Skoda Octavia Combi 1.5 TSI e-TEC Style Review : Load Runner
Singapore - From moving Christmas trees to carrying what could seem like a family tree, the Skoda Octavia has found its way into our hearts at TopGear. The Octavia seems to be able to carry it all, boasting cargo stowage which could rival a class-equivalent SUV, or even an estate car.
Its liftback boot lid makes loading and unloading less of a chore; and then there is that typical trait of Skoda, where there you can expect a fair scatter of practical storage features.
So when Skoda brought us the estate version, the Combi alongside the sedan/liftback, we knew we had to have a go in it, and were not disappointed. There is also a high performance version of the Octavia, and if you are curious, click on this blue stuff. And yeah, while we are at it, we are also hoping for a Combi version of the RS… nudge nudge Skoda Singapore.
The Octavia Combi takes all that is good in the sedan/fastback/liftback car, and adds even more rear-end storage, and in my opinion, a more attractive form.
But some of you might ask, why?… Why should you pick an estate over a sedan? Perhaps you have a bicycle habit you need to feed, or maybe, just maybe you need to go find justification later. If you are more of the latter, then you are probably just like me.
You actually do like the Estate body form… it's OK… go ahead and admit it!
Skoda Octavia Combi - inside
The Octavia’s interior is unpretentious and unapologetically built with cost sensitivities in-mind. This is not a bad thing at all, because what Skoda takes out from here and there, they make up for in the way of practicality. I personally like that Skoda has chosen to line the dashboard with fabric, a tasteful approach as opposed to the usual spread of soft-touch plastics we have become accustomed to.
There is a clever use of plastic mouldings here, like the door pockets which can hold large bottles, and there is also that self-draining umbrella holder hidden within the door, a signature of Skoda.
In the middle of the dash, a 10-inch ‘Bolero’ infotainment touchscreen takes its place, while just above the air-conditioning vents, there is a button array to make operating the infotainment system easier.
Skoda has chosen to go with a shift-by-wire system (similar to the ones found in the related Volkswagen Golf and Audi A3), where in the cabin, the gearshift lever is replaced with just a simple stub to select gears. This frees up some space, making it easier for you to access the wireless mobile charger under the air-conditioning vents.
For the driver, there is now a neat 10.25-inch Virtual Cockpit, where driving data can be customised, or even tidied up, displaying only essential information.
All seats (apart from the awkward middle rear one) have a pleasant curvature to support your back, and the base of those front seats are higher, providing rear passengers with crucial foot space.
With the rear seats folded, the Octavia Combi can contain up to 1700 litres of cargo, while on normal days, it already swallows 640 litres. There is an adjustable boot floor, in-case you are travelling with four-others and you still need to transport tall items. There is a ski hatch for long items, cargo hooks, an auto retracting cargo cover, Virtual Pedal boot door release, a pair of roof rails… just plenty of stuff from the car, which you would need to help you carry your stuff.
Skoda Octavia Combi - the drive
The 1.5 litre turbocharged four-cylinder powering the Octavia Combi is an evolution of the previous 1.4 litre. Like the related A3 and Golf, the Octavia’s engine produces 150hp and 250Nm, and gets additional help from a mild-hybrid system. Combined with a quick-shifting 7-speed DSG, Skoda says that the Octavia Combi is capable of doing 20.8km/l combined.
LIARS! I got 21km/l!
To achieve this claimed efficiency, the 1.5 litre engine comes with its own bag of tricks. There is cylinder deactivation, which turns off cylinders 2 and 3 when cruising, there is the ability to coast, with the engine fully shut-off, and the previously-mentioned mild-hybrid system kicks in when required, to give an additional boost. Fuel-saving tech aside, the engine delivers effortlessly, even under heavier loads.
There is some inherent mild low speed judder coming from the DSG, but other than that, the Octavia provides its occupants a smooth and pleasant ride.
The suspension, which is tuned for comfort, soaks up most of what our local roads would want to throw at it. The improvements here translate to the new Octavia not wallowing as much as before, and it is also more predictable around corners.
There is however, one major gripe. I feel that there is not enough insulation around the firewall, meaning that more road noise intrudes into the cabin that it should.
If you are looking for a well-equipped compact car, with the ability to haul plenty, including the family pet, the Octavia Combi simply does a mighty fine job, and it looks šmart doing it too.
It is also well equipped, having 7 airbags and Adaptive Cruise Control, together with Front Assist with City Emergency Brake. The rear sensors and rear camera provide additional safety, with Side Assist with Rear Traffic Alert.
PHOTOS Clifford Chow
Skoda Octavia Combi Style 1.5 TSI e-TEC
Engine 1498cc, inline4, turbo
Transmission 7spd dual-clutch DSG
Top Speed 224km/h
Fuel Consumption 4.8l/100km (combined)