Skoda chose to improve the Octavia’s side impact protection after initial tests exposed weaknesses in its performance. That part of the test was re-run and the results are shown here. The car provides a strong safety cell for its passengers although its footwell ruptured during the frontal impact. Forces acting on the driver’s and front passenger’s chests were relatively high. Testers also criticised protection provided for occupants’ knees and lower legs.
Although the front belts were fitted with pre-tensioners that were reel-mounted they did not have load limiters and relatively high loads were recorded on the driver’s and passenger’s chests. The knee impact area behind the fascia exhibited hard points that could damage knees and thighs. The footwell remained relatively undeformed, although there was some tearing of the sheet metal towards its left-hand centre. The centre rear belt was a two-point type, fastening across the occupant’s lap. Such belts have been shown to provide much less passenger protection than a three-point design would.
The model tested had no side airbags but protected adequately, all the same. However, the driver’s chest struck the door pillar and his ribs hit the wing of the seat, which in turn came into contact with the trailing edge of the door trim.
Romer Prince Universal restraints were tested. Although their belt guides were colour-coded correctly the label giving instructions for installation was not. Skoda says it will correct this shortly. The three-year old’s head travelled too far in the frontal impact and, in the side impact, neither of the restraints kept their occupants’ heads correctly in place. When a passenger airbag is fitted only a pictogram on the door pillar and windscreen label warn against using a rearward-facing restraint on the front passenger seat.
The zones on the car’s front where a child’s or adult’s head might strike protected reasonably but the bumper and the leading edge of the bonnet did not.