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Old 28th January 2016, 20:32   #1
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Default My Skoda Octavia 1.4 TSI

Hi friends, This forum has been ever so helpful to me in deciding which car to finally go for, but for this particular engine variant, there hardly seems to be a detailed personal review, hence, after much deliberation, I decided to start this thread to shed light on the tiny yet very versatile engine option from VW group- the 1.4 TSI in its 140bhp tune

The story starts with my search for a replacement to my 12 year old war horse, the original Toyota Corolla 1.8 G. This car had served us well for over a decade with minimal fuss and when we bought it in 2003, we never thought it would last us this long. The car clocked 150k on the odo and due to slight niggles, decade old styling and the NGT’s order to ban >15 year old petrol vehicles in Delhi, we decided it’s time to sell it and look ahead.

We set a budget of around 17 lacs for a good Manual car and started looking at all C+, D and entry SUV segment cars to compare. We already have two sedans- a Verna and an A6 in the garage so my natural shift in curiosity was towards SUVs.

The Must-haves-
  • >120bhp engine
  • Bluetooth audio/telephone
  • Decent 6 speaker music system with SD/Aux/Bluetooth
  • Safety- ABS/EBD/Air Bags/Build Quality
  • Unfussy/not too radical looks
  • Good Driver’s side comfort since I will mostly be driving this solo
  • Decent boot space
  • Leather seats
  • Reliability (really? In a Skoda thread?)

Features I could look over-
  • Reverse Camera
  • Dual zone aircon
  • Electrically adjustable seats
  • LED/DRL lights
  • Extra gadgetry which doesn’t come much in use- sunroof, mirror link etc

The possible contenders
  • The Honda City
  • The Mahindra XUV500/Thar
  • The New Toyota Altis
  • The VW Jetta
  • The yet to be launched Hyundai Creta
  • The Skoda Octavia

1) The Honda- After driving the Corolla everyday for the past 4 years since I got it handed down by my father, it just didn’t seem the right model to “upgrade” to. I was always smitten by the Civic and the upcoming model looked very enticing, but its indian launch was doubtful. The City is a practical modern family car with decent figures in proportions and performance but just didn’t cut the ice for me personally.

2)The Mahindras- These were the only Diesel options we had on the contender list, only because of the SUV offering and we all thought we have enough sedans in the garage.

XUV- I really like the XUV design and was amazed at its road presence. I never really paid much attention to it until being amidst decision making and with the new facelift, it looked plusher and more evolved since the fussy design detail filled first generation one. The car was brought to my residence near South Campus, Delhi University for a test drive just days after its launch. I was impressed with the cabin feel at first and it looked quite elegant, but slowly I started noticing the cheap quality all around. My mom came with me for a test drive and even she felt the quality was just not up to par. Although punchy, the engine seemed unable to carry the weight of the car and hence, did not feel like a 140hp car except when I floored the pedal. The feature list was obviously unmatched but my needs were minimal, coming again from a corolla. After a test drive, I kept it only as a weak contender.

Thar- This was more of a “why not contender” and never really meant to be taken seriously. Although I love the Thar, I do not think it is practical as a daily commuter vehicle. Kept it as a distant “item” in the bucketlist for a later time in life.

3) New Corolla Altis- The obvious choice, thought all of us! but alas, neither the Interior design (which is very truck like in my opinion) nor the ride quality/build inspired much confidence in me. A quick test drive right after the Octavia was enough to strike this off the list. I absolutely hated the utilitarian design of the dash and console and the finish seemed very after-market compared to the competition.

4) The Jetta- I absolutely love this car'’s design- So elegant and understated and with the recent facelift, so upmarket. Since we intended only on a petrol, the 1.4 was the one we test drove. Even at just 122bhp the engine seemed peppy and with a lot of torque to offer, the ride was magnificent and smooth and probably the best in the current line up. The interior however, seemed outdated for a 16L car. The equipment on offer was also too barebones for my liking. Plus, going through reviews and performance specs and overall value, I decided the Octavia 1.4 might be a better choice if it came down to those two.

5) The yet to be launched Creta- My mom was heavily in favour of me waiting to see this compact SUV before taking a decision. However, I decided that it’s not time yet to buy an SUV and maybe the next purchase could be one, and one that actually is a capable SUV rather than a crossover/softroader. The Creta is a great mini SUV no doubt but after already owning the Verna 1.6, the Creta's engine choices didn't seem enticing.

Finally, the beastly octy.

