The 110TSI is cheaper than a Golf, and squeezes more equipment into its more spacious body, while the Octavia RS combines the same firepower as a Golf GTI with a more practical, family-friendly design.
The 2022 Skoda Octavia 140TSI Limited Edition has a slightly different target.
Although it uses the same Volkswagen Group underpinnings as its less expensive siblings, the new 140TSI is less of an oversized Golf, and more of an underpriced Audi A4 alternative.
There’s no doubt it’s handsome from the outside, with crisp surfacing and classic wagon proportions combining with its flashy lights, wheels, and trims to give this Czech family hauler plenty of showroom appeal.
There’s also no doubt its leather-lined cabin looks more than premium enough to justify its $50,000 price tag.
Although the first batch of cars have been badged ‘Limited Editions’, the 140TSI engine will hang around in the Octavia range going forward. Good thing, too, because the Octavia 140TSI is excellent.
The 140TSI Limited Edition wagon is the third-most expensive member of the 2022 Octavia range, priced at $51,990 drive-away.
The sedan-shaped liftback is $1500 less expensive, while the more powerful Octavia RS wagon is $3500 more expensive using Skoda’s standard nationwide drive-away pricing.
If you can put up with less power and less standard equipment, the Octavia 110TSI range kicks off at $37,990 drive-away for the base Ambition Wagon, and extends to $40,490 drive-away for the Style Wagon. Although the latter is generously equipped, it misses out on some of the best bits from the 140TSI Limited Edition.
Direct rivals are pretty hard to come by, because wagons are a dying breed in Australia. Volkswagen doesn’t have an equivalent Golf Wagon; instead it only offers the less powerful 110TSI engine.
If you’re married to the body style but have a bit more cash to splash, Volvo offers the V60 Cross Country from $64,990 before on-road costs, while the least expensive Audi A4 Avant is the 45 TFSI S line quattro ($70,877 before on-roads).
Standard equipment in the 140TSI Limited Edition includes:
- 19-inch alloy wheels
- Memory for exterior mirrors
- Leather seat trim
- Auto-dimming interior rear-view mirror
- Powered, ventilated front seats with electric lumbar and massage
- Under-thigh front seat extensions
- Heated front and rear seats
- Five USB-C ports
- DAB+ radio
- 12-speaker sound system
- Drive mode selection
- Tri-zone climate control
- Head-up display
A $1900 panoramic sunroof option is available on the wagon, and a dealer-fitted tow bar costs $2100.
That’s atop the kit you get on lower-end Octavia 110TSI Ambition and Style models, which includes:
- 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system
- Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- Satellite navigation
- Virtual Cockpit digital instrument cluster
- 18-inch alloy wheels
- Paddle shifters
- Privacy glass
- Matrix LED headlights and side light
- LED tail lights with dynamic indicators
- Ambient lighting
- Silver roof rails
- Rear centre armrest
- Bluetooth phone connectivity
- Power tailgate
- Keyless entry and start
- Umbrella in driver’s door
- Foldable luggage hooks
- Two tablet holders
- Rain-sensing wipers
- Keyless entry
- Semi-autonomous park assist
- Electrically adjusted, folding and heated wing mirrors
Skoda loves an options package, but the Octavia 140TSI Limited Edition comes fully loaded from the factory. You really don’t need to add anything – although a sunroof would make sense, given this is meant to be a more luxurious Octavia.
It’s actually worth noting a lot of what you get on the 140TSI is part of a $6500 options package for the more powerful, more expensive Octavia RS.
The 2022 Skoda Octavia has a five-star ANCAP crash test rating, based on testing carried out by Euro NCAP.
It scored 92 per cent for adult occupant protection, 88 per cent for child occupant protection, 73 per cent for vulnerable road user protection, and 79 per cent for safety assist.
A total of 10 airbags are standard in the 140TSI Limited Edition, including a front-centre and rear side airbags.
