The first generation Skoda Octavia was powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine producing 115hp. Twenty years on the new 2017 model year Octavia now has an engine half that size, producing the same power, more torque and with better acceleration and fuel economy. We review the new 1.0-litre TSI version.
In the metal
The introduction of the new three-cylinder petrol engine is part of what Skoda is calling its 2017 model year update, and while there are some other changes, these come in the form of new specification options for the interior - the exterior remains unchanged. That isn't a bad thing, as the Skoda Octavia is a handsome car that fulfils the mid-size saloon criteria well - even though it's technically a hatchback/liftback depending on your preferences.
It is worth reiterating just how generous the interior space is inside the Octavia. The well laid out dashboard design up front is uncluttered and there are numerous storage compartments and pockets. As part of the 2017 model update the front passenger seat base now also incorporates an additional compartment that accommodates an umbrella, similar to how the larger Skoda Superb does so in its front doors. As an option you can also now add a wireless charging pad for the centre console - if you have a compatible smartphone. The rear still offers good amounts of head- and legroom while the boot swallows 590 litres of cargo, which can be expanded to 1,580 litres in seconds by folding down the rear seat backs.
You can have your choice of either six-speed manual or the slick shifting DSG automatic transmissions with this new 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine. Any reservations you might have about whether an engine of this size truly works with a car like the Octavia are soon dealt with. Peak torque of 200Nm arrives at 2,000rpm, but there is sufficient pull from the engine as soon as you start to ease out the clutch.
Even though it is a three-cylinder engine that typically characteristic thrum isn't as apparent as in others. Only when you rev the engine up above 3,000rpm does it start to make any real noise and even then it is nicely isolated. The six-speed manual transmission has a different set of ratios compared to the outgoing 1.2-litre TSI and these seem well judged for all manners of driving. In town it will happily crawl along in second or cruise in third while out on the open road even and rolling on in sixth gear delivers a perky enough response that won't see you constantly having to drop down a gear or two.
We have long been fans of the Skoda Octavia and not just for its space. The ride quality of the current model is one of its best features and is no different in this smaller engined version. The Octavia feels nimble in corners and always quite planted. It is also worth noting that with a kerb weight of 1,225kg the Octavia is far from a heavy car considering its size and that too complements the performance offered by a smaller engine.
What you get for your money
The new Octavia powered by the 1.0-litre TSI engine will be priced from €22,880, which is the same as the 1.2-litre TSI model it replaces. It will be available in Ambition and Style specification grades. Prices for the automatic transmission will be higher to the tune of approximately €2,300.
If you compare like-for-like trim levels the 1.0-litre TSI version undercuts the similarly powered 1.6-litre TDI Octavia by some €2,355 and given the added refinement and lack of apparent performance difference gives further justification to moving away from diesel. The petrol engine does consume slightly more fuel but in reality these differences should be negligible for most average drivers - unless you do lots of long distance motorway work.
The 1.0-litre TSI petrol engine proves itself as not only a worthy addition to the Skoda Octavia range but also one that should really be considered by buyers who do average distance or urban commutes. If ever there was a car to show how far petrol engine technology has come this is it.