After a preliminary online research on the internet, the 1.4 was chosen over the 1.8 due to budgetary limitations. The limited edition and recently launched zeal variant greatly interested me since it was very European and IMHO more luxurious than the standard beige scheme. I extensively read the Team BHP review as well as watched as many 1.4TSI youtube reviews as I could and decided to finally go for a showroom visit to FAHRENHEIT Skoda in Moti Nagar, Delhi which is right opposite to the Galaxy Toyota Showroom where I took the corolla test ride shortly after this one.

I entered the showroom and there stood a white Knight in shining armor! I was blown away by the elegance the New Octy exudes. In fact, it reminded me of our A6 in many ways like the clean lines, the alloys and the overall sturdiness. I basically decided there and then that this is our new car, but still gave a shot to the corolla Altis as mentioned earlier for loyalty sake. The car looked every bit a german(czech) monster! minimalistic yet tankish. The blacked out headlights look very imposing, albeit not as stunning as the elegance model's bi-xenon/DRL lights. The rear Lights with LED look very sexy at night, the only sore point in my view are the boring alloys. I like sportier 5 spoke alloys which come with the ambition and despite several requests the dealer did not indulge me with a swap. Getting after market alloys apparently voids warranty, the holy grail in vw cars, so I decided that I would have to settle for the stock ones for now.

I have always been a fan of all black interiors, not only are they easier to maintain and clean, they age slower than their beige counterparts. The Verna needs a full interior treatment every 6 months and the Audi's beige leather has already started to show signs of ageing with deep set wrinkles and stubborn dust marks which need some tough cleaning soon. More than the practicality, I personally love the european feel of black leather interiors, there is something classy about it. So when the zeal edition came, I personally was lucky enough to be looking for an octy right then. The display car we stepped into immediately gave us the luxurious feel of a car much above in the price bracket. The soft plastics all over, the high quality knobs and buttons, the feel of steering controls and most of all the alcantara-leather combo had me at hello. I cannot express truly how luxurious the black interiors of this octy look, and the quality and feel all over are grade-a. The arm rest and power window handle placements are also very ergonomically sound, makes the driving position a whole lot more comfortable unlike in the A6 where the right elbow rest is a little too low. The faux gloss wood inserts are much better quality than the competition and there is just the right amount of chrome inside on the ac vents and door handles to give it some shine. However, The driver side ac vent reflects a lot due to the chrome. The central console is again european and classy with a piano black console. All in all, a very very upmarket interior on the skoda.

Test Drive
We asked for a test drive of the 1.4TSI but were informed that there were no cars available at the showroom but a test drive could be arranged at home later. Next day the showroom's Satman Auto branch at Okhla promptly sent a 1.4TSI Zeal edition to my residence. Time was short and I could only get about 15 minutes total with the car due to prior appointments but those 15 minutes were enough for me to finally decide on this car for sure. The engine seemed so powerful to me as I floored the pedal on the empty stretch next to my house, but at lower revs, exactly how the reviews said, I felt the obvious Turbo-Lag which was very annoying. However, I made peace with that once I evaluated the car based on overall pros and cons.

The Booking-

I went to the Moti Nagar Showroom once again the following week and the dealer told me there was just one white 1.4 TSI Zeal edition left with them and since its a limited edition, they did not expect new Zeal stock to arrive. I promptly booked the car but found out that it already had 150kms on it. This seemed shady to me, I checked various threads on how much max a car should have run and this reading was an obvious red signal. I had to cancel my booking and start my search within NCR for a 1.4 Zeal edition again! Fortunately, Jai Auto in Safderjung Enclave had exactly the same spec car in its stockyard ready to be delivered. I went ahead and booked it with them for a marginally higher price but was satisfied that I am getting a product I want as I want it and not as a compromise.

The car was being offered at a 20k premium ex-showroom due to the zeal edition and the company was offering me zero dep engine insurance plus extended warranty at 40k. the final price on-road for delhi registration I paid was 18.10L. This included a discount of 10k which was basically the dealer taking off the transport charges. I got them to give me the zeal edition at the same price of the beige interior and saved another 20k there. I had a 50%NCB from our corolla which drove down the insurance cost by around 24k.

The car was booked on the 22nd of July 2015 and we asked for it to be delivered on the 1st of August 2015 since it was my Father's birthday. I went for the PDI on 28th July at their stockyard with a friend and my parents and fortunately the car was given a clean chit by all. The showroom staff and our sales agent were extremely courteous and even organized a Birthday cake along with the delivery.

