Skoda Octavia: Lucky no. 8

But this is just half the story. With this new platform, Skoda’s engineers have mastered the art of tuning the Octavia for outstanding ride and mindboggling handling. Broken patches near Parwanoo, loose gravel en route to Chail, winding roads and blind corners while heading to Shimla – none of this unsettled the mighty Skoda. The Octavia has set a new benchmark for ride and handling.

The relaxed manner in which it handles any given situation can put most sporty hatchbacks to shame. There is hardly any hint of body roll while going into corners and the 205/55 rubber grips like a leech. Out on the highway, at speeds beyond 150kph, nothing, nothing tends to shake this Skoda.

The steering wheel too is precise and the 1,350kg sedan points its nose exactly where you want it. But if there is something to fault, it is the electronic power steering system, which is now a bit too light – now it only helps turn the wheel easily, rather than generate any sort of fun driving. It does weigh up with an increase in speed, but only to a miniscule extent. Also, it doesn’t offer the sort of feedback that quite a few previous-gen Octavia owners would have appreciated.

Nevertheless, the new Octavia is sure to set a new benchmark in the executive sedan segment. It comes loaded with all creature comforts and safety features you would need and expect from a car like this. And with a range of exciting petrol and diesel engines, an excellent chassis, spacious interior and fresh styling, this is a product that can give its rivals a serious run for their money.

(Words: Devesh Shobha, Photos: Himanshu Pandya)