Skoda Octavia

Octavia is the first product under the involvement of Volkswagen Group. It is built on the latest Golf IV platform and amazingly was launched earlier than Golf itself. You'd better to see it as a Golf built in Czechoslovakia, since the group did little to distinguish it from other Golf variants. Same wheelbase, same engines, same structure.... although the boot adds extra luggage volume. 

However, lower production cost and lower trim level lead to a much lower price than Golf. Therefore it could be the best value car among its sisters. 

According to Autocar's test, the Octavia 1.6 offers very good build quality even if you judge it against Western Europe's cars. Although the interior is less well-built than the Golf, it could still shame the latest Opel Astra and others. The refined 1.6 engine with variable length manifold accompany with short-ratio gearbox offers very good performance and satisfying fuel economy. 2.0-litre is the old trusty Golf engine and less eager than the 1.6 at high rev. 150 hp 1.8T is a performance bargain. Rides good and, surprisingly, steering feels more meaty than the Golf and Audi A3. 

Volkswagen Group said they are building the Skoda brand to be another Volvo or Rover, that means, Skoda cars will be highly practical but slightly more elegant than Ford / Opel / Fiat etc. From Octavia, it seems that the goal is not very far away. 

The above report was last updated on 22 Apr 2001. All Rights Reserved.

Octavia RS

Now you can forget Volkswagen's policy to keep Skoda a bread-and-butter brand. From more and more evidence I suspect that policy has been discarded. The new Octavia RS is just the newest evidence - it's more powerful than any Golf other than VR6 and is so much more fun to drive than all Golfs ! In fact the car is more closely related to the 180 hp Seat Leon 20VT than its Golf root because they share the same Audi 1.8T engine and both of them are tuned to please drivers. In many ways the Octavia RS is even more driver-focused than the Leon. Although its gearbox has one ratio short, its lower ride height, aggressive spoilers & skirts, shaper suspension setup and 17-inch wheels contribute to better handling. The revised suspension also leads to crisper steering which is already well weighted. Golf IV chassis has never been so good to drive. 

As before, Audi TT's 180 hp turbo engine is linear and free of turbo lag. At just under 2000 rpm it delivers its maximum 173 lbft of torque all the way to 5000 rpm, whose refinement is simply astonishing even regardless of its 100hp-per-litre specific output. This give the RS a strong performance. Due to a fair amount of weight, it wouldn't get off the line as quick as hot hatches, but the superior flexibility of the engine enables stronger overtaking ability which is most important in real world. However, poorer gearshift, imprecise brake pedal action and intrusive traction control separate it from the greatest hot hatches or sports sedans. And in the subjective side, you may also laugh at its outdated appearance that looks like a cheap modified turbo hot-rod of the 80s. 

Nevertheless, Skoda is still keen on its bread-and-butter pricing policy, even for this hot chilli. At roughly the same price as a Renault Sport Clio 2.0, it represents good value for money considering the power as well as practicality (cabin and boot space) it offers.

The above report was last updated on 22 Apr 2001. All Rights Reserved.


Octavia 1.6
Octavia 2.0
Octavia RS
Front-engined, fwd.
Front-engined, fwd.
Front-engined, fwd.
Size (L / W / H / WB)
4511 / 1731 / 1429 / 2512 mm
4507 / 1731 / 1413 / 2508mm
Inline-4, sohc, 2v/cyl, 
variable intake
Inline-4, sohc, 2v/cyl.
Inline-4, dohc, 5v/cyl, turbo.
1595 c.c.
1984 c.c.
1781 c.c.
101 hp
115 hp
180 hp
107 lbft
125 lbft
173 lbft
F: strut / R: torsion beam
195 / 65 R15
 195 / 65 R15
205 / 50 ZR17
1219 kg
1354 kg
Top speed
114 mph*
144 mph* 
0-60 mph
10.9 sec*
7.8 sec*
0-100 mph
37.9 sec*
20.1 sec*
* Tested by Autocar

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