An Octavia above
The third-generation Skoda Octavia has just been revealed to the world. The current Octavia, known as the Laura here, is getting a little long in the tooth so it’s right on time, this new model. It’s a new car from the ground up, bearing Skoda’s new design language first seen on the European Rapid, with sharp edges, visible creases and overall more modern looking than the current line-up. The Octavia is based on a long-wheelbase version of Volkswagen’s MQB platform, which will underpin many significant VAG cars, but this might just be the first one that makes it to our shores.
Just like the larger Superb, Skoda’s positioning the Octavia as the value-for-money choice in the segment, with lots of extra space over the outgoing model and more headroom, leg-room and shoulder room all around. Apart from just the space, there seems to be a lot of thought that went into making that interior. Sadly, for this update, it still has only a notchback and not the twin-hatch as found on the Superb. But on the bright side, it comes with a class leading 590 litres of boot space.
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Again, keeping the the value-for-money theme, the Octavia comes kitted out with all the bells and whistles. On the safety front, apart from the usual array of passive safety systems, it now comes with lane assist, crew protection assist, emergency braking assist and even an active front hatch for pedestrian safety. With kit like that, you can bet the Octavia is going to be one of the safer cars around. The clincher is that despite being larger overall and being packed to the gills with technology, it still manages to weigh over 100 kg less than the second generation Octavia.
When it’s launched in Europe early next year, it’ll come with a range of peppy and efficient petrol and diesel engines. The Jetta’s 1.4-litre TSI engine is expected to find its way under the hood of the new Octavia, but it will come in two states of tune ranging from 120 bhp to 138 bhp of peak power. A larger 1.8-litre TSI will also be available which will make 177 bhp of peak power, up from the 160 bhp it used to make earlier. A six-speed manual transmission and a new DSG take care of transferring that power. What we’re looking forward to is the vRS versions, which will be available in both petrol and diesel engine options, making over 200 bhp apiece. That, coupled with a new DSG gearbox made to handle high torque, means that this will be one quick machine.
We expect the new Octavia to come here in late 2013, with the 1.4-litre TSI and the 2.0-litre diesel in tow priced slightly higher than the Laura. What remains to be seen is whether Skoda will replace the Laura or slot the new Octavia above it like they did with the current Laura.