2021 Skoda Octavia ownership review: Service & upgrades after 1 year

Managed an impressive fuel efficiency of 15 km/l on a recent 300 km roundtrip highway drive.

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1st Year's Ownership Update

It was this time last year when we bought our Graphite Grey Octavia Home. With the first anniversary, I would like to share some of the brief updates and experiences with the car.

Tyre Upgrade

Ever since the car was delivered, I had the itch of changing the tyres but it wasn't something very high on my priority list. However, sometimes things don't go as planned and few things are bound to happen. During the 2nd month of ownership at about 1000 km on ODO, we were venturing on a road trip when we stumbled upon a gigantic ditch in the middle of a national highway and I lost both left tyres in no time. What followed was a horrendous experience but I end up changing the other 2 tyres as well with all Michelin's Pilot Sport 4 225/50/R17 tyres. The trip was screwed up but the blessing is the switch to better tyres which increased the car's steering precision and handling by multiple leaps and bounds. The steering started feeling sharper but there was a significant increase in stiffness in suspension owing to the sporty nature of these tyres.

Aesthetically, they fill the wheel arch better and look flush with the body. I think Michelin's Primacy 4 STs could have been a good consideration too which provides the needed softness but it's an individual's choice. Given PS4 low tyre life (I reckon reading 25,000 - 30,000 km), I still decided to go with these and I am quite satisfied. wrt fuel efficiency, it's needless to say but there has been a drop of 1 - 1.5km/l owing to fatter rubber.

Speed Chime Removal

I don't drive recklessly fast but the acceleration of the Octy is such that you often toggle around the 80km/h mark, especially during overtakes on bigger roads and it becomes annoying to hear that chime along with the home minister constantly asking to lower the speed even the roads are clear and the speed limit was obeyed. Decided to get rid of both chimes.

Although it's great to enjoy your car building speed without those irritating chimes, there is a degree of consciousness which is also stolen away and I am not completely happy with that either. For instance, I felt the chime at 80 was a bit intrusive but I would have been happy with a single chime at let's say 120 to be more aware. This wasn't available with coding but I found a hack, you can set a warning for "winter tyres" from the settings menu which will notify you with a single chime whenever you cross the set speed. I now use it with a setting at 120km/h and it was pretty useful on KMP western peripheral expressway during one of my recent trips.

Enabling dynamic mode and increase in mileage.

Along with speed chime removal, I also got new VRS like a tachometer and dynamic mode. There isn't much to talk about VRS layout other than it making the cockpit look more engaging. However, the underdog was the dynamic mode. With dynamic mode, one can immediately feel the difference with a slightly better and more responsive throttle input. This has translated into slightly less pedal work while still maintaining the same acceleration and I am happy to say that the drop in mileage which we saw due to the tyre upgrade has now been compensated by this enhancement. Earlier when I was averaging 7.5-8.5 in Gurgaon traffic, I am now able to see 9.5-10+ often. During my recent 300km round trip, I was driving between 110 to 130 on the KMP expressway and I was able to get an overall average of 15km/l, I personally find it quite good. I would have easily fetched up to 17 if I would be stuck with cruise control at 100km/hr, but it's an Octavia you want to stretch its legs from time to time.

Paint Scrape

It is that one sub-section for which I always hoped that I never need to write but bad things happen and they are inevitable. During the last year, I had always tried my best to keep my car in the best shape for which I often wore a devil's hat which involved not sharing the steering with anyone including the dear wifey. However, I myself did the deed in doing something which we do every time we come back from a drive, i.e. while parking the car at the usual spot in my house. It's a narrow aperture which widens inside but the mind becomes so habituated to those parking sensors and buzzers that you tend to misunderstand when the car is actually making an impact. End result is, scraped front bumper from a side.

Is it big enough to claim insurance? HELL NO, but is it an eye-sore, HELL YES. Considering a self-imposed evil eye on the car, I kind of lived with it for a few weeks but eventually decided to get it fixed this week. I went ahead with an FNG who has more experience with repainting/detailing 1Cr+ club cars with more finesse than any of the OEM ASC of Skoda. Hoping to see great results soon.

Annual Service.

Due to an eventful year on the personal front and owing to our WFH routine, we couldn't use our car much and covered ~6000kms. With the completion of the year, the time came for the annual service. Visited Ring Road Skoda's ASC. The business was, as usual, only essential stuff was added, nothing unusual was offered to bloat the invoice and free labour in the first service was applied. I opted for a few add-ons and paid about Rs 8500 for the first service. A few good touches, first, the car was dropped in the promised time, and although I expected a few follow-ups they weren't required. One can say that the first service doesn't require a lot of work either. Second, I was having some niggles with UPI payment on my side, they promptly sent a Card machine along with the driver and the overall experience was smooth.

PS: I didn't opt for SMP and since the first-year labour costs are NIL, I am not sure how much value SMP would have added over the individual service considering the money getting blocked for 4 years.

I was also thinking about buying the extended warranty but realised that the charges for an extended warranty as of today stay the same from the 7th month of ownership until the 47th month. Didn't see a value in buying it now either given we have a standard warranty for 4 years anyway.

Overall it had been a bittersweet experience with more sweetness and I am looking forward to clocking many more miles on this wonderful car.

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