This is the new 2013 Skoda Octavia. For its third generation, the Octavia gets its cleanest, most efficient engines yet and the full gamut of tech upgrades available on the new Mk7 Golf - all wrapped up in a more sober, Czech-style package.
The new Octavia is also lighter than the old car and, with the arrival of the mid-sized Rapid, has grown from family hatch proportions to fight the Ford Mondeo and Vauxhall Insignia.
Skoda Octavia (2013): the headline changes
Skoda claims the new Octavia is the roomiest car in its class, with big emphasis placed on the extra 73mm of knee and 980mm of rear headroom. It's the 108mm increase in wheelbase that's made the difference inside.
The boot is also a class best, at 590 litres (up from 585 in the old car). Overall, the Octavia's entire body has grown 90mm in length and 45mm in height, pushing the Octavia into mid-size saloon territory. The smaller, cheaper Rapid notchback will occupy the previous Octavia heartland, and fight the regular family hatchbacks, ending several decades of Skoda offering a half-size more for less cash.
Although it's had a growth spurt, Skoda reckons the new Octavia is actually up to 102kg lighter than the car it replaces. It's thanks to those three magic VW Group letters: MQB. The modular architecture is already seeing duty in the new VW Golf, Seat Leon and Audi A3, and uses high-strength steels to improve rigidity, but also shed the flab.
Visually, the new Octavia is familiar Skoda fodder, distinguished by a more chiseled countenance and finer light graphics, like its Rapid stablemate. The look was first previewed on the Mission L concept car of 2011.
Under the bonnet of the 2013 Skoda Octavia
Less weight and a lower drag coefficient help the new Octavia's efficiency cause, along with a fleet of four petrol and four diesel engines. The eco-minded Greenline model gets a 109bhp 1.6-litre TDI engine that emits 89g/km of CO2 and drinks a gallon of diesel every 83 miles. A natural gas-fuelled motor with extra-low CO2 output will follow later, as will go-faster vRS models.
Transmission choices are either a six-speed manual or dual-clutch DSG auto, and a four-wheel drive model will join the front-drivers in due course.
Tech news in the new Skoda Octavia
Various assist and safety systems make their Skoda debut in the new Octavia, like adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam lights, traffic sign recognition and adaptive driving modes. A tilting panoramic sunroof will be an option, as will keyless entry and start. Automatic lane guidance, emergency city braking and up to nine airbags bring the Octavia's safety credentials up to date, too. And yes, there is the trademark Skoda ice-scraper incorporated into the fuel filler flap.
Sales start in March 2013, with prices expected to rise in accordance with the car's class shift upmarket. Expect to pay just under £14k for an entry-level model, with hot vRS flagships closer to £22k.