The Skoda Octavia arrives later this year as a new model that is, quite simply, the company’s best car to date. Despite being built using some of the same mechanical underpinnings as the outgoing model, this fourth generation Octavia is a real step forward in every sense. The overall dimensions are mostly the same as it’s only a few millimetres longer and a touch wider, though the latter benefits the already spacious rear passenger compartment, which ranks amongst the best in the segment.
That already massive boot is larger again (by 10 litres) at 600 litres in the hatchback, while the estate version can carry 640 litres. It is easy to see that the Octavia is moving upmarket from the driver’s seat, with options that include a 10.25-inch digital instrument display and up to a 10-inch infotainment touchscreen. But the materials inside also seem to be of a higher quality and the Octavia is up to date with other tech, offering USB-C ports and the option of a wireless charging pad for smartphones.
How is it to drive?
Along with being roomier than most of its competition, the Octavia drives with real refinement –surpassing its predecessor in that department. Even though it is mostly the same underneath the skin, better quality materials help with cabin sound insulation. The engine offering is a broad one, and sampling the improved 2.0-litre diesel, we found it to perform well. It is more responsive and, it makes for a great combo with the seven-speed automatic transmission, especially for those facing regular long journeys. Skoda will offer the 2.0 TDI engine in three power outputs, ranging from 116- to 200hp.
The 150hp 1.5-litre petrol engine delivers a smooth and quieter drive and may surprise some by its potential for fuel efficiency thanks to cylinder deactivation technology when cruising. A light clutch and smooth yet precise manual gear change take some of the burden out of driving in traffic.
It is worth considering the addition of the optional dynamic chassis control system. This advanced setup adds adaptive damping that can be adjusted to suit different driving styles and road surfaces.
When is it coming to Ireland?
Due to production delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Skoda Octavia is unlikely to begin arriving in Ireland until October of this year. The first models to arrive will be the 150hp 1.5-litre TSI petrol, with diesel to follow. In time, Skoda will also bring mild hybrid versions of its 1.0- and 1.5-litre petrol engines along with a 1.4-litre plug-in hybrid and a 190hp 2.0-litre petrol TSI.
Any juicy technology?
Buyers will be better connected than ever before inside the Octavia thanks to the latest infotainment system and Skoda plans to offer buyers the ability to buy upgrades for the car through an online store that will be accessible via the infotainment display. Adding more ambient lighting colours inside the car, or automatic high beam functionality are just some of what will be available. There are less headline-grabbing, but equally practical touches to the Octavia, such as the switch to LED headlights across the range.
This latest Skoda Octavia excels in terms of both cargo and passenger space, while the improvements to the interior, along with how it drives, galvanises its position as a great option in the family hatch market. With so many different engine types set to become available, there will be something to suit almost every buyer type.