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The Skoda Octavia Combi is a stationwagon that outshines its peers with its high levels of comfort, cabin quality and driving refinement.

17 Jun 2021


Stationwagons aren't justified in Singapore. Yes, you get the space of an SUV and the driving dynamics of a sedan. Problem is, most buyers rather go for the machismo looks of an SUV, with its added functionality that has made this genre of cars a constant popular hit all over the world.

In other words, driving dynamics just isn't a priority for people who are looking to buy a regular SUV.

Then a car like the Skoda Octavia Combi comes along, a stationwagon that can potentially change the minds of these SUV buyers.

Looking good, someone

The Octavia Combi looks like a star from the back
For one, the new Skoda looks like it belongs to a class above it. You get a pair of slim LED headlamps with inverted 'L' daytime running lights garnishing them and a distinctive grille that would have even the most ignorant driver on the road instantly recognising this as a Skoda.

Comparing this to its sedan counterpart, the Combi here sports similar dimensions. Tip to tip, the car measures 4,689mm, with a width and height of 1,829mm and 1,468mm respectively. And while both cars share the same generous wheelbase of 2,686mm, the Combi is obviously the heavier car - 47kg heavier to be exact.

As a result, what you get is a coherent sheet metal that doesn't look too bulgy on the rear end like how some estates do. This obviously helps a lot with the way the car pilots, too, but more on that later.

Feeling premium, people

Cabin is sleek, modern and very appealing
Secondly, it's inside where the Octavia Combi really shines. You're faced with a cool-looking two-spoke steering wheel (similar to the Skoda Scala that we tested) and a fully digitalised 10.25-inch instrument cluster that comes standard.

In here, the car almost reminds you of how an Audi would typically be - minimalistic, sleek and well-thought out. Buttons are kept to the minimum, barring the ones that are under the crisp, floating 10-inch infotainment screen. The only complain here is the same as what we experienced in the Scala and the Kamiq, which is the climate controls have to be adjusted via the touchscreen instead of having physical buttons.

Phone pockets available for rear passengers
But in the grand scheme of things, it's a rather small sacrifice to have a cabin that's clean and, not to mention, smart. As with most Skoda cars in Singapore, you get an umbrella in the driver's door and phone pockets behind the front seats just for the convenience of your rear passengers.

And when it comes to boot space, it's just as convenient as what you'd expect from a stationwagon. Not only do you get a generous 640 litres of boot space (which happens to be the best in its class) that can be expanded to 1,700 litres with the seats folded, there's no load lip to hinder you from dragging heavy items out from the boot. Plus, and there's always a plus when it comes to Skoda, you get a compartment under the boot where you can store more stuff than you really need to.

Elsewhere, head and legroom is ample for all five on board comfortably - a feat that outdoes cars in its class.

Driving with style, you

The Skoda Octavia Combi rides very well and will complete the century sprint in 8.6 seconds
However, where the Skoda Octavia Combi differs is the way it drives. It's a car you can't expect any passionate fireworks from. It's not slow, clocking an 8.6-second century sprint. It betrays not a single hint of lethargy at the helm, thanks to its adequate 148bhp and a healthy dose of 250Nm of torque that spreads well from the 1.5-litre turbocharged powerplant that's mated to the polished seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.

It is, instead, a very refined and comfortable setup that doesn't disappoint whether you're caught in a jam or swallowing tarmac on the highway, more so since the car now comes with a 48V mild-hybrid system that allows two-cylinder deactivation as well as coasting without any abrupt engine shut off or restarts.

With the 48V mild-hybrid system, the Combi is able to drive on two-cylinder mode
But that doesn't mean the car is lacking in any way. For the most part, the transmission does an excellent job in providing a faultless performance, while the suspension smoothens even the worst sort of uneven tarmac with aplomb and without any trace of complaints. And to sweeten the deal, sound insulation in the Skoda's stationwagon is nothing short of impressive, with external noises kept out of the cabin.

Of course, when push comes to shove, the Octavia Combi shows signs of roll through arcs and curves but it manages to retain its composure without you having to panic over exaggerated driving behaviour. Moreover, the brakes do a good job in shedding speed confidently before entering a bend with reckless abandon.

148bhp and 250Nm of torque is delivered smoothly from the 1.5-litre engine
So yes, it may not be a dynamically sound car, but for what the Octavia Combi has been set up to do, it will satisfy all but the most demanding parent.

Making a clever decision, everyone

In that sense, the Skoda Octavia Combi on this page that you see here is a big advantage when it comes to comfort, quality and refinement.

At $137,900 (at time of writing), it's a car that's difficult to fault. It's sophisticated and premium on the whole, as functional as an SUV, drives more dynamically than one, and comfortable enough to keep your wife's nagging at bay.

Does it have the potential to sway SUV buyers then? Sure do...

Car Information

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SKODA Octavia Combi Mild Hybrid 1.5 TSI e-TEC Style (A)
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Price

: $140,900

Engine Type

:

4-cylinder in-line 16-valve Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

1498cc

Horsepower

:

-

Torque

:

250 Nm / 3500 rpm

Transmission

:

7-speed (A) DSG

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

8.6sec

Top Speed

:

224km/h

Fuel consumption

:

20.8 km/L

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