Skoda’s global bestseller – the Octavia – has been redesigned for its fourth-generation model, bringing in a raft of new technology and the model’s first plug-in hybrid.
Skoda calls the Octavia its “heart and engine” – more than six million units have been produced since 1996 – and the new Mk4 version is said to build on the existing car’s strengths with more interior space, better functionality and higher levels of safety and comfort. It will go on sale in sedan and estate forms in the second half of 2020, with customer deliveries starting soon after. India will get the sedan body style only, with a market launch planned within 2020.
The new Octavia’s exterior design has been brought into line with Skoda’s latest non-SUV models, the Scala and updated Superb. The front end takes inspiration from the Scala, with the old car’s split headlight design ditched in favour of redesigned units with standard-fit LED tech (full-matrix LEDs optional). LED tail-lights also feature. A lower roofline is claimed to give the sedan a more coupé-like stance and aerodynamic efficiency is said to be greatly improved too. At just under 4.69 metres long, the Octavia sedan is 19mm longer and 15mm wider than the outgoing model. There’s even more generous passenger room than before, and boot space is also up 10 litres to 600 litres.
The interior takes a substantial step forward, not just in technology but also, Skoda claims, in perceived quality. A variety of soft-touch materials aims to lift the cabin’s appeal, as does multi-colour ambient lighting. Optional ‘Ergo’ seats are described as being “particularly back friendly”, with a massaging function and seat ventilation on top models for the first time. The dashboard is dominated by a free-standing touchscreen display that measures 8.25-inch or 10-inch, depending on spec, and Skoda has introduced gesture control and an advanced voice-controlled digital assistant called Laura.
A redesigned 10.25-inch Virtual Cockpit is available on certain trims, as is a new head-up display. The model also includes connectivity tech with a built-in eSIM. Interestingly, the Octavia uses only the latest USB-C connections. Wireless charging is also offered. Three-zone climate control makes its debut, too, as does optional acoustic window glass. Further tech includes an enlarged suite of driver assistance features, such as an enhanced predictive cruise control and predictive pedestrian and cyclist protection, though how many of the features make it to the India car remains to be seen.
The new Octavia is built on a reworked version of the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform. In markets abroad, the Octavia will be available with a fairly comprehensive engine line-up that will include both mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid options. The basic range kicks off with a 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo-petrol engine, putting out 110hp. A 150hp 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol is also available. Both can be had in mild-hybrid form, with near-identical performance but with claimed efficiency gains. The flagship petrol engine, for now, is a 190hp non-hybrid 2.0-litre TSI with all-wheel drive and a 7-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic gearbox. Just one diesel, in three states of tune, will be offered initially: a 2.0-litre unit with 200hp, 150hp and 115hp. The 200hp version will be all-wheel drive and DSG only, achieving 0-100kph in a claimed 7.1sec.
While there will be no mild-hybrid diesels at launch, a plug-in hybrid petrol option will be available for the first time in the Octavia. It’s powered by a 1.4-litre engine and a 103hp electric motor – via a 6-speed DSG gearbox – for a combined 203hp, a 50km all-electric range and 0-100kph in 7.9sec.
The Octavia for India will likely be a petrol-only model, offered with the option of 150hp, 1.5-litre and 190hp, 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engines. Manual and DSG dual-clutch autos will also be offered in India too. A spicier RS will also likely follow. Expect Skoda Octavia prices to be in the Rs 20-30 lakh bracket.
The new Octavia is one of multiple launches in the pipeline from Skoda in India. The current-gen Octavia RS 245 is scheduled to be brought in as a limited-run model, the Superb facelift is to come soon and the updated Rapid is also in the works. At Auto Expo 2020, Skoda will also show the first model – a mid-size SUV – from the VW Group’s India 2.0 programme.
Also see: 2020 Skoda Octavia image gallery