Ever since its launch in India, the Octavia has been a popular car and the present version, introduced in 2013, is no exception. However, given the fast pace at which product lifecycles for cars are getting shorter, four years or so is quite a long time. In order to enhance its competitiveness, Skoda will launch the new Octavia on 13th July. Despite not being a new-generation model, the upgrade sports extensive changes to the feature list and visible changes to the exterior and interior design. The new Octavia will continue to face competition from the likes of Toyota Corolla Altis and Volkswagen Jetta. Retaining the same powertrain options means the Octavia will offer a similar driving experience to the outgoing version but the addition of numerous convenience features should add to cabin comfort significantly. If you're in the market, looking for a luxury sedan that offers good driving dynamics here are the top things you should look out for in the new Octavia.
Since the new Octavia is an update and not an entirely new model, the changes in its design too are evolutionary and subtle. At the front, the car has been equipped with a new bumper and bonnet, both of which lend the car a more dynamic look. The headlamp cluster too is redesigned and now features a vertically-split setup. Interestingly, the top variants of the new Octavia will come equipped with full-LED headlamps too. The tail lamp too has been redesigned but the overall silhouette of the car remains the same so only when close to the car, the differences are visible.
The facelift Octavia will feature the same engines and gearboxes seen on the present model. Petrol engines on offer include a 1.4 and 1.8 litre TSI unit. The smaller unit develops 148 hp and 250 Nm of torque and is mated to a six-speed manual transmission. The larger 1.8 litre unit develops about 180 hp but can be ordered only with a 7-speed DSG automatic transmission. The diesel unit will be the same old 2 litre TDI unit with 140 hp of power output and 320 Nm of torque. This engine is paired to a conventional six-speed automatic transmission.
The cabin is where most of the changes in the new Octavia have taken place and naturally so since comfort & convenience features are soon becoming the prerogative of premium car buyers. The most visible change in the cabin is the new infotainment system with an 8-inch touchscreen. In addition to the regular connectivity options of Bluetooth, FM, USB and Aux-In the system offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The steering wheel too has been changed and seems a direct fit from the larger Superb. The beige dashboard with a black top now features a piano black finish around the centre console.
Other new technologies in the Octavia include the Auto Park feature, which automatically parks the car with the driver only required to control the throttle and brakes. Top variants of the new Octavia will also feature interior ambient lighting with up to 10 colours to choose from. Panoramic sunroof and cooled glovebox will continue to feature in the new model.
Skoda has been known for building safe cars, especially with the usage of Volkswagen platforms. The Octavia too offers a wide range of features aimed at preventing an accident as well as protecting occupants in the case of a crash. The car will feature eight airbags, ABS, ESP and Hill Hold function.
The present Octavia witnessed a price-cut after GST implementation and hence the base version is now priced at about Rs 15.6 lakh, ex-showroom. The new model too will continue to benefit from the lower tax rate and although it will come with new features, we expect the price to be around the same mark as it is for the outgoing Octavia.
The new Octavia will be launched on 13th July around noon so stay tuned to Express Drives for live updates from the launch event.