A new Octavia is a big event in itself for Skoda as it is their best-selling model worldwide – but add a blitz of new and facelifted models and you will understand why competitors are about to feel a chill wind blowing across their forecourts.
The company now has a 6.5 per cent market share here which is set to grow again next year as the marque continues on its journey to convince the motorists that it sells the best-built Volkswagens, at bargain prices.
Hot on the heels of the Focus-sized Rapid this month the now Mondeo-sized new Octavia will come to the market in March with an entry level petrol price of about €19,500. An estate version will follow in June after which Skoda will roll out a facelifted flagship Superb in July along with an estate version of the Rapid. Towards the year end there will be a big facelift for the Yeti along with a high-economy (89g/km of C02) Greenline version of the Octavia. Also on the cards for the following year is a totally new Fabia and an extra model to the range, a SUV, will follow soon after.
Skoda plan to sell 1,000 Rapid models and although the Octavia will miss the first two months of the high selling January/February period, orders are good for the new Octavia with sales limited to 700 because of limitations of supply. The entry price of the Octavia with the 1.2 litre TSI 105 bhp engine is just €1,000 more than the current model and will attract city drivers who will value the low purchase cost.
More than 90 per cent of sales will go to the 1.6 litre TDI 105 bhp model which will be priced in the region of €22,000, depending on trim and specification.
When it arrives the estate version will add €1,350 to the entry-level price.
Now 109kg lighter than the outgoing model, and with a very low drag factor, the new model is more economical with a choice of four modern TDI engines and an option of three petrol units ranging up to a 1.8 litre.
The Greenline version can return 3.4L/100km, over 83 mpg.
Skoda engineers have always prided themselves on the fact that their Octavia was roomy, practical, affordable and had a compact price with middle-class qualities – and they have held true to this philosophy with the new offering. Based on the new VW Golf chassis, this third-generation Octavia is 108mm longer and is 45mm wider than the outgoing model.
The exterior lines are refined and uncluttered which give the clue that the design is intended not to become dated. A "timeless design" is how Skoda describe it.
Options include Adaptive Cruise Control, Intelligent Light Assistance, Automatic Parking Assistance, and Traffic Sign recognition depending on the level of trim chosen.