The Skoda Octavia and the Hyundai Elantra have been rivals in the executive sedan segment since they have been established. The two offered a premium feel at a slightly lower price point compared to upmarket contenders. Skoda has recently brought its facelifted Octavia to India and we’ve pitted it against its traditional Korean rival to find out which automobile rules the roost.
PERFORMANCE AND REFINEMENT
It has exceptional refinement and improved performance. The strong 180hp/250Nm engine, mated to the fast and responsive seven-speed DSG gearbox, gives the Octavia explosive performance. Even a little dab on the accelerator gives you an instant acceleration, but there is some hesitation at low engine speeds. Refinement levels are good and no noise enters the cabin.
The Hyundai Elantra gets a 2.0-litre, non-turbo engine developing 152hp and 1,925Nm or torque, paired to a six-speed automatic gearbox. You don’t feel that the power deficit while driving since it has a surge of strong acceleration. The Octavia, however, is considerably stronger, quicker and effortless. Refinement in the Elantra is excellent, but in Sport mode, the unit gets too responsive and is, therefore, quite unusable in the city.
At low speeds on bumps and above small potholes, you really do feel a bit of movement in the Octavia. But as the speed rises, the suspension irons out any undulations. That is a bit more pitching and bobbing with this updated car. Handling is not just sportscar-like, but grip is quite nice and the balance is also excellent.
Driving at city speeds, the Elantra is much more comfortable than the Octavia. Go faster however, and you’ll notice some up and down motion. So, while the ride is great in isolation, it’s not as planted or stable since the Octavia. The steering does offer decent feel and feedback and this is one of the nicest Hyundais to drive, but it does not match up to the Skoda in regard to stability, handling and grip.
The light-coloured upholstery and plastics used across the Octavia’s cabin add to the general feeling of quality. Materials, in fact, are as good as on a luxury car, with a premium finish to the buttons and switches, and the panoramic sunroof and enormous colour screen further add to the luxe appeal of the car. Also, the new instrument audience feels slick and modern while the mood lighting helps boost the ambience too.
The Elantra has an interior which looks inspired from European cars. While the black blended with silver accents seems great and is easy to live with, it lacks the lush feel of the Octavia. The buttons and switches, too, are well built and the construction of the interiors is strong. What ups the ante is that cabin insulation is impressive and the controllers function with just a slick touch.
Space is ample in the Octavia. Front seats are big and they offer very good support. This continues in the back also, where you receive ample legroom, headroom and great under-thigh support. The Octavia’s highlight, however, is the wide opening hatch that is easy to get and quite humongous at nearly 600 litres. Fold the rear seats and the space goes up to an estate-car-like 1,580 litres.
Front seats of the Elantra are comfy and broad and the cabin is nice and wide too. In the rear, however, passengers sit low in a knees-up position while the sloping roofline robs you of some headroom. What is not bad, however, is your legroom and shoulder room. You also get a big boot in 458 litres, but again, the Octavia’s is considerably bigger and easier to access too.
The construction of this Hyundai Elantra’s interiors is strong.
Skoda has updated the Octavia with a fresh 8.0-inch touchscreen display and feather-touch main menu buttons. Another noteworthy feature is that the new auto parking system which parks the car on its own. Safety features include eight airbags, ABS, ESP and Isofix tethers.
Like most cars from Hyundai, the Elantra comes with a great list of features and equipment. You get chilled seats, a reverse camera with detectors, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, satnav, six airbags, ABS, ESP and Isofix tethering for child chairs. Another interesting feature is the automatic boot opening which pops up the boot lid if you stand next to it with all the key on your individual.
Great quality materials on the Skoda Octavia.
Some of the areas in which the Skoda Octavia excels include a solid engine, good interior quality and good cabin area. However, its price tag is a bit high and Skoda’s bad reputation for aftersales services hampers its own prospects. In conclusion, the Octavia might be expensive, but you get so much more car than the Elantra.
The executive sedan will not fall short in terms of rear seat comfort and a lacklustre driving experience. While the Elantra is a decent package, it is second best in virtually every area when compared to the Octavia.
Skoda Octavia technical specifications
- Skoda Octavia 1.8 TSI Style Plus
- Engine 1798cc, turbo-petrol
- Power 180hp in 5100-6200rpm
- Torque 250Nm in 1250-5000rpm
- 0-100kph 8.01 sec
- Tyres 205/55 R16
- Price (ex-showroom, Delhi) Rs 20.61 lakh
Hyundai Elantra technical specifications
- Hyundai Elantra 2.0 VTVT SX(O)
- Engine 1999cc, gas
- Power 152hp at 6200rpm
- Torque 192Nm at4000rpm
- 0-100kph 10.46sec
- Tyres 205/60 R16
- Price (ex-showroom, Delhi) Rs 17.36 lakh