Standard safety equipment in the 140TSI and RS includes:
- Adaptive cruise control
- AEB with pedestrian/cyclist detection
- Rear parking sensors
- Blind-spot monitor and assist
- Emergency assist
Although it’s fundamentally laid out in the same way as the 110TSI Ambition and Style, the cabin of the 140TSI feels more upmarket from the second you slot in behind the wheel.
The seats are trimmed in quality-feeling leather, and the dashboard is finished with fashionable grey cloth. It’s still an Octavia, but it’s a nicer Octavia – as you’d hope, given it’s more than $50,000 drive-away.
The seats in cheaper models are good, the ErgoComfort seats (complete with heating, ventilation, and massage) in the Limited Edition are great. They perfectly blend a cushy feeling with support in all the right places, and tall drivers will appreciate the extra under-thigh support you get from the extending seat bases.
If it’s all-day comfort you’re after, there aren’t many better sets of seats out there.
As is the case with every new Volkswagen and Skoda model, there aren’t many hard buttons in the cabin anymore.
In the case of climate control, the physical buttons have been replaced with touch controls at the base of the 10.0-inch infotainment screen for temperature, and a sub-menu within the system for finer adjustments.
The volume knob has been axed in favour of a touch slider at the screen’s base, while vehicle controls such as auto start/stop and stability control are buried in the heart of the infotainment.
Although the cabin looks super clean, it’s a huge step backwards for day-to-day usability. You need to press the screen twice to turn on the heated seats, for example, rather than pressing a button. It’s frustrating at best, and distracting at worst.
Skoda has done a better job with its central screen than Volkswagen, but it’s still needlessly complex in a lot of places.
On the plus side, the wireless Apple CarPlay worked reliably in our week with the car. Having your phone just connect every time you start the car makes life so much easier, and means you can (mostly) avoid using the native software.
The Virtual Cockpit digital instrument screen is easy to use, and has a huge range of different displays.
There are some weird quirks to it, like the fact the digital speedo is fixed and can’t be moved or rearranged like it can be in Volkswagen cars, but it still looks and feels high-tech in a way analogue dials just don’t.
Storage spaces abound. There are big (felt-lined) door bins, a (felt-lined) drawer for garage keys to the right of the steering wheel, a wireless phone charger below the dash, and a spacious central storage bin up front.
The driver’s door pocket is home to a small bin that’s perfect for gum-chewers like me, and even the glovebox is large and spacious.
Along with the two USB-C ports up front, there are two at the base of the transmission tunnel for rear passengers.
Speaking of the rear seats, the Octavia is better at hauling a family around than most similarly-priced SUVs. There’s enough legroom for six-foot adults to sit behind six-foot adults, and the stylish roofline doesn’t eat into headroom.
Along with the fold-down central armrest, there are air vents with their own temperature controls back there (and heated outboard seats). There’s also fold-down headrests for sleeping passengers on long drives, iPad holders, and sunshades for the rear passengers.
Real thought has gone into making the Octavia’s second row a good place to spend time, and it shows. Who said you need an SUV to be practical?
There are two ISOFIX points and three top-tether anchors back there, and the rear seats fold 60/40 with a central ski port for longer items.
The boot is similarly smart. There’s lots of netting to keep your bags in place, a multitude of hooks, a reversible boot mat, and a 12V plug back there, along with cutouts in the sides of the load bay (one of which holds a blanket).
Skoda says there’s 640L of space with the rear seats in place, and 1700L with them folded. There’s a small lip between the boot floor and the rear seats, and the seats themselves don’t fold flat with their headrests attached – but even so, it’s a huge and usable space.
Power in the 140TSI Limited Edition comes from a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine with 140kW of power and 320Nm of torque.
Unlike the 110TSI and its eight-speed torque converter, it gets a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. It’s front-wheel drive.
Claimed fuel economy is 6.1L/100km on the combined cycle, 0.2L/100km more than the less powerful 110kW engine. We saw 7.6L/100km in a week of mixed driving.
