Škoda Octavia SportLine 2.0TSi – Orange corporate dream

As a combination of the qualities of MladoBoleslav Škoda with new technologies, we can undoubtedly define the orange Octavia, which came to our editorial office. It offers a sporty design, a decent portion of power and even better four-wheel drive. Ladies and gentlemen – the Skoda Octavia SportLine with a two-litre petrol engine under the bonnet… For over 27 years of production, the Skoda Octavia has been permanently etched into our everyday lives on the road and has also been ruling the sales charts for many years. First it was an extremely spacious, cheaper alternative to mid-range cars, then it was the most popular diesel-efficient taxi, and in recent decades it has also been the king of corporate sales. The SportLine version we tested then adds a subtle sporty touch to an otherwise pretty boring liftback by design.
Boring car is perhaps a strong phrase. After all, it’s clear that even if you accelerate beyond the speeds that are already illegal on our highways, you can be almost certain that a Goliath with a “mall” at the wheel will soon be glued to your rear bumper. The Skoda Octavia Sportline tested fits this cliché or stereotype perfectly, as probably also a gro of its sales will go to a large number of corporate fleets. The Octavia is such a time-tested classic for us. So is it true what our folk wisdom says – you don’t buy an Octavia, you buy a fascia!
Skipping the regular versions, the base Skoda Octavia Sportline with the 1.5TSI 110kW (150k) engine starts at €31,850. With the tested 2.0 TSI 140kW (190k) engine, which is combined exclusively with 4×4 drive, it starts at €38,170 according to the current price list. The tested piece, visible in the photos, is of course slightly retrofitted. It has the optional Orange Phoenix metallic paint and, in the summer setup, 19-inch, black Taurus alloy wheels. But it also looks out of this world on the winter 18-inchers. The final price for this configuration is €41,639. We all know that “it’s been cheap before”, perhaps, and also how component shortages and galloping inflation have taken their toll on car prices. Still, for a representative of the compact car segment, this seems like a lot. Not so long ago, full-size hot hatches like the Renault Megane RS or Ford Focus ST were priced at just over €30k. So let’s see if the orange sports car offers anything to justify that sum.
The Octavia in the dynamic SPORTLINE version falls between the Style trim level and the range-topping RS sports version. It impresses with black exterior elements, a three-spoke multifunction sports steering wheel or sports seats with integrated headrest or ThermoFlux upholstery.
If you’re heading to the Skoda showroom looking for a mildly sporty car, this is the option for you. If you opt for a Fabia, Kamiq or Scala, it’ll be called the Monte Carlo. For the larger models, the bet was on the SportLine name. The recipe is simple – on the outside, the car gets a black grille, black mirrors, black spoilers, black trim around the windows, black logos, a few emblems and appropriately sized wheels. And fake exhaust tips! The real ones are under the bumper, but it’s nice that they’re at least behind the two end caps. Thankfully, the trim changes aren’t limited to the exterior, though.
Big enough changes have been made to the Octavia’s interior, too. Comfortable seats similar to those in the RS version are standard. They have thick side bolsters and integrated head restraints. There’s also a three-spoke flat-bottomed sports steering wheel with (somewhat small) paddle shifters under the steering wheel. The rest of the sporty image is rounded off with plenty of black and silver detailing. While the dark headliner or aluminium pedal covers are a plus, the ubiquitous Piano Black can be at least a little annoying. Dust, scratches and fingerprints are perfectly visible everywhere on these surfaces. The latter, unfortunately, is not the domain of the SportLine version alone.
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I’m not going to comment on the digital instrument cluster, we know that one from the RS version and it’s the same in the Fabia Monte Carlo. It has high resolution and quite simple but functional displays. The infotainment, however, is a different story. The picture is colourful, sharp and the amount of data that can be displayed there is impressive. Connectivity with Android Auto or Apple CarPlaj is almost flawless. Unfortunately, the Octavia doesn’t like to be rushed, and a sales rep who gets to it should cultivate a reflex of calmly browsing the mailbox for a while after starting the car. The system boots up quickly, but apparently it’s still loading some resources in the background. I don’t recommend touching it at that point, as there’s a 100% chance it will freeze for a while/longer. This is especially annoying when you get in the car at 7 degrees below zero and want to quickly use the seat heaters or windshield defroster.
