Considering a Skoda Octavia – one of the roomiest cars in its class – but want a clean and frugal petrol version rather than its more common diesel engine? The Czech firm’s all-new 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine may be the answer.
Skoda has developed this three-cylinder petrol engine as a direct replacement for the 1.2-litre TSI unit, so the Octavia can finally join its rivals – the Volkswagen Golf and recently facelifted Audi A3, and the Vauxhall Astra and Ford Focus in offering this size of engine.
This is not the only new addition to the Octavia range, with Skoda set to offer its Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) adaptive suspension as an £850 option on Octavia models with 147bhp or more. Other additions will include a wireless phone connector and charging system and an umbrella situated under the passenger seat.
What’s the 2016 Skoda Octavia 1.0 TSI like to drive?
Pretty much as you would expect, with a slick shifting six-speed manual gearbox designed to keep revs to a minimum to give it a more relaxed motorway cruising manner. However, around town and when overtaking on faster roads it does require a bit of gear changing to keep the 1.0-litre engine in its punchy mid-range.
Under hard acceleration you get a thrumming engine note, although this settles down to a quiet background hum once you ease off the throttle at a cruise. The 1.2 TSI was one of our favourite engines in the Octavia, and while this 1.0-litre unit isn't quite as refined, it is still a worthy replacement.
The Octavia’s ride has often been considered a weak point in the past, especially around town, with the Skoda known to fidget over scarred roads and thump rather heavily over potholes. The 1.0 TSI model is much like any other Octavia in the range; it is prone to intrusive noises from the suspension at low speeds, and from wind noise over the windscreen at motorway speeds.
The handling is the same as any other Octavia, too, which means you get well-weighted steering, stable cornering and limited body roll. Okay, so it doesn't feel quite as agile as a Ford Focus or Vauxhall Astra, but families will be glad of the Skoda's safe, assured handling.
What’s the 2016 Skoda Octavia 1.0 TSI like inside?
Buyers of the 1.0-litre TSI will benefit from a well-equipped car fitted with a solid, tactile and easy-to-use dashboard.
The 1.0-litre TSI engine is available only in entry-level S and mid-range SE trims. Those opting for the entry-level Octavia will get a 6.5in infotainment system controlling the DAB radio, music via Bluetooth or USB and hands-free calling. It also comes with air conditioning, heated and folding door mirrors, and height and reach-adjustable steering.
Choose SE trim and you’ll get dual-zone climate control, fully electric windows, rear parking sensors and lumbar support on the front seats.
Visibility is very good all-round, and the Octavia has a vast boot and masses of rear passenger space, which put it closer to cars from the classes above when it comes to space and practicality. Certainly, neither a Focus or Astra can hope to live with the Octavia's extremely generous space.
Should I buy one?
If you are after a roomy, economical family hatch with an efficient petrol engine then you can’t go too far wrong with the 1.0-litre TSI Skoda Octavia, whether you're a private buyer or company car user.
In fact, because of the lower list price, and because petrol isn't subject to the three tax band surcharge that diesel faces, the 1.0 TSI will actually be cheaper on monthly tax bills than the obvious diesel company car options in the Octavia range. That said, we'd still recommend a diesel first for those covering big motorway miles in search of better fuel economy.
Sure, some rivals do other things better. A Ford Focus will out-ride and handle the Skoda, while an Astra provides similar interior space and is more generous with its infotainment and equipment. Neither is quite as rounded as the Octavia, though, and Skoda's extremely competitive finance deals could make it cheaper to own than either rival, too.
What Car? says…
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Skoda Octavia 1.0 TSI 115 S
Engine size 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol
Price from £16,660
Torque 148lb ft
0-62mph 9.9sec Top speed 126mph
Fuel economy (official combined) 62.8mpg