The launch of a new Skoda Octavia may not be the most exciting news youve heard all week, but if youre a car buyer in the market for a new family car, it might be the most relevant.
Skoda has now announced pricing and specification details for the new Octavia, due to hit showrooms in mid-March. And based on the same platform as the new Volkswagen Golf, Seat Leon and Audi A3 - all of which are receiving rave reviews - theres even more reason to take note.
With an entry-level price of only 15,990 its already one of the most accessible ways to get so much space in a new car, the new Octavia having grown compared to the old model. The introduction of the Skoda Rapid has given the Octavia some breathing room, growing by 90mm in length and 45mm in width. The wheelbase has increased by 108mm, improving interior space significantly.
Boot volume of 590 litres is best-in-class, and elbow, knee, leg and headroom is better than ever. Interior quality has leapt too, with a design not dissimilar to the Rapid, but with a more upmarket feel.
The Octavia launches with four engines; two petrol and two diesel. Kicking off the range theres a 105 PS 1.2-litre, turbocharged for suitable punch in the relatively light-weight Octavia body. Matching this output is the entry-level diesel, the 1.6 TDI CR. Combined economy is 57.7 mpg for the former, and 74.3 mpg for the latter. The diesel also gets free road tax, thanks to a 99g/km CO2 rating.
Next up is a 140 PS 1.4 TSI engine. Like the 1.2, drivers can choose between a six-speed manual or 7-speed dual-clutch auto transmission. Combined economy with the manual is 53.3 mpg, with CO2 as little as 121 g/km. A punchy 2.0 TDI diesel tops the range, with 150 PS and 320 Nm of torque on offer. As weve come to expect from VW group diesels, it touts a compelling mixture of performance and economy, with 68.2 mpg on offer and CO2 of only 106 g/km with the manual gearbox.
GreenLine models with even better economy will follow later in 2013 - 83 mpg and 89 g/km is on the cards. Performance car fans will be eagerly awaiting the vRS version, expected to develop around 220 horsepower from its 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine.
Equipment includes Automatic Post-Collision Brake (applying the brakes should the car be involved in an accident, to prevent it rolling further into danger), lane detection, City Emergency Braking with Front Assistant (braking to avoid obstacles if the driver doesnt react), driver fatigue detection, and optional Crew Protect Assistant, which tightens belts and closes windows should it detect an emergency situation.
Convenience features include adaptive cruise control, a standard touchscreen display (up to 8 inches in diameter), and optional keyless entry.
Pricing ranges from 15,990 for a 1.2 to 18,040 for the 1.6 TDI, both in base S trim. SE models start at 17,190, and Elegance from 20,240, on 1.4 models and above. Sitting at the top of the range is the 2.0 TDI DSG, which costs a still-reasonable 23,240 in top-end Elegance trim. All Octavias offer huge leaps in added value over the previous models, thanks to the high standard equipment levels.
Priced from: 15,990 to 23,240
On sale from: 16 March 2013 (1.2 and 1.6 TDI DSG models from May)
The Skoda Octavia has always been a shrewd purchase for value-seeking buyers, offering most of what youll get from a Volkswagen Golf,but for significantly less dosh.
Weve yet to drive the Octavia here at carwow, but early reviews from the wider press are already looking positive - and like the smaller Skoda Rapid, the Octavia offers seriously tempting levels of economy, equipment and space, for a lot less than youll pay for many of its rivals. Expect to see Octavias everywhere this year