2022 Skoda Octavia road test review

The Skoda Octavia RS wagon

Craig Duff

Posted February 18, 2022


The Skoda Octavia is an increasingly attractive alternative to the dominant Toyota Camry. The biggest problem will be getting your hands on one.

Skoda’s long been considered the ugly duckling of the Volkswagen Group range. It has been just as capable as the VW-badged product but lacked the exterior finesse to match it with its elder sibling.

The latest Octavia is a good example of how the brand is maturing.

A few years ago the cars were subjectively frumpy and loaded with hand-me-down gear from the Volkswagen Group’s parts catalogue, but not anymore.

The Octavia was released in Australia last year with a sharp new look and some of VW’s latest and greatest technology.

It still retains the “simply clever” features that have endeared it to owners globally, such as the umbrella in the driver’s door and compact bin in the door pocket, but this iteration doesn’t deserve the 'simple' analogy.

On this page

The Skoda Octavia RS wagon is a performance car with the practicality to carry five adults and a lot of luggage.
All Skoda Octavias can be had as in sedan or wagon guise.
The Skoda Octavia Style uses a capable 1.4-litre turbocharged engine in place of the 2.0-litre unit found in its more expensive siblings.
The Skoda Octavia Ambition introduces the range with driveaway pricing from $37,490.

How much does the Skoda Octavia cost?

Skoda Octavia models are being sold with driveway pricing until the end of the financial year.

That means prospective buyers will need $37,490 to park the entry level Octavia Ambition in their carports.

The money buys a well-equipped, well-presented liftback-styled sedan.

Spend another $1300 and you can have a wagon.

The next step in the Octavia range is the Style, priced from $39,990 on the road. It adds the likes of matrix LED headlamps and inbuilt sat-nav to the equation.

It is then a decent hike to the Limited Edition version at $51,490, though it does come with a bigger engine and adds features such as a head-up display, ventilated seats with massage function, 19-inch wheels in place of the regular 18s and adaptive chassis control. Don’t ignore the last item if you’re an enthusiastic driver - it transforms the Octavia from a good vehicle to a great one.

A seven-year service package costs $2400 for the regular Octavias ($2900 for the RS) and extends the warranty from five to seven years (applicable until June 30).

Go for the five-year service pack and the cooking versions of the Skoda Octavia cost $1550, with the RS coming in at $2000.

How safe is the Skoda Octavia?

The Skoda is a five-star car, according to ANCAP, which based its call on the 2019 EuroNCAP result.

Crash-test results showed marginal protection for the chest of the rear passenger. Despite that, the Octavia scored a 92 per cent rating for adult occupant protection and 87 per cent for child occupant safety.

Vulnerable road users were rated at 72 per cent. Like most cars, bonnet protection varied between good and poor.

The safety assist systems earned a 79 per cent score, with the Octavia scoring good results with the exception of a car braking heavily 40m in front. At that point ANCAP rated the result as poor.

Adaptive cruise control is standard across the range and there are eight airbags, including a front-centre pillow and driver’s knee bag. Opt for the Limited Edition or RS variants and the airbag count climbs to 10, with another pair of bags in the rear.

What’s the Skoda Octavia like inside?

This the fourth iteration of the Octavia and it’s a big step up on its predecessors.

You’re dealing with a premium-looking European interior typified by a minimalistic style and a focus on storage space.

The 10-inch infotainment display has buttons at the base for temperature adjustment, though you have to manipulate the digital menus to adjust fan control.

Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard items across the range, as is wireless phone charging and a pair of USB-C ports up front.

The look is clean and upmarket, but owners will need to familiarise themselves with the infotainment operation to drive it with ease.

 

This generation of the Skoda Octavia has outgrown its image as the ugly duckling of the VW Group range.
The Skoda Octavia's boot capacity ranges from 600 litres in the sedan to 640 in the wagon.

What’s under the Skoda Octavia’s bonnet?

There are two engines in three different states of tune across the Octavia line-up.

The Ambition and Style versions use a 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine that delivers 110kW and 250Nm to the front wheels via a conventional eight-speed automatic. The official 100km/h run is clocked at 9.0 seconds.

Pay the premium for the Limited Edition and you are rewarded with a 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine developing 140kW and 320Nm. Power is sent to the front wheels using a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

The sporty RS variant uses the same engine tuned for 180kW and 370Nm. The sprint to 100km/h takes just 6.7 seconds, which is 0.7sec under the Limited Edition’s time.

Boot space in the sedan is a capacious 600 litres, jumping to 640 litres in the wagon. Fold down the rear seats and the cargo capacity jumps to 1150 litres and 1700 litres respectively. For a mid-sized vehicle, that’s large-sized spacing.

Is the Skoda Octavia efficient?

One of the highlights of the Octavia is how frugally it uses fuel. The base Ambition is rated at 5.7 litres/100km on the combined cycle, climbing to 7.2 litres/100km around town.

The Style uses 5.9 and 7.6 litres respectively. Fuel use applies to liftback and wagon styles in both of those versions

The larger-capacity Limited Edition consumes 6.1 litres/100km on the combined cycle and 7.9 litres in urban testing. The wagon use 0.1 litres more in both environments.

The sports-oriented RS is still no fuel-guzzler, with a combined rating of 6.8-litres every 100km and 9.3 litres around the city.

 

The Skoda Octavia's interior belies the price with an upmarket look and feel (Style variant shown).
Clever touches include fold-out luggage hooks for backpacks and grocery bags.

How does the Skoda Octavia drive?

The regular Skoda Octavias use a torsion beam rear suspension. It is intended to be cheap but effective, maximising cargo space while providing a reasonably compliant ride.

Most Octavia owners won’t realise, or care, what’s between the rear wheels.

You have to seriously provoke the Skoda to elicit any unruly response from the back axle.

It’s not perfect, with road noise intrusion and the occasional thump and secondary bounce over bigger obstacles, but it will generally be an unknown feature of the car. As they say, ignorance is bliss.

The RS on the other hand, uses a proper multi-link rear end for a serious throttle-responsive ability through the twisty bits.

People who buy this car expect a step up in performance and the RS delivers in terms of performance and handling, without being a genuine sports car.

Should I buy one?

The Toyota Camry is always going to capture the practical buyer, given its reputation, improved looks and (if you can get one) hybrid drivetrain frugality.

The Mazda 6 is more expensive, but just as impressive inside and has an even more svelte exterior.

That puts the Octavia in an awkward position but in terms of practicality and utility it deserves a look. The mid-sized sedan category is disappearing like large sedans, but this version of the Octavia ensures it won’t be its swansong.

 

The information provided is general advice only. Before making any decisions please consider your own circumstances and the Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determinations. For copies, visit racv.com.au. As distributor, RACV Insurance Services Pty Ltd AFS Licence No. 230039 receives commission for each policy sold or renewed. Product(s) issued by Insurance Manufacturers of Australia ABN 93 004 208 084 AFS Licence No. 227678.


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