With more than 6.5 million units sold, the Skoda Octavia is a massively important model for the Czech brand, and now there's a whole new model. The fourth-generation Skoda Octavia is a complete redesign with a look that makes it every bit as desirable for its design as it does for its practical nature. Even so, the Octavia now has a more sloping roofline that moves away from the traditional three-box profile of a saloon. A sharp crease along the shoulder line remains and, around the rear, there are no visible exhausts - fake or otherwise. Meanwhile, the Skoda name is spelled out across the back of the boot lid.
The modern new look includes LED headlights as standard across the range. Distinctly sharper lines don't stop the Octavia from achieving some of the best aerodynamic figures in the segment, with the hatch posting a drag coefficient of 0.24, with 0.26 for the Combi estate. That should help reduce noise and improve efficiency. In terms of aesthetics, new Chrome and Dynamic styling packages will be offered optionally for Ambition and Style specification grades. Three new paint colours - Crystal Black, Lava Blue and Titanium Blue - are added to the palette, while a variety of different wheel sizes, up to 19 inches in diameter, will be available.
Dimensionally, Skoda has made the Octavia 15mm wider and longer by 19- and 22mm for the hatch and estate respectively. The wheelbase on both cars measures 2,686mm and, thanks to the interior redesign, there is an additional 5mm of knee room (up to 78mm) in what was already a generously proportioned rear cabin. The Octavia gains ten more litres of boot space, as well, bringing the total up to 600 litres, while the Octavia Combi gains an additional 30 litres to bring the total up to 640 litres.
A more modern interior design
Even more radical than the exterior of the Octavia is the change in design and the material quality that feature inside the cabin. A multi-level dashboard layout features a free-standing central infotainment screen measuring up to 10 inches, offering the latest in-car connectivity and helping to reduce the physical button count inside the cabin. This largest touchscreen display features a touch slider beneath the screen that can be used to adjust the volume or zoom level on maps. Gesture control is also possible, and this system will see the debut of Skoda's digital assistant, named Laura. All Octavia models will come with a minimum of an 8.25-inch touchscreen system with access to Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink. Ahead of the driver is the option of a head-up display (available from Style trim upwards) and a 10.25-inch Virtual Cockpit digital instrument display.
A new two-spoke multifunction steering wheel, almost identical to that first seen on the Skoda Vision iV concept, comes with new style control buttons and knurled scroll wheels that offer up to 14 different functions without the driver having to remove their hands from the wheel. Space between the front seats is noticeably better in cars equipped with the automatic gearbox. A new drive selector uses shift-by-wire technology and is considerably smaller than before, in turn enabling easier access to the wireless charging pad that is positioned ahead of it. This area also contains two USB-C charge ports, with a total of five available throughout the cabin - one of which is located in the overhead console above the rear-view mirror.
A wider choice of engine options
The variety of engines available in the 2020 Skoda Octavia is greater than ever before, ranging in power from 110hp to 204hp. Both the 1.0- and 1.5-litre TSI petrol engines gain mild hybrid electrification when paired with the automatic DSG transmission, using a 48-volt belt-driven starter generator and a 48-volt lithium-ion battery to store energy recovered during braking. This energy is then redeployed to support the combustion engine with an electric boost and can also enable short periods of engine-off coasting. On the diesel front, the Evo engines use a 'twin dosing' method of exhaust gas treatment to help reduce NOx emissions.
Skoda is also introducing a plug-in hybrid model that carries the Octavia iV name. This version uses a 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine that is paired with an electric motor to deliver a total power output of 204hp. The 37Ah battery is capable of providing 13kWh of energy, enough for an electric driving range of up to 55 kilometres in the WLTP cycle. Skoda will equip the Octavia iV with aerodynamically optimised wheels and low-rolling resistance types, while its battery charge port is located on the front left wing. This model won't be the only plug-in Octavia, as the company will unveil the sportier Octavia RS model as a PHEV at the 2020 Geneva Motor Show.
Skoda Auto CEO, Bernhard Maier, said, "For Skoda, the Octavia is of immense importance. That's why we've completely redeveloped this car. The outcome is the best Octavia of all time - it is even more spacious, practical and even safer than ever before. By unveiling its latest generation just in time for its 60th anniversary, we have taken a major step forward. The Octavia has significantly contributed to the positive development of the company and the brand. Over the last six decades. I am very confident that the new generation will play its part in maintaining this positive development."