Octavia sits well

The Skoda Octavia 1.8 TSI is a polished all-round family car.

The Skoda Octavia 1.8 TSI is a polished all-round family car.

The engine offers strong performance coupled with reasonable economy while the Octavia package has space, build quality and value for money on its side.

If only it had a bit more by way of character.

There are definitely cars that excite you more readily than Skoda’s Octavia.

Indeed, many people will have completed tax returns that gave them more of a buzz.

As a ‘ticks all the boxes’ compact family car, though, Skoda’s Golf-based stalwart doesn’t have a lot wrong with it.

For people who really need their daily drive to display a touch of sparkle, Skoda even lay-on the hot vRS model but with 198bhp and a £20,000 pricetag, that car is creeping away slightly from the core Skoda values.

A good compromise might be the 1.8-litre TSI we feature here. It’s just about as exciting as sensible gets.

Skoda has benefited hugely from being subsumed into the Volkswagen Group.

At a time when the brand’s journey from running joke to respectable contender is all but complete, its range of value for money vehicles based on VW platforms looks stronger than ever.

The Octavia feels closer than any other Skoda to its Volkswagen progenitor.

From the engine range to the interior, echoes of the Golf abound and along with Skoda’s tighter pricing, this is key to what makes the Octavia appealing.

There are differences though and amongst them, is this 1.8-litre TSI engine.

It’s unique amongst the Octavia’s powerplants in that it’s not found in the Golf.

The 1,798cc petrol engine uses Fuel Stratified Injection (FSI) technology and turbocharging so its nearest VW group relative is the 2.0-litre T FSI unit found in the Golf GTI, the Audi S3 and the Octavia’s own vRS.

The smaller capacity means there’s 158bhp of grunt available here instead of the 198bhp from the 2.0-litre turbo unit but it still makes for an eager feeling Octavia that retains the silky-smooth power delivery of the more powerful unit.

The full 250Nm maximum torque is available from 1,500rpm up to 4,200rpm so between those engine speeds, a flex of the throttle brings instant results.