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28 Mar 2023

What We Dislike
Feels sluggish at low rpm and when moving off from a stop

With the downsized 1.0-litre engine, the Skoda Octavia has less power, but it is now a Cat A COE car that offers plenty of practicality and value.

Shortly after Skoda became a part of Volkswagen Group in the 1990s, the first generation of the modern Octavia was conceived, and eventually offered in liftback and wagon body styles. Practicality was clearly key, as the liftback design with a large tailgate has an impressive boot capacity of 538 litres to 1,328 litres.

Three generations on, Skoda continued to improve the Octavia and created a practical and sensible family sedan. And if you wanted dynamism, there's also the hotted-up Octavia RS. But the Octavia that we have today isn't about that. In fact, it is the result of Skoda taking a step further to offer even more value and efficiency with the Octavia.

A pleasant car to look at

The 1.0-litre Octavia gets a new pair of full LED Matrix head lights
Although the fourth generation Octavia has been around for a couple of years, many might be more familiar with its predecessor, which sported a curious-looking quad-head light design.

The current Octavia has a pleasant and classy design that is easy for most to appreciate - its iconic grille is now slimmer, and the quirky head lights have also been replaced with a pair of sleek LED units.

In fact, on the 1.0-litre version is a pair of Skoda's new full LED Matrix head lights. These head lights incorporate an intelligent lighting technology.

The liftback body style has always been one of the best parts of the Octavia
A camera on the windscreen detects other vehicles, and cleverly turns off individual segments of the light beam, preventing the high beam from dazzling oncoming road users.

I've tested it while waiting at an intersection, and it was intriguing to witness the lit signboards while the grilles of the cars on the opposing side remain dark, demonstrating the technology.

Accentuated by a bold shoulder line, the silhouette of the liftback Octavia lends it a near coupe-like rear end, with the roofline tapering smoothly to the sharp and taut tail end that is an absolute pleasure to look at.

Space and utility with touches of cleverness

A cavernous boot with a massive loading aperture is yet another benefit of the Octavia's liftback body style
And yet, unlike a coupe or a conventional sedan, the liftback design is much more practical as it maximises the cargo loading aperture, while allowing the massive 600 litres boot space to be achieved.

Knock the rear seats down and the large space opens up into a cavernous 1,555 litres, allowing large objects such as an entire bicycle to be loaded with ease.

Even with a massive cargo capacity, there's still plenty of room for passengers to travel in comfort within the Octavia. There's sufficient headroom at the rear and plenty of kneeroom for the typical adult, though the transmission hump in the centre would make it slightly uncomfortable for someone to sit in the centre for long distances.

There's plenty of space for the rear passengers to travel in comfort
Hence, for optimal comfort during longer trips, it would be best to limit the rear to two passengers. And by doing so, each of the rear passengers can benefit from dedicated clever storage solutions - the mobile phone pockets behind each of the front seats, the armrest, cupholders and pass-through hatch, along with the large door bins.

Up front, the little clever touches that Skoda is known for continues. The cup holders in the centre consoles feature little nubs to allow one-handed opening of soft drink bottles with ease, and there's the famous umbrella storage compartments in the doors as well.

An easy, comfortable drive

The 1.0-litre turbocharged mild hybrid engine is smooth and refined
Commuting in the Octavia is an enjoyable affair, and that isn't just due to the clever touches. Despite being powered by a small three-cylinder engine, an engine type that is generally known to run rough, the Octavia's drivetrain is truly refined.

While the car can feel lethargic while moving off from a stop, the new 1.0-litre turbocharged mild hybrid engine accelerates with smoothness and without drama. Switching the transmission to Sport help to keep the revs higher, allowing the engine to operate in its comfortable range (it produces 200Nm of torque from 2,000rpm to 3,000rpm and 109bhp at 5,500rpm), greatly improving its responsiveness.

With mild hybrid assistance, the Octavia manages impressive fuel economy
A truly impressive aspect of the 1.0-litre power unit is its fuel economy. According to the long-term fuel economy data of the car, it managed an average of 15.3km/L over a distance of 1,200km. While it falls short of the claimed 23.3km/L, I suspect the figure would be much closer if the car is driven more gently and in better traffic conditions.

Matching the refined powertrain is an equally refined body. On the move, Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) levels are never intrusive. Even at expressway speeds, wind noise is negligible, with some tyre noise being the main distraction that you would notice. While the damping can be a little harsh over sudden, sharp bumps such as those narrow plastic speed bumps, the ride quality is good and never jarring when driving along on the roads.

Equipped with all that you need

The Octavia's well-built interior has all the features you'll need
The Octavia pampers you with more than just physical comfort. Yes, the cabin's great build quality and the comfortable seats work well with the excellent NVH, but the car also supplements the experience with a host of features and amenities.

For one, the infotainment system, with its smooth user interface on an adequately-sized display, features wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

There is also a wireless smartphone charging tray and two USB-C ports to ensure your devices stay juiced-up on longer road trips.

Frugal on fuel and big on space and features, the Octavia is a value champion
Other quality-of-life enhancements include a powered tailgate and driver assist systems such as cruise control, Front Assist with City Emergency Brake, Side Assist with Rear Traffic Alert, Lane Assist and Exit Warning.

With the new 1.0-litre Mild Hybrid powertrain, the Skoda Octavia is now eligible for Cat A COE.

However, due to the current high COE prices, it will still set you back $165,900 (as of 27 Mar 2023). It might sound like a pretty penny, but comparable sedans like the 1.0-litre Audi A3 Sedan, which has the same engine as this Octavia, is almost $40,000 costlier.

Coupled with the excellent practicality and features that the Octavia offers, it is a value champion in today's climate.

Looking for other Cat A COE options? Here are some cars that you might be interested in:
Jazz Crosstar: Genre-mixer still sensible at heart

Kia Cerato: An appealing everyday car

Honda Freed: Potent minivan marred slightly by age

VW T-Cross faces off against the Kia Stonic
Car Information


: $167,900

Engine Type


3 Cylinders Turbocharged

Engine Cap





81kW (109 bhp)



200 Nm / 3000 rpm



7-speed (A) DSG

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)



Top Speed



Fuel consumption



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