Overall experience with the dealership so far- 4/5. (A true counting chickens before they hatch story though, read on)

Ownership Report after the first 6 months-

  • Understated looks
  • Solid build quality all around
  • Huge space in cabin and trunk and comfortable seats with great thigh, leg, head and foot room
  • powerful cruiser engine
  • extremely smooth gearbox
  • extremely elegant black interior theme
  • full safety pack- abs, ebd, airbags
  • easy to use infotainment system with intuitive steering controls
  • powerful A/C
  • good and adequate ground clearance
  • quiet cabin and engine at idle
  • boring alloys
  • noisy stock tyres
  • dim stock halogen lighting
  • turbo lag below 2000 rpm
  • bonnet opener needs the front door to be opened
  • manual adjustment of seats
  • absence of front parking assist
  • absence of in-built navigation
  • car seems to rattle a lot due to some lose plastic parts like the rear break light on top of the rear windshield
  • boring black and white on-board computer
  • not as tech savvy as its korean rivals, not even as add on options
  • after sales service- before even the first service!

I have driven the car only 6700 kms so far and haven't truly gotten the feel of it. Work and the Audi are equally culpable in that regard. Whenever we go out of town for trips we prefer the Audi and the Skoda is basically used by me for commuting within the city to work and back.

City Driving
Driving in Delhi traffic during peak hours is not the easiest of tasks for the 1.4 tsi manual, with a lot of low-range turbo lag, there is a constant need to shift gears, especially from 2 to 1. I find this annoying coming from the corolla where even on the third gear one could pick up where you stopped. On an empty stretch however, the story changes! The car comes to life at around 2500 rpm and the third/fourth gear. The acceleration is linear, refined and there is a low grunt when you step on the pedal and the rpm crosses 3500. The best way to zip through traffic is to shift through 2nd and 3rd gears but the real power and torque delivery comes on the 4th. If one is lucky enough to find empty roads, like in the odd-even period, the car is a dream to cruise on. On empty stretches I tend to floor it on the 4th and it really is a dream to drive. The only little problem I feel, and this could be psychological, is that the 1.4 tsi is tiny and feels strained at very high speeds. Again, this could only be a psychological barrier as I still don't understand how such a small cubic capacity engine can outdo larger capacity engines in outright performance.

The car rides well even on deep Delhi Potholes but doesn't seem as planted as the Jetta, probably due to a lack of an independent rear suspension. My shockers/suspension anyway need oiling/fixing since there has been a clinking glass kind of noise that comes when driving at slow speeds on really uneven roads (mostly inner colony). The car seems best to ride without one being wobbled around when its driven at high speeds (>60kmph).

The braking is quite stupendous in my opinion. In Delhi during peak hours, due to an inherent habit of "cutting" from the left, I am blind-sided pretty regularly and the brakes do come handy in protecting the car. I was once driving back home from work at around 10 and this moronic bicyclist appeared out of thin air, It was a pretty empty long stretch of road but did not have good street lighting, I was at 100 kmph and lucky enough to have swerved in time and really felt the usefulness of having a good braking system and ebd. Though I couldn't stop and give the idiot a piece of my mind I was glad he cycled away in one piece!

The car is pretty damn big and the large proportions are actually masked by clever design like the c pillar kink. Due to its large size, parking in Delhi can be a pain and the car will almost surely jut out onto the road in public parking. The hatchback style however limits visibility while parking or looking at the IRVM and unless you're good at manoeuvring with the parking sensors, it'll be tough time. The only problem with the ambition variant in regards to parking is the lack of front parking sensors. I really wish they had given it even as an option! they would definitely have helped avoiding pavement bumps while parking.

The stock tyres are goodyear and are very noisy. I will upgrade to michellins pretty soon. The fuel economy is decent at 13.7 kmpl with the car being driven 90% of the time in above average traffic situations. The initial fuel economy during the first 2500-3000 kms was a meagre 9.5kmpl. These figures are of course, with a modest driving style and following gear change tips displayed on the dash computer.

Comfort and practicality
Front seat comfort in the car is stupendous! I literally feel I am sitting on a cloud! that's how comfortable the seats are. Ample leg room and thigh support but the only drawback in the Ambition variant is the really labour intensive seat adjustment system. The Alcantara feels very cool during hot days and doesn't make me sweat as much as pure leather would have.

The rear seat is also extremely roomy with acres of leg, foot and headroom even after adjusting the driver's seat to my normal driving position with the front head rest coming just behind the B-pillar(I'm 6'1). The car is full of cubby holes to store things, like one storage space under the front seats, like a life-jacket space in airline seats. The clever thing is that the rear armrest when folded down has a little latch you can pull to access the boot from within the car. This could be supremely useful in road trips when one keeps wanting packed things from the boot.

