Lights out, headlights on: a well-known car rolls out of the dark towards the viewer - the predecessor generation of the Mercedes E-Class. Unmistakable on the square four-eyed face. Only ... didn't the Benz have LED headlights at all?
Lights on, headlights off: here is the freshly lifted one Skoda Octavia. And that now shows the striking look that the Stuttgart company rejected after just one generation. Beyond all questions of taste, one can say at least about the change of face in Skoda's bestseller: It is unmistakable.
“We wanted to give the Octavia a strong face - with more than five million units sold, it is also our strongest car on the market,” said Skoda boss Bernhard Maier at the premiere in Vienna. The external LED headlights are not the only thing the Czechs have revised on the Octavia. Design boss Jozef Kaban explains that the sideline is now straighter and the wheels protrude further. The brand-typical C-shaped light graphic lights up at the rear. So the car is wider and flatter. In terms of the actual dimensions of the sheet metal, of course, nothing changed during the facelift due to cost reasons.
On the other hand, the Octavia is now also much more valuable inside and all around the current group standard of this class, as specified by the sister brands VW, Audi and Seat. That means: more assistance systems, pepped up infotainment, larger screens. Even after the facelift, only Virtual Cockpit will initially be reserved for the nobler brothers from Wolfsburg and Ingolstadt. But the Octavia offers more space than the Golf or A3.
The Czech should always score precisely with competitors from Asia or France. In the sedan, 590 liters fit in the very accessible trunk, in the Combi there are another 20 liters - now also openable with an electric tailgate. There are also practical extras for the family car, such as the trailer assistant, which takes over the complex maneuvering when reversing. The rear radar supports the new blind spot warning system, which scans the traffic behind the car when changing lanes or parking. and other assistants such as parking assistance and front warner have started the new model year with improved technology.
The emergency call function, which orders help in the event of a breakdown or an accident, offers more safety and service for all versions (except natural gas). The status of the car and the current parking space can also be shown using a Skoda app. Services for which the manufacturer now competes with accessory providers who offer similar things via app and OBD connector.
However, the Skoda makers were inspired by the premium brands when revising the interior: better plastics, more color and light ambience enhance the interior. The infotainment system now also has the up to 9,2-inch screen familiar from the Golf. The Octavia now also masters Android Auto, Apple Carplay and Mirror-Link, also offers inductive charging and integrates Google services.
Removable trunk lighting or a bottle holder in the center tunnel, which interlocks with PET bottles and makes opening with one hand possible - these are typically clever Skoda goodies.
There are five petrol and four diesel engines with a displacement of one to two liters - a large selection that distinguishes the Czech from other competitors in the inexpensive group. A new addition to the range is the 1,0-liter turbo gasoline engine (63 kW / 84 hp), which replaces the 1,2-liter turbo previously offered. 230 hp are the greatest of emotions in the Octavia - Skoda boss Maier will soon promise even more bang under the tin. In addition to manual transmission, there is also a dual clutch transmission with six or seven gears for almost all engines. 1,8-liter TSI and two-liter TDI are also available with all-wheel drive. Now there are also three driving modes (Comfort, Normal and Sport) in the Octavia, which are linked to the chassis.
From 17.450 euros (previously 17.190) the car is already available to buy, the combi variants always cost a moderate 700 euros more. But if you fully access the long list of accessories, you will now have an experience with the Octavia that also brings a not so tingling touch of premium to the Skoda: With all the wishes from the lush surcharge list, the Octavia can be close to the 50.000 euro threshold heave. (Peter Weißenberg / SP-X)