There was a subtext accompanying the Skoda Rapid we drove not so long ago.
Similar in size and price to the original Octavia models, and not far off the current Octavia in size, it hinted that the next Octavia would grow to offer even more space.
And as Skoda rips the wrapping paper from the new Octavia, thats exactly what has happened.
At first, you may be hard-pressed to tell it from the smaller Rapid. From its silhouette to its detailing, the new Octavia is every inch a product of Skodas new design language. Some may be disappointed with the seen it all before styling, but theres no doubt its now jumped a few classes in visual appeal - at a glance, youd struggle to tell it isnt designed to compete on the same level as its Audi cousins.
Size-wise, its now 90mm longer than the old car, 45mm wider, and has a 108mm wheelbase. Just as we saw with the Mk7 Volkswagen Golf, the effects of this increased wheelbase are mostly felt in the cabin, which Skoda promises is a benchmark in terms of space for occupants and luggage.
Here, the Rapid similarities continue, with a grown-up design and quality materials. Its all about convenience features in here, with space for warning vests, sunglasses, iPods and other paraphernalia, as well as cubbies, hooks and holders for lifes flotsam and jetsam.
Safety gear includes adaptive cruise, intelligent lights, automatic parking and traffic sign recognition. A panoramic sunroof and keyless entry also make an appearance.
Engine choices range from a 1.6 TDI capable of 83 mpg and CO2 of 89 g/km, to a 177-horsepower 1.8 TSI. In all, there are four turbocharged petrols and four TDI diesels, most of which now offer stop-start technology.
Dual-clutch automatic transmissions will be an option on most, and for those with regular poor weather, a four-wheel drive version is also in the works. For those who require a bargain fast hatch, theres further good news: A vRS model is also on the way.
Priced from: Not yet announced
On sale from: Not yet announced
Its easy to like the Skoda Octavia. Its always been a solid, dependable, no-nonsense choice in the family car market.
We never found the old model lacking in space when we drove it, but with the smaller Rapid now occupying the middle of Skodas range, the Octavia has been allowed to grow. Well wait and see what the price is like - Skodas are no longer cheap, so much as good value - but on early impressions, the new Octavia could be worth waiting for.