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In-depth reviews

Skoda Octavia - Engines, performance and drive

The Octavia is comfortable and refined to drive, while the vRS versions offer more performance

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.5 out of 5

Engines, performance and drive Rating

4.2 out of 5

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Being able to use tried and tested engines from the VW Group stable has helped the Octavia maintain its position as a dependable performer, with a focus on comfort rather than being the most dynamic car to drive.

The steering is light, but not not so much that you aren’t able to feel a level of precision to your inputs. Skoda has focused a touch more in this area, as the Octavia now features Dynamic Chassis Control, which allows the driver to adjust the damping and steering settings via the individual on-board drive modes.

Skoda has also paid attention to levels of refinement for the Octavia, with improvements in sound-deadening meaning less noise and vibration is felt through the cabin compared to the previous model.

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Petrol power comes from 1.0-litre, 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre TSI units producing 109bhp, 148bhp and 242bhp respectively. There’s also a 2.0 TDI diesel engine with either 148bhp or 197bhp, although the extra available torque means both offer decent performance.

When paired with a DSG transmission, the 1.0-litre and 1.5-litre petrol engines feature mild-hybrid technology to improve efficiency and deliver a small increase in performance. The 48-volt system uses a small battery and a starter/generator which helps to recover energy when coasting. When you accelerate, the hybrid unit gives a tiny boost to the driven wheels, which in turn reduces the load on the engine and saves fuel.

Although the mild-hybrid car can't run solely on electrical power, the set-up is able to engage a coasting function at higher motorway speeds to further improve overall efficiency. When we tried the 1.0-litre mild-hybrid version it proved to be incredibly smooth, and it's hard to tell when the engine is cutting in and out.

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The vRS model comes with a choice of petrol and diesel powertrains. It’s the only model to get the 242bhp 2.0-litre TSI engine, but the vRS can also be equipped with a 2.0-litre TDI producing 197bhp. The 1.4-litre plug-in hybrid model has been temporarily removed from the Octavia price list.

0-62mph acceleration and top speed

The 1.0-litre TSI engine in the Octavia produces 109bhp and 200Nm of torque, resulting in a sprint from 0-62mph in 10.8 seconds and a top speed of 129mph. The 1.5 TSI brings 148bhp and an extra 50Nm of torque, cutting the 0-62mph time down to 8.2 seconds, while top speed is now 142mph.

Those seeking a diesel option can go for the 2.0-litre TDI unit. The 114bhp/300Nm version is no longer available on the price list, although it managed 0-62mph in 10.3 seconds, while the more powerful 148bhp/360Nm variant manages the same task in 8.7 seconds.

Predictably, the vRS is the quickest to 62mph, completing the sprint in just 6.7 seconds when powered by a 2.0-litre TSI engine mated to a DSG transmission. This slips slightly to 6.8 seconds with a manual gearbox, while the 2.0-litre TDI 4x4 version accelerates from 0-62mph in 7.1 seconds. Top speed for all vRS models is 155mph, with the exception of the 4x4 oil burner which has a 152mph maximum.

The plug-in hybrid Octavia iV variant offers the acceleration to rival a hot hatch, with the 201bhp version completing the 0-62mph sprint in just 7.6 seconds. The 242bhp version is even quicker, with the ability to hit 62mph in 7.0 seconds.

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Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.0 TSI SE 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £23,665

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.4 TSI iV SE Technology DSG 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £33,395

Fastest

  • Name
    2.0 TSI vRS 5dr DSG
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £35,245
News reporter

As our news reporter, Ellis is responsible for covering everything new and exciting in the motoring world, from quirky quadricycles to luxury MPVs. He was previously the content editor for DrivingElectric and won the Newspress Automotive Journalist Rising Star award in 2022.

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