-The first model from the VW umbrella to be sold in India
-Launched in 2001 and currently in its fourth generation
The Skoda Octavia has hit a big milestone in India. Behind the Maruti Alto and Mahindra Bolero, the Octavia nameplate is one of the longest-running and most storied in terms of cars for India. It opened India’s eyes to the world of budget European luxury as well as a high fun-to-drive factor in a sedan.
To mark the occasion, here is a compilation of our top drive experiences with the Skoda Octavia over the years.
Firstly before we begin, let us remind you that the current Skoda Octavia was launched in India in 2021 and is offered in the style trim as well as a fully loaded L&K model, which at the time of writing this story was priced at Rs 31.95 lakh (ex-showroom Navi Mumbai).
Today the D-segment is full of SUVs that have long waiting periods, and people are more than willing to wait for them. But rewind the clock to 13 years ago, and it was the era of the big sedan. Luxury barges represented status, power and space. This was the home of Laura/Octavia, and to this generation, it fought the sedan fight with the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic and the Volkswagen Jetta, all of which are long gone for India but still hold strong for those that had a chance to own them.
1.8-litre turbo petrol with a six-speed manual and 160bhp on the tap
That was the headline for the new Laura RS back in 2011. It might not seem like a lot now, but back then, it was mighty fast and gave our reviewers a jolt with a 0-100kmph time of just over 8 seconds and then on to a top speed of 200kmph! It also had the looks, features and interiors to match making it a true successor to the original Octavia RS that had come out a few years earlier.
In 2013, Skoda switched back to the Octavia nameplate and brought in the third generation Octavia. It was many firsts for Skoda in India, including a new set of powertrains, design language, features and driving experience. This car was updated in 2017 and saw it get more features, new design elements and, of course, the most powerful RS version that India has ever seen up to that point.
Hot hatch or hot sedan? Well, that’s a question we answered at our 2018 Track Day where we put the Skoda Octavia RS against the Mini Cooper JCW. Our fight aimed to answer which was more fun among two FWD cars producing more than 200bhp of power and with a top speed of over 200kmph.In the most dramatic and clichéd click-bait way, all we can say is that the result of this duel surprised us as much as it surprised you!
By the time the fourth-generation Octavia arrived in India, the D-sedan was long past its prime, thus making the car a bit of a lone wolf in the vehicular forest. But a lone wolf is known for its resilience and survival skills; thus, the fourth-generation Octavia exists and quite successfully at that too.