“You can’t put a 1.0 litre petrol engine in a car as big as the Octavia”. These were the words uttered by some when Škoda announced that the Octavia was getting a new powertrain. I’ll be the first to admit that I was sceptical about it myself. Thankfully though any doubts I may have had were well and truly put to bed once I had the opportunity to put the 1.0 TSI engine through its paces.

The Škoda Octavia as we know it has been around for over 20 years being first launched back in 1996 and arriving in Ireland in 1998. Since it first went into production, Škoda have sold more than five million units with almost 55,000 new Octavia models sold here in Ireland. It is no surprise then that the Octavia is Škoda’s bestselling model here in Ireland and has been in the top four Irish selling car models for the past two years running.

Interior space, practicality, design quality and value for money are all things that Škoda take great pride in. What the Octavia range also offers is something for everybody. The introduction of this new 1.0 litre three-cylinder engine merely highlights how in tune with their customer base that Škoda are.

For those that have never experienced the interior of the Octavia, it has an abundance of space. The inclusion of the Sports Pack on my test car added the Sports interior with Sport seats along with a 3-spoke sport steering wheel while standard specification in Style trim includes the front armrest “Jumbo Box”, rear armrest as well as an 8-speaker sound system to name but a few. The addition of the Sport seats means that comfort and space are at the forefront once you sit into the Octavia. The layout of the dash is clutter free with the inclusion of an easy to use touch screen infotainment system. There’s also several storage compartments and pockets throughout the cabin. The seat space isn’t limited to the front either with plenty of room in the rear also whilst boot space is an impressive 590 litres on the lift-back model I am testing which expands up to 1,580 litres with the rear seats folded down.

In recent weeks Škoda have announced the launch of a facelift model of the Octavia which will arrive here in Ireland in March of this year. The new Octavia sees several exterior styling changes that encompass the new ŠKODA design language. These include the new front-end radiator grille, which has been expanded with the introduction of additional headlights with a crystalline look, and wider air inlets with a honeycomb structure in the redesigned bumper for a more dynamic look.

Facelift Octavia arriving March 2017

The new Octavia will continue with the same trim line structure of Active, Ambition and Style specification levels with the Ambition model gaining new LED taillights, electric folding mirrors and a new reversing camera now as standard. The top Style trim line will now benefit from a new front grill and chrome detailing in addition to the impressive 9.2” Columbus Navigation & Infotainment system which comes as standard on the Style model.

The 1.0 litre TSI engine is available with either six speed manual or the tried and tested DSG automatic transmission. All too often we experience three-cylinder engines that sound like they are somewhat off balance. This is not the case with the 1.0 litre turbocharged petrol engine however. Even when you push it on it never gives the appearance that it is doing more with less. You could be forgiven for thinking that 1.0 litre engines are more suited to city and town driving too. The Octavia is as comfortable on the motorway as many bigger petrol and diesel models that I have driven of late and fuel economy is not effected too much either. Cruising at 120km/hr the rev counter sits at just under 2,500 rpm and you can barely hear the three cylinders working away up front. The gear ratios in the six-speed manual transmission have been reworked for the new 1.0 litre engine and they appear to be perfectly suited to all manner of driving scenarios.

Whether it is on city streets, country roads or open motorways the Octavia feels well planted and instils confidence in the driver on cornering.

The big question remains however, why should I buy a small petrol engine over a bigger proven diesel engine. Let’s take the 1.0 litre TSI 115bhp Ambition trim verses the 1.6 Diesel 115 bhp Ambition trim as our example. The 1.0 litre version will cost you €2,600 less than the diesel model and while fuel consumption will be slightly higher with the petrol engine if both cars were to average 15,000 kilometres per year it would take you almost 6 years to recoup the difference of buying diesel over petrol. Given that people are starting to change their car more regularly in recent years you may never actually recover that excess that you are paying for the apparent luxury of driving a diesel car.

Overall it is difficult not to be impressed by the ability of the small 1.0 litre TSI engine that Škoda have added to the Octavia line-up. In my opinion it makes perfect sense for it to be considered if the Octavia is on your shopping list.


Technical Specification

Engine Size – 1.0 TSI

Fuel Type – Petrol

Power – 115 bhp

Torque –  200 Nm

Acceleration (0 – 100km/h) – 9.9 seconds

Top Speed – 202 km/hour

Consumption (Combined) – 4.5 litres/ 100 kilometres

CO2 emissions – 103g / km

Road Tax – €190

Starting Price – € 19,750 (as per new model pricing)

Model Tested – € 25,730 (at time of testing)