The Aircon does its job surprisingly well considering the problems people have faced with their Laura Aircons. The auto temperature is quick to make you feel comfortable in decent time but my aircon unit does make a lot of noise at full blower speed.

The bolero infotainment system is excellent. Touch screen with colour but sadly a meagre 5.8". Although it wasn't on my priority list and I don't need one per se, it would have been lovely to have a Rear view camera. Tried searching teambhp and the Internet on options but none seem to protect warranty. One thing I surely miss in the ambition variant is front parking sensors, the VAG group of cars currently come with protruding lower bumper lips which have a very high chance of scraping pavements and other cars. Might get all this retrofit one day. The other pros of the bolero are a full informative display about the vehicles fuel consumption pattern (if VAG can be believed).

The steering controls are better than the A6s in my opinion, since there are dedicated buttons for changing tracks and a button for answering/declining calls. The Bluetooth system is quite good and connects automatically to a previously connected phone. I spend a lot of time taking calls in the car so it's definitely a plus!

The best part about this car is its transmission! in one word- velvety! In comparison to all cars mentioned above and even the silky verna, this one takes the cake imo. The shifting is truly effortless and once you get the hang of the gear changing pattern, it will truly be a wonderful driving experience. I am yet to take the octy out for a long trip on a highway but surely will do so very soon. Based on a few short highway drives from Delhi to Sohna I believe this car's high torque makes it an excellent cruiser but I'll reserve that compliment for later

The issues I have faced so far-

1) Rattling- My god I am one of the most OCD people, and even a slight pin drop can be heard by me. There was a constant rattling sound when I used to press the brakes at whatever speeds, in the driver seat, it seemed like it was coming from the right side rear window/door. I got it checked at the service center but the noise around there was so much that the sound mechanic himself suggested coming over to my locality and checking it out. After about 3 months and 3 mechanic visits to my place, the issue was finally resolved! It was the rear brake light attached to the boot that kept rattling for some reason! I still don’t know what made it lose enough to rattle in the first place, but oh well! At least I can drive in peace!

2) More Rattling- I have noticed on rough surfaces, there is weird glass clanking noise that comes from the left side rear shocks/suspension. During my last visit to the service center at Okhla for the other rattling issue, I left the car with them for two days to figure out what this noise was and fix it. But with Skoda one has to be prepared for anything, and my negativity proved right when the car was delivered back at my place with the noise still persistent. The service advisor did not have the courtesy to call back, the feedback call from Skoda doesn’t really mean anything either because I lodged an official complaint, yet no action has still been taken

3) The dealership and my RC- This has been the most time consuming of all problems so far. My car was bought in August 2015, yet till January 2016 I did not get my RC! I finally got it after running around Delhi and giving the RTO a piece of my mind. So I first raked up the issue in October with the dealership, the sales agent whom I gave 4/5 stars assured me that it will be delivered soon and the delay was because of their unwell RTO agent. I must admit, I have been really patient with Skoda, probably knowing their infamous reputation of giving the customer a hard time on various fronts once the car leaves the showroom, but this one was different. After another month given, I raised the issue with the dealership again in November 2015, and again this time was given excuses like a change in the computer system at the RTO because of which the new RCs aren’t being printed. I decided to lodge a complaint at the skoda customer service email. They were very prompt in their reply and forwarded this case to the regional manager who in turn promised to call me within the next two days with an update. A week later and there was no news as I patiently kept the storm within at bay. I sent another email regarding the lackadaisical attitude of everyone at Skoda and threatened to take legal recourse if necessary. But voila! No reply still! The Manager of the dealership in the meanwhile sent me a copy of the registration receipt and to my shock I find the registration and Insurance date as 22nd September! A month and a half after I took delivery, this is patently illegal and could have led to such a huge problem for me had any unfortunate incident occurred with the car in that one month! I was shocked and literally lost it, that is when I drove straight to the showroom and demanded that the receipt be given to me. I had read here on Team Bhp about the Giriraj auto nightmares and apparently my dealership, Jai Auto is basically the same company that has changed the dealership name. Apart from the anger, I was apprehensive about malafides by the dealership palming off an old/accidental/used/testdrive car. I got my office driver to go check out the status at the RTO with the receipt in hand and apparently the idiotic agent of my dealer did not sign off on some record book because of which this entire delay ensued! Anyway, I’m glad I got my RC within a week of trying my luck with the RTO myself.

