Skoda’s best-selling model, the Octavia, has been significantly overhauled. The compact model has debuted during an internal event hosted in Prague, Czech Republic, in both Combi (estate) and liftback body styles.
It might be based and closer related to the updated version of the Volkswagen Golf, but Skoda’s newest, fourth iteration of the Octavia, seems to be geared towards being, or at least been seen as by consumers, a way more pocket friendly and, ultimately, sensible alternative for those who can’t afford an Audi A4 and still want a VW product. To do so, it has been given an elegant re-styling and a more upmarket interior.
Based on Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform, it promises better driving dynamics wrapped up into an even more practical and roomy body style. Mind you, the Octavia has always been the roomiest compact car, and the fourth generation has improved in all major aspects.
Bigger, more stylish and less controversial
With a length of 4,689 mm (186.6 in), the Octavia liftback is 19 mm (0.8 in) longer than its predecessor, whereas the Combi is 22 mm (0.9 in) longer. It rides on a 2,690mm (105.9 in.) wheelbase, that places it directly in the compact category. Its width has increased by 15 mm (0.6 in) in both cars and the boot volume is the largest in the compact class: 600 liters (21.2 cu-ft) in the liftback and 640 liters (22.6 cu-ft) in the wagon, up by 10 and 30 liters (0.4-1.1 cu-ft), respectively.
Visually, the biggest improvement is at the front end where, as we already knew, it has ditched the controversial split-headlamp design for a more elegant approach. The car also boasts new grille, bumpers, more pronounced lines that run across its length, slimmer taillights and the ‘Skoda’ lettering in the middle of the tailgate. Basically, when everything comes together, the Octavia looks like a smaller version of the mid-size Superb – and that’s a good thing.
High-tech interior with a premium feel
For the interior, Skoda has chosen a more revolutionary approach which brings the new Octavia in line with other VW Group models. The dashboard panel is similar to the one used in the Golf Mk8, and includes the placement of the infotainment system and central air vents. The steering wheel rocks a two-spoke design and behind it, drivers will look at the digital instrument cluster.
The center console has also been redesigned and leaves generous room for the biggest of smartphones in front of the gear selector, which features the shift-by-wire technology in models equipped with the DSG gearbox. The ambient lighting contributes to a youthful and modern design, which is being boosted by the head-up display.
Powertrain options include hybrids
The 2020 Octavia is offered with a wide selection of powertrains and, for the first time ever, it can be had with a plug-in hybrid. Named the Octavia iV, it packs a 1.4-liter petrol engine with an electric motor for a total system output of 204 PS (201 hp / 150 kW) and 350 Nm (258 lb-ft) of torque, paired to a six-speed DSG. The 13 kWh battery gives it a range of up to 55 km (34 miles) in the WTLP test cycle.
The 2.0 TSI produces 190 PS (187 hp / 140 kW) and 320 Nm (236 lb-ft) of torque and comes bundled with the 7-speed DSG and four-wheel drive. This is the quickest variant yet, until the RS arrives anyway, as it does the 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 6.9 seconds. The PHEV is 1 second slower and the 2.0 TDI diesel does the sprint in 7.1 sec in its most agile variant, which enjoys 200 PS (197 hp / 147 kW) and 400 Nm (295 lb-ft) of torque.
Other versions of the oil-burner are the 150 PS (148 hp / 110 kW) and 340 Nm (251 lb-ft), available with a 6-speed manual transmission or a 7-speed automatic. Choosing the AWD system will lift the torque by 20 Nm (15 lb-ft). A 116 PS (114 hp / 85 kW) model, with 300 Nm (221 lb-ft) of torque when matched to the 6-speed manual, or 250 Nm (184 lb-ft) with the DSG, is also available.
Aside from the aforementioned 2.0 TSI, the petrol lineup also includes the 1.5 TSI and 1.0 TSI, with 150 PS (148 hp / 110 kW) and 250 Nm (184 lb-ft), and 110 PS (108 hp / 81 kW) and 200 Nm (148 lb-ft), respectively. Both of them are offered with the stick shift only and are also available as mild-hybrids, with the same outputs. Completing the engine family is the 130 PS (128 hp / 96 kW) and 200 Nm (148 lb-ft) 1.5 TSI that runs on CNG (compressed natural gas).
The first one to go on sale is the Octavia Combi, followed by the liftback a few weeks later. The RS and Scout models have already been confirmed for 2020.