Engines: gasoline 1.6 l (102 hp), 2.0 l FSI (150 hp); diesel 1.9 l (105 hp) and 2.0 l (140 hp).
Transmissions: 5- and 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic and DSG.
Price in Russia: $ 20, 700–35, 000.
Test car: 2.0TDI, 140 hp Classic with DSG box, $ 32, 000.
Every now and then the laws of “sandwich”, “harmfulness”, and “cheeseholm” violate the harmony of the universe - call it whatever you like. Judge for yourself: for once, the author and his colleague climbed into the mountains, counting on the "Octavia Universal" to put ski equipment and sledges there. They dreamed of insuring themselves on the mountain roads with all the leading ones. By the way, even in “populated” Europe, only four-wheel drive vehicles are allowed to enter some areas in winter. And on you - at the last moment, the Skoda did not have at hand either station wagons or all-wheel drive cars. They proposed a front-wheel hatchback, in addition with a diesel engine that is not the most popular in Russia.
BY ROAD TO THE ALPS
The trip did not portend any sensations - I lost the steering wheel to my colleague and sat behind the navigator. It was already getting dark, it was necessary to drive nearly five hundred miles, including along the unfamiliar, not the widest, winding paths of western Bohemia and southern Germany.
In the city, the colleague’s remarks that we had a very nimble and pleasant machine, listened in half and attributed all his enthusiasm to the automatic transmission, which in megacities has a clear advantage over the “mechanics”. At least in terms of comfort. But when the “Octavia” began to shoot on the hills, without the slightest twitching, moving from one gear to another, then the square shift knob intrigued intriguingly.
Illuminated by a dim salon lampshade, the inscription DSG appeared on the polished metal of the knob. Here you go! Nothing in the appearance of the Octavia hinted at such an interesting package bundle: a 140-horsepower two-liter 16-valve diesel engine and the latest gearbox with sequential electronic-hydraulic switching. Such a thing before that was put only on cars with a pronounced sporting connotation, such as the Audi TT, for example, and some Volkswagen cars. Even the nameplate on the fifth door ignored such a remarkable fact, limiting itself to the laconic “Octavia - TDI”.
Enlightenment came after midnight. The desire to try the legendary Direktschaltgetriebe direct-connected box that came from motorsport itself completely removed sleepiness. The fact that the diesel 16-valve engine of 2.0 liters is very traction and, perhaps, the best in the kit offered by Skoda, was known. Much more interesting is its combination with a non-trivial “automatic” that came from motorsport and was first tested twenty years ago at Audi Sport Quattro S1.
The design of the DSG box is described in ZR, 2003, No. 2. This is a complex unit, which has two clutches in one block and a mechanical box itself. Two clutches allow you to simultaneously engage two gears, one of which is directly involved in the transmission of torque, and the other is, so to speak, in line and, as soon as it receives a signal, it immediately picks up the work of the previous one. Through the “released” clutch, the subsequent transmission takes place in the queue. And so to the highest - the sixth. When the sixth transmits the moment, the fifth remains in gear and waits in the wings. If it happens, the road will go uphill or intensive acceleration is required, the clutch will immediately turn it on.
The operation of the DSG unit is almost indistinguishable from the usual automatic transmission. Before starting, you also have to apply pressure to the brake and move the lever to one of the positions for moving forward, backward, into sports or manual modes of operation.
Which mode would you prefer at night on an unfamiliar road? That's right, I also chose "D" - the drive, so as not to fool my head and concentrate completely on the road.
The car starts to move, barely taking my foot off the brake. Shifts are indicated by the tachometer needle, which falls when shifting to overdrive. The transition itself, which does not manifest itself in anything else, and especially its smoothness, left a strong impression. It seemed as if I was picked up and dispersed in one fell swoop to 140 km / h, quite reasonable on an empty autobahn at night. Now it’s my turn to express enthusiasm for the operation of the box and the two-liter diesel engine. In fact, the alliance has turned out outstanding. I even forgot about the four-wheel drive station wagon, which we so wanted to get.
Still, the DSG is a little different from traditional "machines." The connection of the engine with the wheels turns out to be more rigid, there are no unnecessary slipping and relapsing. There is the possibility of completely subordinating the “automaton” to your will. These are the “sport” modes - when during acceleration the engine will spin up to the maximum possible speed, and simply “manual”, in which the gears are sequentially engaged when the lever is pressed forward - upward or backward - downward. In comparison with the usual “automatic”, such a transmission wins both in the speed of switching and in fuel economy. However, the last indicator largely depends on the actions of the driver.
Acquaintance with the Octavia fast diesel hatchback was also interesting from a different point of view. It turned out for sure that he did not lose much to the station wagon in terms of luggage capacity and ease of cargo placement. If the seats are not folded, the space in the "car" is more than 20 liters. We put skis, poles, sledges in the trunk, folding part of the back back, and calmly traveled the four of us. Perhaps with an all-wheel drive transmission, we would climb above the clouds.
There is no perfection in the world, but its absence sometimes benefits the cause. Otherwise, when would you ever be able to test a box of “direct connection” in business and evaluate the convenience of the Octavia hatchback. A thousand kilometers traveled in the mountains, authoritatively argues that a car in this configuration, if not perfect, then has a lot of undeniable advantages.
Octavia with a two-liter diesel engine and a DSG gearbox is a combination of confidence, sportiness and comfort.