"The board was not enthusiastic when the first reactions came," says František Drábek, "but we were able to reassure him: If Jozef says that it is good, then it fits!" Drábek is the product manager for the facelift of the Skoda Octavia in charge, and said Jozef is the chief designer: Jozef Kabaň. He had put the new four-eyes face in his head and boxed through, which really looked a little unhappy in the first pictures. But Jozef should be right: In real life, the refreshed Czech looks really good. Customers will soon be able to see this for themselves: From spring onwards, the Octavia will be available in the showrooms for at least 17.450 euros.
The Octavia is becoming more and more confident, the new, two-part front lights (with full-LED technology on request) no longer look as good as before, the aprons are beefier and the rear track, which has been widened by three centimeters, also has an effect. He not only makes life more difficult for competitors like Opel Astra or Hyundai i30, but also for his technology donor VW Golf. Especially since he, like every Skoda, is always "a little more car". This applies above all to the space available. At 4,67 meters in length, it no longer really plays in the compact class. In terms of price, however, it competes in this segment - and nobody else offers a rear seat in which tall people can cross their legs or up to 1.740 liters of storage space in the combi, which only costs € 700 more than the sedan. This is probably what makes it the best-selling station wagon in Europe.
In the past, Skoda often had to apply the technology stored by the parent company Volkswagen, but the Czechs can now use the shelves more or less to their hearts' content. "But we also have to pay accordingly," emphasizes Drábek. That is why the new 9,2-inch infotainment screen does not require gesture control for the time being. Otherwise, the system is in no way inferior to the golf counterpart: instead of classic switches and buttons, it is now pressed on an elegant-looking iPad-like glass plate. The technology works quickly and without delay, the operation is simple, the resolution razor-sharp and of course the Octavia can always be on the Internet on request and, in addition to Google Streetview data, can also check current petrol station prices. The only downside of the new system: in addition to the stylish high-end device, the rest of the interior looks almost a bit old-fashioned. The almost perfect workmanship, the good overview and last but not least the excellent seats make up for it completely.
Not only in terms of infotainment, Skoda is now at the forefront in the group, but can already grab the new 1.5 TSI with 110 kW / 150 PS in the second half of the year. Until then, the well-known units are available: four diesels from 66 kW / 90 hp to 135 kW / 184 hp and just as many petrol engines that deliver between 63 kW / 86 hp and 132 kW / 180 hp; On top of that comes the 230 hp RS top model and a natural gas variant with 81 kW / 110 hp. Depending on the engine, there is a precise five- or six-speed manual transmission, for most drives there is also a dual clutch transmission with six or seven stages to choose from, and the more powerful units can even be driven with all-wheel drive on request - not only in the visually trimmed Scout -Version.
The 110 kW / 150 hp 2.0 TDI, which is available from € 26.250, will continue to be a blockbuster. It is obvious that his 340 Newton meters of torque with the 1,3 ton Czech have no major problems. In an entertaining 8,4 seconds, he pushes the sedan up to 100 km / h, with a maximum of 218 km / h; the station wagon is only marginally slower. The powerhouse shines on paper with an exemplary consumption of 4,3 liters per 100 kilometers. But once you have fun with the Diesel-Boom and regularly challenges the four-cylinder to crisp intermediate sprints and brisk traffic light starts, the value skyrockets.
This also applies to the three-cylinder petrol engine, which leads the Ottos with a standard consumption of 4,8 liters. The sheer joy of turning the 85 kW / 115 hp turbo engine, which despite its small cubic capacity has at least 200 Newton meters of torque, makes it difficult to hold your right foot back. However, you have to like the robust sound of the one-liter engine, because - this applies to all units - the Octavia is not particularly well insulated even after the facelift. In addition to the noise, the unpleasantness of some bad Portuguese country roads also penetrates into the interior: the Octavia sometimes reacts somewhat harshly to unexpected suggestions from small potholes or transverse joints. All in all, however, the newly tuned chassis is much more balanced than before and simply bounces off most bumps. The base can also be readjusted in the future for 920 euros, the adaptive damper control has the familiar modes Comfort, Normal and Sport ready.
Of course, Skoda also retrofitted the driver assistants. Now the Octavia also monitors cross-traffic, avoids parking bumps when maneuvering and a steering assistant helps when driving backwards with a trailer - with a trailer load of up to two tons, the all-wheel drive diesel is also recommended as a tractor. By the way, you will be able to book such functions retrospectively from Skoda in the not too distant future: "If you then go on holiday with the caravan, you can activate the function for a certain amount," explains Drábek. "This way you will become king at the campsite." (Michael Gebhardt / SP-X)