The SKODA Octavia car is definitely a bestseller – both for its brand and for the car market in general. But because of what? We study the “secrets of popularity” and explore the “magic success formula” of the SKODA Octavia model – using the example of the new generation A8.

Design: peace and space

Well, somewhere like that. Talking about the design of SKODA Octavia is, first of all, talking about external calmness, internal space, and excellent practicality. And then we talk about design. And this rule has not changed since the appearance of the SKODA Octavia A4 series, which was in the mid-1990s.

The shape of the body in general did not change: the SKODA Octavia model always existed in the form of a 5-door liftback with a sloping rear window and a small protrusion of the trunk lid. The only alternative to it was the station wagon SKODA Octavia Combi. The bodies did not change, but the dimensions of the car did. Starting with the 4.5-meter mark in the SKODA Octavia A4, the current generation of the SKODA Octavia A8 has almost reached 4.7 meters in length: this is the acceleration in a quarter of a century.

5-door liftback type body: this is how the SKODA Octavia model has always been throughout its modern history. The advantage in design was usually given to laconic calm and balanced classics – this was also stable. But the dimensions were constantly changing, the car gradually grew from generation to generation. The current SKODA Octavia A8 model is 4.69 m long, with a wheelbase of 2.69 m.

And these dimensions are perfectly visible in the interior. Nominally, the SKODA Octavia belongs to the “C” class, let alone “C+”, but in the interior space – here a comparison with the “D” class models is suggested. This especially applies to the back row: there is plenty of legroom, a good headroom, and in addition, there is not only ventilation but also a separate “climate” zone.

What is memorable in front is the high-quality design: soft plastic and pleasant leather on the steering wheel, a little gloss and chrome, clear lines of the front panel. All this has a positive effect on the perception of the interior of the car, giving it the feeling of a higher-class model. But the most important “highlight” of the interior is, of course, the seats with combined decoration and excellent lateral support.

Although, upon closer inspection, you will notice there is only one place for a smartphone (the passenger’s smartphone will no longer fit in the small glass holders), but there are noticeable seat fasteners. Controlling the “climate” is too complicated due to the touch menu. And it is not easy to configure the digital instrument panel. Of course, these all are questions of getting used to the car. But they exist.

A beautiful interior, as if from a car in a higher class: this applies to design, materials, and space. Up front, there are memory seats, a digital instrument panel, and a 2-spoke steering wheel. Almost all control of additional functions is implemented through the central touch display, the buttons below it are responsible only for switching certain menu items. Behind there is good space, ventilation, “climate”. And I’ll also note the 600-liter trunk: well, it’s an Octavia!

Technology: when Simply Clever ideas matter most

This looks like a modern car: a 1.4 TSI gasoline engine with a turbine and direct fuel injection, a classic 8-speed automatic transmission (yes, yes, a hydromechanical automatic transmission, not a DSG mechanical one), the well-known MQB platform and modern equipment systems.

But if we are talking about SKODA, then the most important thing is not all this – the most important thing is Simply Clever! The company’s approach to creating cars involves improving every little thing. Pockets for rear passengers? And let’s add a separate niche for a smartphone. A filler neck for windshield washer fluid? Let’s make it out of rubber and in the form of a funnel.

You can write a separate paragraph about the trunk in general (which I will do now). The ŠKODA Octavia car has always been distinguished by a huge “hold”, but the organization of this space is no less important. So here everything is wonderful: various hooks, niches, shelves, nets. The provided power lid opening/closing is important for such a large lid that provides excellent access to the luggage compartment.

The new generation of SKODA Octavia is generally an evolutionary development of its predecessor: platform, engines, in general – technology. A radical change can be considered the appearance of an “automatic” with the AQ300-8F brand designation, which is offered for a gasoline 1.4-liter TSI engine – an example of a test car. However, many improvements are equipped: matrix headlights, a digital instrument panel based on a 10.25-inch display, a new generation of multimedia system (MIB3) and new Simply Clever features.

Behind the wheel: a B student or an excellent student?

