Honda City to Skoda Octavia upgrade: Likes, surprises & disappointments
I have driven the car for more than 2000 km since its delivery. It has been incredible so far and I have enjoyed every km of it.
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The Honda City 3rd Gen Facelift has served my family extremely well since 2012 and We have never had any complaints in 10 years of ownership, it has set the bar for our next car extremely high. Since the City was getting pretty old, we felt like it was time for an upgrade and started looking for a premium sedan in this era of SUVs.
Major criteria for selecting our next car:
We’ve considered only Honda Civic and Skoda Octavia as there are not many options in our price range. Unfortunately, Civic, Hyundai Elantra & Corolla were discontinued by the time we took our decision. Considering the discontinued cars, the Skoda Octavia still felt like the right choice even before the test drive.
This post is divided into three sections that include my pre-purchase, purchase and post-purchase experience of the new 2022 edition of Skoda Octavia.
On April 22, I went for a test drive of the Skoda Octavia and was super impressed with the overall package that Skoda has to offer. It was without a doubt a premium car.
The following are my initial observations from the Skoda Octavia test drive: (for detailed review please look at the post-purchase section)
- Exterior: The car looks amazing from all angles, the sharp headlights with split style DRLs, swooping body lines and the rear Liftback design all come together very well and look fantastic. The ground clearance is adequate, I even took the car on some very rough and bumpy roads during the TD, and surprisingly it didn’t scrape even once.
- Interior & Infotainment: The car had ample space. The Interior is very understated and premium. My only complaint was that climate controls didn’t have a dedicated button and can only be controlled over the 10-inch main screen. The infotainment system was quick and responsive. Wireless Android Auto and CarPlay were a very welcome addition along with all the USB-C ports. Both the screens offered a lot of information and worked nicely during the TD including the Voice Control.
- Driving: The 2.0 TSI is great fun, the power is quick and the gear shifts from the DSG are almost undetectable. I would have preferred an RWD setup but I can’t have it all. The chassis mates quite nicely with the drivetrain and is capable but a stiffer suspension and/or drive modes would’ve made it just perfect.
- Handling: The steering is very light and responsive, there is not a lot of direct feedback and that might become unwelcoming at very high speeds. Overall, the car handles quite well there are no major complaints. The brakes were nice and had a comfortable progression. The car was handled very well and was confidence-inspiring.
- Features: The Octavia has standard safety features like ABS, EBD VSA, etc. I don’t particularly care for sunroofs but I really wanted ventilated seats. Talking about missing features, I would’ve loved to see some ADAS features like lane switch assist, adaptive cruise & lane keep but the only driver assist system available is the driver fatigue alert.
The Octavia definitely felt like an upgrade over the City and I was aware of how much the Octavia badge is loved amongst the petrol heads in India.
Overall, I was impressed with the test drive and immediately fell in love with the Octavia, for me it was a typical European sedan to replace my Honda City. It screamed luxury, comfort and performance even though it lacked a few of the things I was looking for like ADAS features & ventilated seats but it was not a deal breaker for me.
My mind was made up, Octavia was the car of choice but because of all the horror stories about Skoda in India, I took my sweet time to research before booking the car. The car had no inherent problems since its launch in 2021 and people have spoken positively about the car. Coming to my major concern is Skoda itself. According to what I’ve read in the Team-BHP forum & trusted friends in the automobile space, Skoda India has improved after its India 2.0 project and started to focus on customer satisfaction. They are trying hard but it’s not all fixed just yet. In a nutshell what I understood was to look for the best Skoda dealer and service in your city and build trust with them, ensuring they understand exactly what you expect right from purchase to future maintenance of the car. I just hope that the DSG gearbox holds up well over the years.
After comparing the features between the two variants (Style and L&K). We decided to go for the L&K because of Auto levelling LED Headlamps, Canton speaker system, electric tailgate, Hands-free parking and other additions that were nice to have including the larger 7J wheels.
Finally in October i.e., almost 3 months after the test drive we decided to purchase the vehicle. We ended up taking the new Graphite Grey colour Skoda Octavia in L&K Trim, which was available for delivery within a few days and went in for a final PDI and delivery a day after the car arrived at the showroom. PDI was done using the Team-BHP PDI checklist for new cars. Everything was absolutely fine, ODO had only 10Kms and the car checked out. We negotiated and managed to decline the insurance offered by Skoda and purchased it for almost half the price outside.
Purchase details are as follows:
- Location: Raipur, Chhattisgarh
- Dealer: Speed Automotive – Skoda, Raipur
- Manufacturing Date: Aug/2022
- Invoice Price: Rs. 30,45,000
- RTO Chhattisgarh: Rs. 3,80,000 (Rounded-off)
- Insurance Add-ons (Cost: Rs. 74,000):
- Zero depreciation/ Bumper to Bumper Cover
- Invoice Price Protection
- Engine cover
- Car Key cover
- Rim Protection
- The 4-Year Maintenance pack for Rs 45,000. (As per the Skoda representative, it doesn’t include wheel alignment/balancing & brake pads).
Booking and delivery of the car were very smooth Speed Automotive ensured fast delivery. I noticed that the Skoda representatives were not able to give proper details about the car, like for instance, I noticed that the Voice control features were not working regardless of the language selected, it was not working like the test drive Octavia, they told they’ll update the system before delivery but till this date, it is in the same condition. Even when a command is recognized by the voice assistant it shows as functionality not supported.
Post-Purchase & Initial Review:
I have driven the car for more than 2000 km since its delivery on 18th October. It has been incredible so far and I have enjoyed every km of it. First of all, the attention to detail and clever additions to the car makes it a lot more pleasant to live with. The car looks and feels exceptional, the build quality is top-notch inside and out. There are a few things I didn’t like about the infotainment system but maybe Skoda can fix these with a software update.
