Almost two weeks after VW unveiled their new Golf, we finally got to see its Czech sister. The Octavia is now bigger, smarter, safer and more aerodynamic. On the outside the new Skoda design language seen in the Scala, Kamiq and the face lifted Superb is clearly visible. The front features a more upright grill, sleeker LED headlights as standard (adaptive matrix LED option is available) and some new creases in the bonnet. The name SKODA now features prominently on the tailgate with Superb style taillights flanking it on either side. The load capacity increases by 40 litres for the estate and 10 litres for the hatch. The hatchback version's shorter boot makes it look suspiciously like an A5 Sportback from the side, but either way the new design looks more premium than before.
The Octavia is now available with up to 19 inch wheels
Moving inside, the change is even more apparent. Your eyes are immediately drawn to the large center infotainment screen which is available in either 8.25 or 10 inch variants. Unlike the Golf, analog dials are still standard, with digital dials as an option. Your new Octavia can be filled to the brim with fancy new tech, such as the Skoda first HUD system which displays information right on your windshield. The car's adaptive cruise control can now work with the camera and GPS to slow you down before corners, making your drive even more relaxing. One feature I'm very hopeful for is the car's new Lane Assist function, which now apparently recognizes roadworks. There is a plethora of other assistance systems available, but we'll go through those during the full review. The steering wheel, which now features only two spokes, can control 14 different functions of the car. For those of you who dislike the new spoke arrangement, a sport three spoke version is available. Also new are a surround view camera system, three zone climate control and acoustic windows. As before your phone can be charged wirelessly or through one of the 5 new USB-C ports scattered around the car.
The name Octavia comes from the Latin word for eight and that is almost the number of engine options available for this generation. The output ranges from a 110 horsepower petrol to the 204 horsepower 'iV' plug-in hybrid model with other petrol, diesel, CNG and mild hybrid options slotting somewhere in between. The engines can be mated to a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed DSG gearbox and power either two or all four wheels. There has not yet been confirmation regarding the new vRS model's power, but the car will almost certainly feature the same engine as the Mk8 Golf GTI, where it will produce around 250 or 290 horsepower in the TCR version.