After a lot of anticipation and delays, Skoda finally launched the 2021 Octavia in India recently. What was a shocker and a letdown for many was its price. Starting from INR 25.99 lakh for the Style variant and going up to INR 28.99 lakh (ex-showroom) for the top-spec Laurent&Klement variant, the new Skoda Octavia is pretty expensive for its class. To give you a perspective, Octavia's only rival, the similarly-sized Hyundai Elantra, is priced between INR 17.85 - 21.12 lakh (ex-showroom). The new Octavia is thus clearly priced out of its comfort zone.
But what's more shocking is the lack of a few essential features that you naturally expect from a car at the price point. And the biggest miss in this regard has been a sunroof, something which Indian car buyers really seem to love in spite of its low practicality in a hot country like ours. To make matters worse, even the Hyundai Elantra comes with a single-pane sunroof. In fact, you will find full panoramic sunroofs in some similarly priced SUVs or even in much more affordable SUVs, and that highlights the lack even more.
The fact is that the Korean duo of Hyundai and Kia have spoiled buyers with so many features in their cars as standard, any miss by any other manufacturer becomes greatly highlighted. And it's not just about the sunroof, but the new Octavia also misses out on a few more features such as ventilated seats and drive modes. Even a sub-compact SUV such as the Kia Sonet gets ventilated seats and something like the Hyundai Creta gets drive modes and traction modes, both models way more affordable than the Octy.
That said, these few misses aside, the cabin of the new Octavia is well-appointed. The quality of materials is absolutely top-notch, with plenty of soft-touch surfaces. It is also pretty well loaded with gadgets - a free-standing 10-inch touchscreen infotainment screen and a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster being the biggest highlights. Skoda’s new two-spoke steering wheel with knurled scroll wheels is also a great highlight of the new Octavia.
Other features on the Skoda Octavia include two-zone climate control, connected car tech, a digital assistant (named ‘Laura’), wireless smartphone charging, a 12-speaker Canton sound system, ambient lighting system, electrically adjustable driver and passenger seats with memory settings, keyless entry on all doors and front and rear parking sensors, 8 airbags, ABS with EBD, electronic stability control, adaptive headlights and a driver fatigue alert system. The India-spec Octavia gets a premium black and beige dual-tone theme for the dashboard the upholstery is finished in a lovely combination of suede and leather.