Tuesday, 26 March 2019

‘Bestseller’ continues to impress

‘Bestseller’ continues to impress

IT’S always a pleasure to return to a car that really impressed first time out.

I was so taken with the modest but vibrant power source on the Škoda Octavia SE Hatch 1.0 TSI I reviewed exactly two years ago that for the first time in this column I featured a picture of the engine. I make no apology for that because all power sources for cars — that is, what drives each model big or small — have come sharply into focus recently with the imminent invasion of fully electric-powered models. The debate over the viability of electric cars has gone far beyond the talking stage — electric cars are upon us and will continue to make their presence felt in the months and years to come.

In the meantime, as petrol and diesel power plants fight to keep their place in a ruthlessly competitive car world, I think it is worth noting that Škoda’s economical and clever petrol engine, strikes me at present as a viable alternative.

It is economical, up to 48.7mpg on the combined cycle, and achieves CO2 emissions of 107g/km. It is comfortable, practical and drives very well.

So I have to report that this week’s drive — also a Škoda Octavia SE Hatch 1.0 TSI but now the 2019 year model — did not disappoint.

Suffice to say that this 1.0 litre engine on the Skoda Octavia is still something to be quietly marvelled at.

First time out I wrote that “the willingness in this 1.0 TSI engine was quite extraordinary, from low speeds to relatively high speeds”.

I said that I liked the fact the 1.0 TSI engine worked very well together with a six-speed manual transmission.

Gear-changing was easy and swift. Also, I found that at higher speeds on motorways where you might expect the smaller engine to fade, from fifth to sixth gears there was actually good acceleration. The Octavia’s engine range comprises four TSI petrol engines and three TDI diesels.

Now you can get quick and performance Octavias if you want them — and very good they are too. The Octavia vRS, for example, with a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine can accelerate from 0-62mph in 6.6 seconds and go on to a potential top speed of 155mph.

The Octavia’s TSI petrol engines are all turbocharged and feature direct petrol injection. The range starts with my present favourite — and the engine I am featuring today — the innovative 1.0 TSI unit that develops 115PS.

The carmaker says its efficiency is “thanks to its compact construction and aluminium crankcase, the Octavia’s entry-level, three-cylinder engine weighs just 78 kg”. But of course any car is the sum of its parts and the engine is but one of these (though I believe of paramount importance.)

Elsewhere on the Škoda Octavia SE Hatch 1.0 TSI all the hallmarks of the Czech carmaker are apparent.

There are the clever additions and sensible touches that Škoda has become known for, but also a selection of up-to-the-minute new technologies.

On the connectivity front in the Octavia, Škoda Connect comprises two categories: Infotainment Online services that provide additional information such as weather reports and parking space availability, along with real-time navigation details. Care Connect provides remote access as well as assistance.

A year’s subscription to Infotainment Online is available as an option on models equipped with Amundsen and Columbus infotainment systems.

A range of advanced electronic assistance systems is included: Trailer Assist, Front Assist with Predictive Pedestrian Protection function, Blind Spot Detect and Rear Traffic Alert are available.

There is also the latest evolution of Park Assist for tricky parking manoeuvres.

It is no accident that the Octavia has been the backbone of the Škoda model line-up since its reintroduction to the range in 1996.

The Octavia has been the brand’s best-selling model in the UK. To date, more than five million Octavias have been produced, with sales in more than 100 markets worldwide.


Škoda Octavia SE Hatch 1.0 TSI

Total price of test car: £20,645

Octavia is Škoda’s biggest-selling model in the UK

Large, practical interior

Latest-generation infotainment systems

Model range includes hatch and estate variants and seven engine options

DSG and all-wheel drive available on selected models

10 trim levels including vRS, SportLine and Scout models


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