Black Magic Pearl is £440 extra. Bluetooth connection is a hefty £445. Press a button on the extra cost (£1,515) sat nav and you get a very good map on the large screen. Press another button and six radio stations are displayed. Another touch and it tunes in.
Model tested: Skoda Octavia GreenLine II 1.6 TDI CR
Body-style: Five-door hatchback
Vehicle class: Small family
Engine/CO2: 144bhp 1.6 litre turbo diesel / 99 gCO2/km
On-road price: £17,705
Warranty: Three years/60,000 miles
In the showroom: Available now
Review rating: 4.0 STARS
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