Skoda Octavia 2.0 TDi 150 SE-L
What is it?
This Skoda Octavia 2.0 TDi 150 SE-L is the facelifted third-generation Skoda Octavia, with changes mainly limited to a distinctive new family look and updated infotainment systems for the interior.
We hit the road in the expected best-selling 2.0-litre TDi and slick-shifting seven-speed DSG, to see if Skoda’s best-seller has been changed for the better.
- The 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel, which in DSG auto form still accelerates to 60mph in just 9.0 secs and has a top speed of 134mph. Despite the performance, this Octavia is still capable of 64mpg on the Combined Cycle and emits just 115g/km. Even with the slick-shifting seven-speed automatic transmission, it still has just a 25% tax band.
- The biggest and most obvious change over the outgoing Octavia has to be that new nose. There’s no doubt that the outgoing car was undoubtedly a game-changer for the Czech brand, like every model before. Its sharp Audi-like detailing impressed us, but we felt it lacked identity when compared with rival Volkswagen Group products. Well, with that wider grille, more sculpted three-dimensional bonnet and the ‘split’ front headlight design, with optional LED detail, the latest Octavia is distinctive – but is it as attractive? Changes for the back of the Octavia hatch and estate models are less distinctive and are limited to LED rear light clusters and revised rear bumpers.
- The looks might have changed, but the Octavia’s driving experience has remained much the same, despite some suspension tweaks and a wider rear track. This is no bad thing, as this Skoda drives well. Exciting it’s not, but composed and competent is more than enough for this class and there’s real precision to the steering. It rides very well too.
- Inside, apart from a heated steering wheel, the other big change in the face-lifted Octavia has to be the new infotainment systems. First seen in the Kodiaq, the range starts with the 8.0-inch Bolero unit, going through to the range-topping Columbus navigation system which we got to try and comes with a 9.2-inch display. Build quality of this Skoda is impressive, the driving position is comfy and multi-adjustable and the front seats supportive. Being bigger than a Golf, this means a 590-litre boot, versus the Golf’s 308 litres! It gets even better when you fold the Octavia’s rear seat, as it grows to a massive 1,580 litres.
- More important to business buyers than perhaps the latest tech, has to be the new generation of electronic assistance systems, that make driving the upgraded Skoda Octavia even safer and more comfortable. Additions to the wide range you can choose from include Trailer Assist, the Predictive Pedestrian Protection function, Blind Spot Detect and Rear Traffic Alert. The same applies to Crew Protect Assist, which works together with Front Assist and includes the City Emergency Braking function. While the Park Assist feature has been enhanced.
- SE-L has all the luxurious standard kit you’ll need, we also like the new ‘Simply Clever’ features including two USB ports in the rear, folding tray tables on the back of the front seats and bottle holders.
- The new Bolero touch-screen infotainment looked smart, but was a bit slow in operation.
- It is hard to tell the differences between the different drive settings.
- The 2.0-litre TDI 150 might be a bit of a performer, with plenty of torque, but it’s noisy and not the smoothest engine in use.
It is easy to see why the Octavia is Skoda’s best-seller, as there are few other cars than can do this Skoda’s mix of quality, practicality and comfort. The good news is that despite the new nose, these strengths continue to shine through in this face-lifted version – it deserves every success.
So how does it compare to its key rival – the Volkswagen Golf? Closest model to the Octavia 2.0 TDi 150 SE-L, is the 2.0 TDI GT 150 DSG. The Skoda is looking good from the start as it’s cheaper by over £1,600.
The Volkswagen might be the sportier drive, although for an SME the emissions and tax band are going to be key and this is where the Skoda is stronger, with 115g/km versus 120g/km of the Volkswagen, which also means the Golf has a slightly higher 26% tax band for 2017/18.
The lowdown on: Skoda Octavia 2.0 TDi 150 SE-L
|Doors and body style||5-door hatch|
|Engine/gearbox:||2.0-litre, 4cyl diesel/seven-speed automatic transmission|
What it Costs:
|Road Tax (VED) from April 2017:||£160 first year/then £140 p.a.|
|Company Car Tax Band 2017/18 to 2019/20:||25%, 27%, 30%|
|Benefit in Kind 2017/18, 2018/19, 2019/20:||£6,100 £6,588, £7,320|
|Annual/Monthly fuel benefit (20%):||£1,130/£94|
|Annual/Monthly fuel benefit (40%):||£2,260/£188|
|Annual/Monthly Company Car Tax (20%):||£1,220/£102|
|Annual/Monthly Company Car Tax (40%):||£2,440/£203|