Here are some of my Likes and Dislikes:
- I love the way the car looks; everything is well put together and has a nice premium touch to it. The door shuts with a satisfying thud, I like that the back of the car doesn’t have a fake exhaust cut out and the whole exterior is very sharp and clean looking. The panel gaps are consistent along with the paint quality.
- The interior is spacious, and the electrically adjustable seats with memory function for the front passenger seats are nice to have. The interior design is very neat and looks very sophisticated with the interior lighting. The seats are comfortable and relaxing. I like that the front doors have an umbrella holder.
- The boot is big and the lift-back tailgate helps in loading and unloading heavy items. Space organizers, hooks & partitions in the boot are also a plus point. The additional storage space all around the interior is also good to have.
- Wireless Android Auto and Car Play are nice to have, also the infotainment system connects to multiple devices at once for calling. The main 10-inch screen is very bright and there will be no issues in using the display in sunlight. The sound quality is nice and punchy at times, there is no rattling noise inside the car even on high volumes.
- The drive is fantastic, the car pulls quickly and is fun to drive every time you get behind the wheel. The ride is very comfortable and road imperfections are soaked up easily by the soft suspension setup. The steering is light and comfortable on long rides.
- The noise levels inside the car are well dampened, lower NVH levels help a lot in the long stretch of driving and make travelling less tiring for the passengers. The gear selector is very easy to use. It is very convenient to switch between drive and reverse also the foot controls are positioned well.
- I have realized if you drive the car with a light foot, you can extract decent mileage from it.
- The car has good driveability, and visibility from the driver seat is good. The turning radius of the car is also impressive. The rearview mirrors are big enough and give adequate adjustment room. The headlamps work very well and on highways the visibility is more than enough, the auto levelling is fast and accurate at most times.
- Octavia is a feature-packed car, I especially like the addition of a slew of safety features like 8 airbags, vehicle stability assist systems, ESC, EBD, etc. to keep the passengers safe and sound. I also like the Automatically dimming mirrors with defoggers on the driver’s side (they work well). The parking sensors are fairly adequate and help a lot in manoeuvring the car in tight spaces.
- Pulsar black wheels look nice and the 7J size allows for wider tyres in future. When set to the right air pressure the wheels and tyres do a nice job of making the ride even plusher.
- The beige seats and interior trim parts are already giving me nightmares and I am wondering how it will age over time. I didn’t like the exclusion of interior lights from the rear doors. The suede leather finish will be difficult to maintain and easy to stain.
- The stock tyres (Good Year Assurance) are not that great and don’t do justice to the car’s performance. There is a lot of tyre noise and the grip isn’t the best.
- Driving modes would’ve been nice. The launch control works but there is still a lot of tyre spin, maybe it is because of the crappy stock tyres.
- Air conditioner is controlled from the main touchscreen, there are no physical buttons to control it. It has a button that quickly opens the climate controls on the touchscreen but it still adds a lot of extra steps. The A/C recirculation settings get reset every time the car starts or smart A/C features are used.
- The infotainment interface can be improved a lot, there are a lot of steps to do simple tasks like changing vehicle settings, the gesture controls don’t work perfectly and the temperature control from the volume slider using two-fingers usually doesn’t work. I would’ve preferred TMPS to provide accurate pressure reading from the tyres but it only detects pressure loss. The infotainment also hangs sometimes, I’ve read MY21 owners complain about it, but the MY22 infotainment is more stable in comparison.
- Wireless charging is very slow and if there is a cover on your phone it will take hours to charge. The placement of the front USB-C ports makes it prone to dust and debris. The lack of a sub-woofer is also felt from the latest MY22 iterations.
- Lack of ventilated seats, and driver assist systems. I expected Skoda to add adaptive cruise control or at least lane switch assist to the Octavia.
- When cornering at higher-than-average speeds there is some amount of body roll and the suspension setup is more comfort-oriented. A stiffer & direct steering would’ve been nice for speed runs.
- The Snap-On lug nut covers came loose and had to replace them. I feel Skoda could’ve done a better job with these. The inner lining on the right rear wheel arch is already torn and I have to get it checked at Skoda ASS.
- I use android auto for navigation & only basic Route guidance is shown on the driver screen, no map is visible.
- To answer or decline calls from the steering-mounted control, first the driver needs to use the scroll wheel to highlight the answer or decline option and then select the desired one, also I cannot end the calls from the steering-mounted controls. (or maybe I haven’t figured it out just yet). All of these add extra steps and increase the risk of accidents.
The surprise and disappointment with the 2022 Skoda Octavia:
When I took the test drive on April 22, I drove the 2021 edition of Octavia which had an additional feature when compared to the latest MY22 edition and was cheaper. During the whole purchase phase I was never informed about the changes with the 2022 Skoda Octavia and I realized this only after finalizing the deal and taking the delivery.
It was the Canton 12-Speaker System; Recently, Skoda removed the Canton sound system from all its vehicles due to a chip shortage. I was surprised that even after the delivery the Skoda representatives were unaware of this change and failed to inform me. I was very disappointed that I had to pay more to get less from the latest iteration of the Octavia. Removal of The Canton 610W speaker system was a huge bummer for me, at least Skoda could’ve given another 12-speaker system and filled the empty speaker spaces.
Overall, I am satisfied with my purchase and looking forward to a long trouble-free ownership experience. I hope my journey of purchasing the new Skoda Octavia and initial impressions will help potential buyers.
For a very detailed review of the new Octavia, please read Octavia 4th Gen Review by Omkar
Some photos to enjoy:
Details from my recent trip from Raipur Chhattisgarh to Bengaluru, KA. The mileage was unexpected.
Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.
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