The 1.0 3-cylinder 115bhp petrol engine in the Skoda Octavia wins us over
UP to quite recently, I wasn't a big fan of 1.0 litre engines but the new 1.0 3-cylinder 115bhp petrol engine in the Skoda Octavia totally won me over when I took it for a lengthy test drive time as it delivers a superior performance in every category when compared to the previous 1.2 petrol engine it replaces.
Skoda claims it is so efficient that it gives the comparable Octavia 1.6 TDI 110bhp diesel engine a run for its money in terms of overall running costs. This means Irish customers should focus on performance and not on engine size when it comes to selecting their car.
Most people buy diesel to save on tax and fuel over a petrol car - and will pay a premium for the diesel. But how long will it take to recoup the savings by reducing your operating costs? Skoda reckon with the new 1.0 petrol engine (which sips just 1.1 Litres more per 100km than the 1.6 diesel with 110bhp), it could take years for the diesel version to justify and recoup the savings on fuel alone. That helps brings petrol back into the equation.
Octavia is a solid car with good room inside, front and rear and the cabin is a very comfortable place to spend time in and to enjoy. I liked the fit and finish, the simple layout, nothing too distracting; everything just right. A lovely sized car, with really good power.
Octavia offers a lovely driving position; seats are really comfy and front ones are height adjustable.
Dials are typical Volkswagen, clear and simple. Good knobs for climate control, so no going through the touch screen (which is easy to use really as you just slide your finger across to select radio stations). All round visibility is also good.
You'll find a huge boot with an extra area on each side, a low boot floor and a spare tyre. One thing I would change, though, are the slippery rubber mats in the review car, which are great for farmers as they can be washed, but too slippery for shoes with leather soles.
Trims are Active, Ambition, Style and L&K. My car was the Style grade. Style features included tinted windows, ESC, front fog lights, remote central locking, Cruise control with speed limiter, 9.2-inch sat nav and infotainment system, dual zone climate control, Bluetooth, an excellent reversing camera, full complement of airbags, trip computer, Aux-In, USB, Wi-Fi with additional SD card slot, and power folding mirror. It also had the Optional Sport Pack at €1,495, with sports interior with sports seats, sport steering wheel, rear tailgate lip spoiler, tinted glass, and 17-inch alloys, and Bi-Xenon headlights with AFS.
Besides offering a great drive, the car is very quiet on the road, is agile for town driving and sails along motorways with ease. The 6-speed manual gearbox is well suited to the engine but a DSG 6-speed automatic is also offered in both petrol and diesel options.
This 1.0 takes 9.9 seconds for the 0-100km/h sprint but in ordinary everyday driving it gathers pace quickly, with good early pulling power.
Official combined fuel consumption is 4.5 L/100kms (this equates to 62.7mpg which is a bit better than my 5.0 L/100kms); annual road tax is €190 (Band A3).
Octavia was awarded a maximum score of five stars in the Euro NCAP crash test. My review car, in Candy White exterior, came in at €25,730 excluding delivery charges but Octavia prices start at €18,995.
I would have no hesitation in recommending it to any potential buyer.