Since I already mentioned air conditioning, the only air conditioning in the tested orange was a conventional dual-zone with vents in the rear. However, it should be added that the manufacturer also offers a three-zone one at an extra cost, similar to the Superb. Directly below the rear vents there is a 230V socket with USB-C outputs and so we note another plus from the mall, which has the possibility of charging a laptop or tablet here.
However, the inductive charger in the compartment under the infotainment fails me all over the line – despite the very grippy cover on my phone, this one mercilessly rode left/right on the poorly profiled and overly large surface of the charger and so the phone broke the connection every now and then. Acoustic comfort is of a good standard, and unlike the Fabia, there were no creaks in the interior. The Octavia’s forte, even in liftback guise, is the boot, with a base volume of 600 litres, which can be increased to 1,555 litres by folding down the rear seats.
The test specimen didn’t lack the proverbial “simply clever” that I love – double trunk floor, nets, hooks, organizer, umbrella and especially the scraper. There was also a range in excess of 700 km on a single tank and that’s a petrol two-litre under the bonnet, not a diesel. The consumption average for the entire test was 7.6 litres per 100 km. And I should point out that more than half the journeys are motorway and urban congestion. On a normal county route, you can easily turn in under seven litres.
The cushioning is a nice compromise between sport and comfort. The Skoda Octavia Sportline comes as standard with a sport-tuned suspension (not to be confused with the optional adaptive DCC). You can also change the settings for the steering system, how the DSG gearbox behaves or how aggressively the adaptive cruise control should behave when the road ahead becomes clear. There are three pre-programmed driving profiles to choose from and one freely configurable one.
Chassis is a very strong category for the orange Octavia. For a week I couldn’t find a situation that humbled its tuning. Traction in the wet or on slightly icy roads – no problem, four wheel drive works reliably. Parking in a parking lot – you can safely go far forward, the front bumper even with beautiful lollipop is high and you won’t tear it off on the curb. I’ve already talked about the fuel consumption on the road, as well as the presence of adaptive cruise control. The test specimen also had the matrix headlights that have been standard since the Style version. Shame they’re called IQ Lights and I wish they had more of that IQ at times because, especially in the horizontal direction of sculpting, they still have perceptible reserves and occasionally some annoyed driver opposite even flashed them at me.
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The Octavia SportLine’s ability to drive dynamically should be viewed positively. The DSG gearbox is rarely lost, much less often than in the case of the Fabia. The moose test doesn’t impress the average commuter much, although the rear axle occasionally loses grip when changing tracks quickly. I wasn’t expecting this, especially with the presence of 225/45 R18 Pirelli tyres. As far as acceleration is concerned, I can’t say a bad word about the sports car. The manufacturer promises 6.8 seconds to 60 mph and I have repeatedly shot the results always around 7 seconds. For the record, the RS 245 DSG version should accelerate just 0.1 seconds quicker, which clearly shows the importance of the 4×4 powertrain when pulling away from a standstill.
We already know how much the Skoda Octavia SportLine costs, we also know what it looks like, what equipment it has, its performance and how it behaves on the road. It’s time to compare it all with the competition. And here we have a problem, because there’s almost nothing like the competition. Most compact cars are no longer or never have been offered with all-wheel drive, and it’s increasingly rare to see internal combustion engines this powerful without the support of hybrid technology.
The only real rival is the Octavia’s closest cousin, the Cupra Formentor. Like the Leon, for example, it’s based on exactly the same variant of the MQB Evo chassis platform extended by 5cm, compared to the VW Golf or Audi A3. As a result, it offers similar spaciousness, especially in the rear seats. The Formentor 2.0 TSI 4Drive version, when retrofitted to the level of the Octavia tested, costs slightly less. The fashionable, sporty crossover-coupe is thus cheaper than the “ordinary” Octavia. However, we could equip it with active adjustable suspension, Beats audio or a 360-degree camera system and we’d be down to the price of an Octavia Sportline. Not to mention the cheaper Leon. And unfortunately for Skoda, for me it would be the obvious choice.
The Octavia is actually still “just” an Octavia. Probably none of us car enthusiasts are burning with the desire to drive it, or buy one (honour the exceptions). However, it can sell its qualities to ordinary consumers, and if you should happen to get an Octavia as a company car from your employer at work, for example, try to negotiate for exactly that option. I’m not saying you’ll be in the clear, but it’s probably the best option of all the Octavia variants, and that includes the RS. You won’t suffer from the street racer stigma often associated with the RS Octavia. And yet you get a car that can be more than nimble enough on the road…