26 February 2024
Skoda Octavia Combi Sportline 1.5 Review – Why Buy Anything Else?

The Skoda Octavia Combi Sportline is everything you want and need simultaneously. The perfect winning formula.

This is arguably the vehicular embodiment of sensibleness, and it happens to be one of Skoda’s best-sellers globally. The Octavia Combi, the station wagon family car you should buy instead of that SUV you’ve had shortlisted.

Based on the latest version of Volkswagen’s MQB platform, it’s bigger than its predecessor and comes with more modern interior fittings and tech goodies. But, does it truly live up to its perceived fame? 

Capable and efficient

To me, this engine and body style combo is the best of both worlds. I mean sure, you could go all out and splash the cash for the 2.0-litre EA888 vRS, but most people do not need the throaty power and sharp cornering antics to put a smile on their face.

148 hp and 250 Nm of torque don’t sound like a lot, but it is enough grunt to keep the Octavia at pace in most traffic conditions. Keep your foot down, and the century mark is achieved in 8.6 seconds.

Plus, the nifty 48V mild hybrid system injects a zest of pep whenever needed and even lets the car glide engine-free when you let go of the accelerator.

This is great for fuel efficiency aficionados, where this wagon can easily cover 750 kilometres on a single tank of fuel. During my drive, I managed a commendable average of 20.2 km/litre on the expressways and an overall average of 13.2 km/litre, even with a trigger-happy throttle foot.

On the roads, the Octavia is a quiet efficient cruiser. It’s quite a performer on twisty roads too, with minimal body roll, although it’s clear the chassis prefers a leisurely waltz, unlike the vRS. Sure, the torsion beam rear may induce bouts of understeer, but that can easily be mitigated with methodical throttle control.

Momentum driving is the key here, and you can have a great time in the corners even with a full posse in tow. There is a slight floatiness over bumps, but otherwise, the Combi does a good job of smoothing out any undulations in the road.

Since this is a VAG car, the Octavia has a 7-speed DSG. It works great in most situations and is responsive whenever you feel like rowing through the gears yourself. Just flick the paddle shifters, choose your gear, and you’re golden. 

You don’t get as much power as some other wagons, but the Combi will still put a smile on your face. For the practical folks out there, this is definitely one for the books.

Subtle trendsetter

This particular Skoda Octavia Combi variant is the Sportline. Same underpinnings as the old Style variant, but with a bit of makeup and a nice party dress.

Upgrades include an updated front splitter, grille, roof rails and wing mirrors that have all gone to the dark side. At the stern, both the brand and model badges have also decided that black is indeed the new black. This Skoda has also hit the gym and shed 15mm off its ride height.

These tweaks are like a sprinkle of chilli flakes on your favourite dish – not overwhelming, but just enough to kick things up a notch.

The Octavia now carries a vibe of sophistication with a pinch of sportiness, like a well-tailored suit with a cheeky pocket square. It’s not shouting from the rooftops that it’s got sporting aspirations either (paging vRS to the front counter, please).

Perfect for those who want that extra flair without crossing into the “trying too hard” territory.


Current generation VAG products mostly have the same problem on the inside – their oh-so-sleek yet maddeningly minimalist screens. It’s all swipe here and tap there, making it less intuitive, especially on the go. So, naturally, when the Skoda Octavia rolled up, sporting the same DNA, I braced myself for a touch-sensitive tempest.

Thankfully, there are some subtle changes that make the cabin experience much more user-friendly. True, the Octavia has embraced the touch-sensitive era with no “old-school” climate dials in sight.

Yet, unlike its distant siblings, the Octavia gives you a fighting chance thanks to a row of sensible shortcut buttons. These are extremely handy for quick-access needs like defrosting or diving into HVAC settings, circumventing the need to rage against the machine.

With quick access sorted, the 10-inch infotainment screen itself is a slick affair, with snappy responses and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to boot. 

Some might argue that the Octavia isn’t as “posh” with its choice of upholstery or cabin materials, but it means that its innards can stand up to the harsh work of daily family life. 

Then there’s the practicality – a hallmark of the Skoda brand. Backseat space? Plenty. Boot space? More than you could shake a stick at.

And it’s not just about space; it’s the thoughtful touches – the little nooks, crannies, and gadgets that make life just a bit easier, from shopping hooks to umbrella holders and even a dedicated spot for your dash-cam.

The boot even has little velcro slots that keep your cargo in place even when you corner hard. These little plastic tabs are frankly genius.

So, while the Octavia might share some familial traits with other VAG models, it carves out its own niche – a blend of tech, comfort, and those oh-so-Skoda clever conveniences that make you think, “Why doesn’t everyone do this?”

It’s the car for those who love convenience with a side of practical magic.

Tall is bad, Wagon is good

Come on people, you don’t need an SUV or crossover. You just don’t.

A station wagon like the Skoda Octavia Combi is cheaper to buy (relatively), cheaper to run, better to drive, more economical and just as practical as most of the SUVs on your shopping list. 

The general buyers’ market seems to be brainwashed that taller riding vehicles are safer and offer more for your buck, hence why SUVs have stolen so much of the wagon’s market, that they’re now almost a niche product.

A well-specced wagon like the Octavia Combi is much like a Swiss Army knife. It may look as retro as dial-up internet, but it is still a fantastic choice for those who want to experience the best of both worlds.

So why buy anything else, when this is available?

Technical Specifications

Skoda Octavia Combi e-TEC Sportline

Engine: 1,498cc 4-cylinder Turbocharged, Mild Hybrid
Power: 148hp
Torque: 250Nm
Gearbox: 7-Speed (A) DSG
0-100km/h: 8.6 seconds (claimed)
Top Speed: 228km/h
Fuel Economy: 20.8km/L (claimed)

Price: S$209,900 with COE (accurate at the time of this article)
Contact: Skoda Centre Singapore

Photo Credits: Sean Loo (@auto.driven)

Read more automotive news at AutoApp, or check out our latest videos on Ignition Labs TV!