2013 Skoda Octavia: First Drive
If Skoda today is a well recognised and trusted brand, it has a lot to do with the way it started off here in India. By bringing in the Skoda Octavia as their first car on offer in the early 2000s, they made all the right moves to mark its entry into a market in which growth had no bounds as long as the product was incomparable. Of course there are oodles of other factors that influence the way a brand is perceived but for Skoda, the Octavia was just what they needed to make a strong first impression.
Since the launch of the first generation Octavia, the car has been well received thanks to a good balance of performance, technology, features and most importantly a Value for Money price tag. It was quick to gain popularity in a segment that wasn’t quite bringing the numbers back in the day and with this third generation Octavia is now promoted one segment up in place of the outgoing Laura, Skoda intends to regain the hold in the market they once had. So what does this new package offer as inducement to ensure that it makes a place for itself in a segment that has cars like the Volkswagen Jetta, Chevrolet Cruze and the Hyundai Elantra ruling the roost? Let’s find out…
Is it a looker?
The Octavia has always been a good looking car, even the first generation model was sure to turn a few heads, and it remains so even in this new iteration, but the fact that it still continues to hold the typically Skoda DNA is without doubt commendable. The front end looks simply stunning, with the black Skoda family grille, the new logo and the clean cuts on the bonnet. The LED daytime running lamps add more blush to the face of this newest baby but is unfortunately available only in the top of the line Elegance variant. We drove the top-end automatic variant with the LED lamps as well as the mid-spec Ambition which gets the halogen daytime running lamps and without doubt the difference in night time vision is tremendous.
While the front looks simply spectacular, the profile is rather disappointing. The only thing that actually tries to add some spunk into the relatively bland profile are the C-shaped tail-lights. One look at the rear and you will immediately notice that the Octavia seems pretty much identical to the smaller Rapid, especially with the diamond cuts around the number plate. Interestingly, the only badging on the boot is ‘Skoda’ and ‘Octavia’, aside from which there is no indication of the trim levels or engine variants on the outside. Although a sharper and more aggressive profile would definitely have given the Octavia a perfect 10 in this department, at no point can it be said that this baby is not a good looking car. Almost perfect score then for the designers and engineers…