Skoda Octavia

14 Apr, 2004 12:15pm Owen Mildenhall

Skoda is now helping itself to the latest technology parent company VW has to offer. And the results are impressive.

Verdict

With a top-class interior, even more space than its predecessor, plus improved handling mated to Volkswagen's latest diesel powerplant, this Skoda oil-burner is a practical, well built alternative to rivals. Pricing has yet to be revealed, but if it remains competitive, the Octavia diesel will be an even better buy than ever.
We drove the all-new Octavia 1.6 FSI in Issue 800, and have now climbed behind the wheel of the oil-burning 140bhp 2.0-litre TDI, which will arrive here in August. The Euro IV-compliant engine provides the Skoda with the same punchy performance as in its classy Audi and VW relatives.

And with a slick six-speed gearbox as standard, the car's cruising ability is first class, too. However, it's not only the latest engines that have found their way into the new line-up; the revolutionary twin-clutch DSG box featured in Audi's TT is an option on Octavia TDIs, too. Offering seamless changes, the Skoda does without the TT's steering-wheel paddles, instead giving manual shifts via a standard auto lever.

With 70 per cent of British Octavia sales expected to be diesels, the 2.0 TDI is available in both Ambiente and Elegance trim. The top-flight latter model driven here is equipped with climate and cruise control, parking sensors, CD autochanger and an alarm as standard, making the TDI more than simply a bargain family car. Plus, in common with its petrol stablemates, the oil-burner impresses with much sharper steering and better body cotrol than the outgoing machine.

What's more, the interior quality is a match for other VW Group models. Added to a load area which is big enough to worry some estates, the Octavia TDI makes a strong case for itself.

Key specs

* 105bhp TDI will arrive in July

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