Good value Octavia gets facelift and new turbocharged 1.4 TSI

What is it?

This is the facelifted Skoda Octavia, which gets a turbocharged 122bhp 1.4-litre TSI engine for the first time. The car maker claims this petrol unit gives a level of performance and running costs equivalent to a larger diesel engine.

The Octavia has new bumpers and a far less brash grille. Sadly, these changes are still not enough to stop the Octavia looking rather mundane and it will still struggle to stand out in an office car park.

The Octavia, as ever, uses a number of VW group parts and is based on the Mk5 Golf’s PQ35 platform, so despite being a new car there are a number of familiarities.

The standard equipment list is impressive for a car of this price and includes an eight-speaker, six CD stereo, dual-zone air conditioning, a leather steering wheel, and 16-inch alloys.

What’s it like?

The engine is not as groundbreaking as Skoda will have us believe, but it is direct injection and more powerful and quicker than the 1.6 FSI engine it replaces.

The Octavia is an easy car to drive and spending long periods of time behind the wheel is never a problem. Couple this to a decent ride and plenty of grip and you realise that it is a good all round car and excellent for getting from A to B with little fuss.

Is Skoda pulling its punches?

What it does lack is sparkle, as it never really excels at anything other than getting the job done. The 1.4 is willing but it can sound rough at times, and you need to rev it to deliver any meaningful performance (0-62mph arrives in 9.7 seconds).

Even though Skoda quotes 42.8mpg on the combined cycle (and emissions of 154/km) this would suffer if you give in to temptation to thrash the engine, and begs the question whether a lazy, torquey diesel would be better suited to the job.

Inside, cabin quality is enough to shame some of the Octavia’s upmarket rivals and it is no worse than you would expect from the VW Golf. The driving position is excellent and dispels the myth that you need myriad different adjustments to get the right fit – it just works as it is. There is plenty of space inside, too, especially at the back, and the Octavia has a cavernous 560-litre boot.

Should I buy one?

The Skoda Octavia 1.4 TSI is excellent value and in many ways it is hard to fault. Just don’t expect bags of character and check out the diesel variants before you make a choice.


Ollie Stallwood

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durleydave 31 May 2009

Re: Skoda Octavia 1.4 TSI

Recently replaced my Jazz SE (Superb 'shopping trolley') with CVT and Rover CDTi Connoisseur SE (Impressive 'magic carpet') with an Octavia L&K 1.8TSI with DSG.

I would have purchased the 1.4 version but this was not available in the L&K and big engine doesn't have to mean high consumption, your right foot decides that. So far (2500 miles) I am reasonably happy so far but have not sorted out the DSG box yet and am dissappointed with road roar on some surfaces. 17" wheels only avilable on L&K.

Compared with the Jazz it is obviously more difficult to park and the DSG is not seamless like the CVT but ride and road noise is much better in the Octavia. Compared with the Rover the ride and road noise is not quite so good but elsewhere it runs the Rover a very close second. One area it doesn't match, even in L$K mode is the feel good factor the Rover interior gives.

I checked out several other cars before deciding - latest Jazz, better than earlier version but still not good on long journeys - Golf, good but no better than Octavia - Audi A3, cramped - BMW 1 series, also cramped and over priced - 3 series, too big and even more over priced. Picking a version closest in discounted price and bring spec up to the L&K standard they where £1000-£5000 dearer and generally couldn't match the Skoda's performance.

Would I buy the same again, probably but if I can come to terms with the DSG and specify 16" wheels in the hope this would improve road noise, definitely

RMJ 19 May 2009

Re: Skoda Octavia 1.4 TSI

I decided a while ago that without doubt our next car would be an Octavia, more than likely the estate.

It's great to finally get the option of either an efficient petrol engine, or a common rail diesel. I honestly can't think of a more suitable post-credit boom family car.

Like some of you my driving style has changed, especially now that I'm a dad. As we're upgrading from a 00 plate Corsa I'm not too bothered about performance. Anything new and shiny will be a treat to drive, and own.

I only really buy Autocar these days as I still like to read about what my other car could be if I had the cash; currently a 4 door M3; but this changes daily.

eenymac 19 May 2009

Re: Skoda Octavia 1.4 TSI

bangertastic wrote:
Not sure if the Octavia is available with the new 1.8 TSI and 7spd DSG but that could be a great all-rounder in estate form. Would seriously consider one when the time comes to replace my Golf.

At the moment, the 1.8TSI / DSG combination is only available on the top of the range Laurin & Klement cars, although it's available on other levels as a manual only option. I did consider it as a manual but impending knee surgery tells me it's maybe time for an auto box (unless they fix things good and I don't need to change from a manual).