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Skoda updates best-selling Octavia

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Seven-million sales on, the Skoda Octavia is getting a new look.

Skoda has updated the Octavia saloon and estate, giving a new look to the car that has sold seven million vehicles worldwide and is currently the second-best-selling car in Ireland.

Subtle changes, new headlights

The new styling is a subtle change, with new, more angular headlights that lean in a bit more towards the grille. Even the basic versions of the new Octavia will now get LED headlights, while higher-spec models—such as Sportline and RS versions—will get high-tech Matrix LED with active beam-dipping. The front fog lights are also no longer present, and a weather-specific function for the main LED beams has been replaced.

The front and rear bumpers are also new (and they make the Octavia fractionally longer than before) and the grille has been altered so as to better match the shape of those new headlights.

There are also new alloy wheel designs and some new exterior colours, including Velvet Red, Royal Green and Black Magic. Hyper Green is exclusive to RS models and Phoenix Orange is only available on the Octavia Estate RS model.

13-inch screen, more USB power

The interior has also been updated, gaining a new 13-inch central infotainment screen, and there are new, more powerful 45-watt USB-C sockets (including one on the rearview mirror) as well as 15-watt wireless charging pads which are also, helpfully, cooled. Other upgraded tech includes a voice control system that can now use ChatGPT artificial intelligence, a connected app that allows you to pay for fuel from within the car (only for certain markets at the moment, and not available in Ireland just yet) and more functions for the MySkoda phone app.

The 10.25-inch digital instrument panel is available on all but the most basic models, and seven new ‘Design Selections’ allow you to choose a cabin look and feel that you best like. These include recycled fabrics in the Lodge and Sportline Design Selections and sustainably treated leather in the Suite Design Selection. It is tanned using sustainable materials, including coffee husks. The ergonomic front seats of this optional Design Selection also have an AGR (Healthy Back Campaign) seal of approval as well as a ventilation and massage function. In another first for the Octavia, dark chrome trim elements are used in the interior and on the steering wheel, which now features the new, two-dimensional Skoda logo.

Recycled coffee husks

Those coffee husks, from coffee cherry - otherwise a waste product - are used to sustainably tan the leather for the seats in the Suite Cognac Design Selection, replacing traditional chemicals. The coffee beans come from carefully selected family farms in India and Tanzania that have been awarded the Rainforest Alliance certification. Upon arrival in the Czech Republic, the coffee beans are processed at the Jablum family roasting plant in Bezděčín, Mladá Boleslav, just around the corner from Skoda’s home factory.

There are some new additions to Skoda’s traditional ‘Simply Clever’ interior fixtures and fittings, such as a luggage cover for the estate which automatically retracts when you open the boot, a rear storage box for back seat passengers, a tablet holder that now works with the optional sports front seats, and the usual ice scraper built into the fuel flap, and an umbrella stashed in the door.

1.5 petrol and 2.0-litre diesels, plus the RS

On the engine front, for the most part the powertrains are carried over. The engine line-up kicks off with 116hp and 150hp versions of the 1.5-litre turbo four-cylinder petrol, both coming with mild-hybrid assistance if you get it with the optional seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox. Both 1.5 engines get active cylinder cutoff, which helps to save a bit more fuel, although alas, it does mean the end of the sweet little 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine.

The RS models now get a major upgrade in power, drawing 265hp from the updated 2.0-litre TSI petrol engine, and with Skoda encouraging buyers to switch to Certa’s HVO diesel substitute, there will also be 116hp and 150hp 2.0-litre TDI diesel options.

At some point, there will also be a plug-in hybrid option based around that 1.5 TSI petrol engine and boasting a bigger battery. This model has a potential EV range of more than 100km on one charge, but we’re still waiting for Skoda to release the final details of that model.

The new Octavia’s safety systems have also been upgraded, with beefed-up driver attention monitoring, intelligent parking assistant (with remote parking allowing you to control some manoeuvres from your phone), and pedestrian detection and emergency braking while reversing.

If you can’t afford the price of an RS Octavia, there will be a new Sportline model. It will get an RS-sequenced bodykit, a 15mm suspension drop, 19-inch alloys, and a sportier-looking cabin with high-backed bucket front seats.

It’s actually the 65th anniversary of the original Octavia this year, with the first-ever model to wear that badge having been launched in 1959. Given these updates, and the massive popularity of the Octavia in Ireland, it’s likely that those seven-million customers are just the beginning.

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Published on May 14, 2024