The most important feature in the character of SKODA Octavia is probably predictability and linearity. First of all, we are talking about the “linearity of acceleration”: the engine does not surprise with its power, but it is fully developed in a very wide range of revolutions. And even the 8-speed automatic transmission resembles the operation of DSG in its best manifestation: quick shifts up and down, but you can distinguish them only by the oscillations of the tachometer needle. So, all accelerations are quite lively and now we are talking about liveliness in reactions to pressing the accelerator pedal: this is not the case when you press into the back of the seat, but this is the case when you do not need to wait for acceleration. And there is also linearity in the operation of the chassis: almost always pleasant comfort, soft swaying, but at the same time we have good reactions to turning the steering wheel and small tilts.

So can there be a “bright spot” in the character of the SKODA Octavia? And what exactly will it be – good or bad? In fact, there are two such spots at once – and they are opposite. On the one hand: the rear suspension in an unloaded state occasionally allows a hard reaction on bumps. And this is a minus. On the other hand: the engine and transmission are pleasantly surprising when starting from a standstill, you can quickly accelerate from a traffic light or exit a secondary road onto the main road. And this is a plus.

Gasoline turbo engine and automatic transmission provide a sufficient level of dynamics and good fuel economy: acceleration to a hundred in less than 9 seconds, in the city a stable 7.5-9 liters, depending on the traffic. The minimum you can bring is 6.5-7 liters, the maximum reaches 9.5-10 liters, subject to dynamic driving style and/or traffic jams.The freeway “hundred” needs stably about 5 liters. The “sport/eco” settings menu only slightly affects the car, but does not change its character in general.

Price: how much does the SKODA Octavia A8 cost? Is it still “people’s car”?

Depends on what you mean by the phrase “people’s car”. After all, now the SKODA Octavia car in the basic version costs approximately 900,000 hryvnias or $22,000.

But, again, what is meant by the words “basic version”? For the SKODA Octavia A8, it is currently a 1.4 TSI engine (150 hp) paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission and in the Active configuration. Not bad? And if you add that this configuration includes frontal airbags, fabric seats and leather steering wheel and gear lever, Swing audio with an 8-inch display, LED headlights, air conditioning, an instrument panel with a 4.2-inch color display, electric drives of all window lifts and mirror adjustment, etc.

Want more? Then the car can offer a 2.0 TSI petrol engine (190 hp) or a 2.0 TDI turbodiesel (150 hp), both paired with a 7-speed DSG transmission, as well as Ambition or Style trims. These trim levels can add Climatronic climate control, alloy wheels (16- or 17-inch), side airbags, Bolero audio and a 10-inch interior display, heated front seats, cruise control, and more. Of course, such cars are more expensive: about UAH 1-1.2 million ($25-30 thousand), depending on the engine/equipment. At the same time, additional payment for various options, “station wagon” body, all-wheel drive can even lead to a price tag of $30+ thousand. But they may not – it’s all at the buyer’s choice.

The new model SKODA Octavia A8 is at once a minimum 150-horsepower engine, an automatic transmission, a good configuration: the car seems to have taken a step half a class higher. There are currently no variants with weak engines and mechanics in the Ukrainian price. But the choice of the type of drive and body is present: all-wheel drive (only for 2.0 TSI) estimated at 63 thousand UAH surcharge in comparison to a front one, station wagon SKODA Octavia Combi is offered with a surcharge of a little less than UAH 34,000 for the liftback. And there are several option packages for the already described configurations. A wide range of versions is a clear and strong trump card of SKODA Octavia.

Results of the SKODA Octavia test drive

A quarter of a century has passed – and the SKODA Octavia model is still very successful and popular. Isn’t this excellence? It looks like the SKODA Octavia can teach others how to successfully and consistently find ways into customers’ wallets.

Wallets, not hearts. There are few emotions here – but a lot of practicality, convenience, moderation, comfort. This formula makes almost no mistakes (remember the not very successful experiment with the design of A7), on the contrary – in general, this formula only improves with age and the release of new generations of SKODA Octavia. So we can only say one thing: keep it up!

Test drive of the SKODA Octavia A8 car: lessons of popularity

Car provided by Eurocar LLC