Skoda Octavia vs Safari vs Fortuner: Test drive experiences

I was mighty impressed by Octavia's ride quality on bad roads. It was even better than the Fortuner.

BHPian kedar_GT recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

I happened to test drive the Octavia a couple of weeks ago (just couldn't get down to penning down my observations).

So here it goes

I drove the L&K for around 15-20km around Electronic City. Took it to places where I may need to take it on a regular basis. Eg - my kid's badminton coaching center where there are no roads (it's a kuccha strip masquerading as a road and whose look and feel changes on a weekly basis based on the local's fancies and the rain gods). It felt very good on this stretch, comparable with how the Compass drove on this exact same stretch.

Key takeaway - yes, you can take it to places albeit with a bit of care. Actually, my skepticism of scraping it was more rather than the car not being able to take it. I actually took a bad patch, stopped the car, and peered below to see what part could touch. Looked pretty reasonable to me.

I then took it on the roads where I had driven the Safari and the Fortuner the week prior to that. (I drove on these roads as well asked the sales rep to drive with me sitting in the rear seat).

Here is a bit about how I felt about these two.


The Safari (AT) experience was low-rent; the car had smudges on the interiors and in general, was not clean. I politely told the sales rep that if they expect fence seaters to buy this car over the XUV7OO, they need to present this in a decent manner. Coming to the drive, it was OK. The NVH was not to my liking (more vocal) - but maybe can be attributed to the mileage on the test car. Overall, I did not come impressed. The super loud, tinny voice announcing the drive modes, was a downer. Just takes away from any semblance of a premium experience. Coming to the drive itself, it felt fine and the power was adequate. (Please note - this experience is on bad, broken road/s and some good tarmac. So I cannot comment on the high/er speed handling).


Coming over to the Fortuner 4x2 AT (this was a back-to-back drive after the Safari), there was an immediate change in the experience; the cabin 'felt' a lot more premium and quiet. The road presence was awesome, the NVH was pretty good. But one could make out that Toyota has tried to up the premium game by draping the interior with soft-touch material (vs having this from grounds up). Also, the ride was bumpy on perfectly flat roads. I suppose this is a characteristic of the body-on-frame construction. I did not like the way the vehicle pushed forward while changing over from Neutral to Drive. It was like a dog straining over a leash (speaks volumes about the 200 horses and 500Nm of torque under the hood) Overall, I would say this is a good vehicle for a lot of folks who specifically want & can afford this Toyota.

Back to the Octavia

I was mighty impressed by the fact that the Octavia drove the best on that pretext of a road. Yup, it was even better than the Fortuner (these roads needed speeds of < 40kmph). I then took over from the SA and drove it on some slightly faster section (Jigani main road) - The power was fine in regular mode and very nice in the sports mode. One thing which intrigued me was the fact that the Octy just thudded through potholes. It was almost like it doesn't drop the wheel into the hole and just thud through it without wallowing over. (Other owners, please pitch in over here with your thoughts). I think this is a part of the premium German ride (?).

So summing up the ride part, there was absolutely no issues over humps and when it came to potholes, the car held its horizontal line (if you know what I mean). Overall, I was pretty impressed. I would have liked to see some more jazz in the cabin - it does feel a bit minimalistic. This probably has to do with the fact that a lot of stuff is controlled by the touch screen which means fewer buttons.

Coming to the feature set, yes, I have reconciled to the missing ventilated seats and the all-important sunroof; the 360-degree sensors make up for the absence of the 360-degree camera to a certain extent. Skoda should have provided ADAS (which is provided in the Euro markets) and navigation in the instrument cluster (any idea if this is a software hack/fix for this?) even though it does not support Google maps. I mean it does look like a bit of waste to provide a fully digital cluster and provide only 2 (or is it 3) display modes to play around with.

All in all, this is one fine sedan and the cheapest way to get hold of that 2L TSI motor.

Here's what BHPian sunikkat had to say about the matter:

Last part is important and for me, that is definitely one of the USPs of the Octavia. Engine matters the most, most other things you can fix.

Here's what BHPian solaris007 had to say about the matter:

Were you test driving the Compass too? If so, could you please let us know which variant it was and which car you preferred after the test drive?

Although different cars, the Compass and Octavia have always been compared largely because they play in the same price bracket and have both recently been updated. Of course, mechanically they are completely different beasts but each has drawbacks that are covered by the other car.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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