The larger issue here though is Skoda’s infamous after sales service. I was advised by friends and family not to go for a VAG car due to their shoddy service standards, but with Audi’s excellent service and Skoda GM’s encouraging words, I decided to take the plunge for a great car. While I still don’t regret buying a Skoda, I can only pray some sense and sensitivity prevails in the entire management of Skoda to get their dealers in order.

So as not to end this beautiful car’'s review on a sour note, I’ll post some pictures of the beauty in all its glory! Thank you for reading!
Attached Thumbnails
My Skoda Octavia 1.4 TSI-img_1059.jpg  

My Skoda Octavia 1.4 TSI-img_1831-1.jpg  

My Skoda Octavia 1.4 TSI-img_1493.jpg  

My Skoda Octavia 1.4 TSI-fullsizerender.jpg  

Last edited by GTO : 15th February 2016 at 09:47. Reason: Taking live, thanks for sharing!
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Old 15th February 2016, 09:48   #2
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Default Re: My Skoda Octavia 1.4 TSI

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Initial Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 15th February 2016, 17:41   #3
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Default Re: My Skoda Octavia 1.4 TSI

Originally Posted by zee_bat View Post
Hi friends, This forum has been ever so helpful to me in deciding which car to finally go for, but for this particular engine variant, there hardly seems to be a detailed personal review, hence, after much deliberation, I decided to start this thread to shed light on the tiny yet very versatile engine option from VW group- the 1.4 TSI in its 140bhp tune
Congratulations on a brilliant car, and an underrated engine choice. Your review is wonderfully written, comprehensive and unbiased. Do add a few more interior pictures though. I like that they've stuck with the Skoda steering wheel. I dislike the switch in the Rapid to the VW steering thankfully after I had purchased my car.

The fact that the 1.8 is joined at the hip to the problematic DSG along with the practical limitations of my future income have always limited my Octavia dreams to the 1.4 petrol. You have filled the void of 1.4 reviews on Team BHP, and have my sincere thanks for that. Please do also keep the thread up to date with how she performs on any outstation trips, and other unusual (good and bad) occurrences.

I've had a Rapid since late 2013, and can tell you with complete confidence that the worst of Skoda service issues are behind us. That is not a good thing, because their well below par service standards seem to be what they aspire to provide, and escalating to all and sundry makes absolutely no difference. They seem to have a government like "cannot be fired" clause for all of their service advisers and technicians.

Having said that, if you develop and nurture a personal (platonic) relationship with an SA of your choice, they can provide average service. Don't even dream Toyota.

These cars are wonderful though, and I've never regretted buying the Rapid. When all things are considered, Skoda seems to me to be truly value for money, even more than Hyundai. The cars are beautiful and well built and while they may not (in my case) have an unending features list, they do have the ones that are truly useful.
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Old 15th February 2016, 18:54   #4
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Default Re: My Skoda Octavia 1.4 TSI

Originally Posted by VeluM View Post
Congratulations on a brilliant car, and an underrated engine choice. Your review is wonderfully written, comprehensive and unbiased. Do add a few more interior pictures though.
Thank you for the kind words VeluM, took a long time to write but I had to! since the 1.4tsi reviews in India are sparse. attaching more interior pictures.

The 1.8 was an enticing option but lack of a manual was a huge sore point. Although driving an auto in India is a boon, having the stick shift can give you complete control of your car and IMHO much more fun. The DSG problems I read in the official thread was also one of the reasons I decided to go for the 1.4. In fact, as recently as today the latest post in the official thread is on a DSG problem!

My beast actually met with a small accident affecting the rear door that I intend to write about shortly and I agree, the overall experience with the body shop was extremely pleasing and smooth. Will write and post pics soon.

The real reason I bought this is that I have a few friends who owned the 1st octavia and they swear by the "feels" it gave. I drove a friend's rapid automatic from Delhi to Amritsar and instantly fell in love with the quality and sturdiness. Though the engine seemed a little less responsive especially mated with the auto box, the car did put a smile on my face! You hit the spot with the technology part, I truly only need the technology that is given stock, even the dislikes I mentioned in regard to the technology are more of a want than need.

You should definitely upgrade to the 1.4 octy if you are considering it, the new batch of cars are truly reliable and amazing value for money considering the quality on offer is surely at par with cars two classes higher! cheers!
Attached Thumbnails
My Skoda Octavia 1.4 TSI-img_1495.jpg  

My Skoda Octavia 1.4 TSI-img_1497.jpg  

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