Road Test: Škoda Octavia 1.0 TSI SE Drive
The basic Octavia is all the car you’ll ever need, finds Jonathan Musk.
SECTOR Lower medium PRICE £20,310 FUEL 43.5-48.7mpg (WLTP) CO2 110g/km (NEDC Correlated)
Equipment options and specifications are easy to get bogged down in, so in our digital age it is refreshing to find a car that doesn’t drown you with acronyms and instead just gets the job done. The Octavia is one such versatile machine, and rightly the Czech brand’s most popular model in the UK.
SE Drive trim isn’t the most basic though – that accolade goes to the S – but it doesn’t get a lot more kit, only adding 17-inch alloys, dual-zone climate control and an Amundsen
8.0-inch touchscreen sat nav. It’s a back to basics, no-nonsense breath of fresh air.
But don’t go thinking the car is austere, as despite its very reasonable asking price, it has a large interior and comes equipped with such fleet niceties as Bluetooth, AEB, driver fatigue sensor, cooled glovebox and electric heated mirrors, amongst many other features.
Naturally, all the usual welcome design touches Škoda is known for are present, including ‘simply clever’ ice scraper in the fuel filler flap and umbrella under the passenger seat – things that bring a satisfied smile whenever you see them.
The 1.0-litre TSI pumps out a respectable 115hp, which might not sound much but thanks to the three-cylinder’s torque it is usable in everyday driving and the six-speed gearbox is a delight to use, with sharp, easy changes. It’s simple to drive, rewarding even, and never feels strained despite the Octavia’s size. Fuel consumption is respectable too and working the manual box, official figures can be exceeded.
With a starting price less than the most basic Volkswagen Golf, but certainly no less a car, and yet with space almost as accommodating as a Passat, the Octavia is something of a bargain.
It’s impressive to drive, economical, refined, spacious and inexpensive. Could this be the ideal fleet car?