As is standard in Volkswagen Group cars, the Octavia 140TSI drinks 95 RON premium unleaded fuel. It has a 45L fuel tank.
The Limited Edition builds on the foundations laid down by the rest of the Octavia range with more power, more torque, and more luxury.
There are a lot of turbo four-cylinder engines in the Volkswagen Group stable, but the 140TSI version here is one of the best. It has plenty of punch for day-to-day driving, but doesn’t quite reach into performance car territory.
With 140kW of power and 320Nm of torque, the latter on tap from just above idle, it feels much punchier than the base 110TSI engine off the mark, and pulls harder through the mid-range when you’re in a hurry.
It’s a fuss-free powertrain. There’s no wheelspin off the mark, nor much in the way of a growl unless you’re really pushing hard. It just does the job, and does it well.
Where the base Octavia has a conventional torque converter transmission, the Limited Edition has a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
It’s still not quite as smooth off the mark as a normal automatic, occasionally tripping over itself as the engine restarts, auto brake hold disengages, and the transmission slots into first gear – but the hesitancy is far less pronounced here than in lower-output Volkswagen Group cars, and you quickly learn to drive around it.
I prefer the DSG in the Limited Edition to the slushier torque converter in the lower-output 110TSI, given it shifts so much faster and feels so much crisper on the move.
It’s keen to slide into a tall gear for better efficiency, but if you lean hard on the accelerator it’ll drop one, two, or three gears and quickly deposit you into the meat of the engine’s torque. You can also take charge with the paddles, or flick the stubby gear selector into Sport to keep it in a lower gear.
Although there are drive modes in the Octavia 140TSI, they only change the engine and steering. The car isn’t fitted with adaptive dampers, so you can’t stiffen or slacken the ride based on your mood.
Thankfully, the base suspension tune is close to perfect for day-to-day driving. Like the base model it’s more comfort-oriented than anything else, with a lovely languid feeling in most conditions.
Unlike the base model, it’s riding on 19-inch alloy wheels. That means sharper hits like potholes can make it feel a bit over-wheeled, like the suspension isn’t quite able to smooth them out without help from a chubby tyre. The only time the Octavia doesn’t feel premium is when it crashes or thumps over a bump.
Short of fitting adaptive dampers, there’s not much more Skoda can do to solve that problem. The wheels are wrapped in quality Pirelli Cinturato rubber, and it’s not as if the Limited Edition is set up to feel sporty.
Although it’s massive inside, the Octavia isn’t a massive car. It’s wieldy around the city, with good all-round visibility, light steering, and a full suite of active driver assists. It’ll even automatically reverse park for you if the thought of doing it yourself is nightmare fuel.
Up the speed and there’s very little to suggest you’re driving a Skoda rather than an Audi or BMW. There’s a bit of tyre roar on less-than-perfect tarmac, but there’s no noise or vibration from the engine, nor any wind rustle from the mirrors at 100km/h.
The adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist are well-calibrated, although it’s still frustrating that Volkswagen Group cars won’t undertake without the driver prodding the accelerator. It’s a feature that makes sense in Europe, but not in Australia where lane discipline isn’t really a thing.
The Octavia is backed by a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty as standard, although buying one with a seven-year service pack before the end of 2021 will have that extended to a seven-year warranty.
A pre-paid three-year service pack costs $1400, a five-year pack costs $1550, and a seven-year pack costs $2400.
Every version of the Octavia we’ve driven has been excellent, but the 140TSI Limited Edition might just be the most convincing take on the formula yet.
On paper, paying $50,000 for a non-performance Golf-based wagon from the Volkswagen Group’s sensible, value-focused brand seems a bit mad, but the Octavia 140TSI Limited Edition more than justifies the asking price.
It looks just as sharp as anything from Audi or BMW, and drives with almost the same polish – although adaptive dampers would round out what’s already an impressive package further.
Forget about the thinking man’s Golf, this particular Octavia is more of a thinking man’s Audi A4 Avant.
Even better? It’s sticking around as a full-time member of the range.
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