If you like the idea of the new VW Golf 8 but need a little more space, don’t panic: its more practical Czech cousin has just arrived. We’re talking about the latest version of the Skoda Octavia, and it’s bigger and roomier than ever before.
The hatchback has grown in length by 19mm, while the ‘Combi’ estate has been stretch by 22mm, and both are 15mm wider. As a result of the size increase plus some packaging skullduggery, the hatch has 10 litres more boot space, bringing the total to 600 litres. The estate, meanwhile, allows you to carry a whopping 640 litres of clobber thanks to a 30-litre bump in capacity.
The world’s your oyster when it comes to powertrains, with petrols, diesels and hybrids -both mild and full - on the menu. Kicking off the range is a 1.0-litre inline-three turbo petrol engine putting out 108bhp, sitting under a 1.5-litre inline-four that develops 148bhp. These two are also available in ‘e-TEC’ mild hybrid form with a 48-volt subsystem extending the reach of the stop-start system.
The quickest car in the range is a 2.0-litre petrol churning out 187bhp, making for a 0-62mph time of 6.9 seconds. The four-wheel drive model won’t be the briskest for long, however - it’s buried quite deep in the press release, but there is already talk of an RS/vRS model. Expect to see that at some point in 2020.
All three diesel options involve a 2.0-litre TDI engine, with 114, 148 and 197bhp outputs available. Finally, the ‘iV’ plug-in hybrid pairs a 1.4-litre TSI engine with a 13kWh battery pack and a single motor, making for a combined output of 201bhp plus an electric-only range of 34 miles.
Since sharing is caring, a lot of the interior tech we first saw in the VW Golf 8 has been carried over to the Octavia. There will be a quartet of infotainment systems to choose from, with touchscreen sizes ranging from 8.25 to 10 inches. There’s also a 10.25-inch Virtual Cockpit screen that’s used as the instrument cluster, with Basic, Classic, Navigation and Driver Assistance layouts. The vRS will have its own special ‘Sport’ display setting.
Also on the technology front, we have a head-up display, LED Matrix headlights, Traffic Jam assist and the first appearance of tri-zone climate control in an Octavia. This is a Skoda, of course, so there are also plenty of more straightforward ‘Simply Clever’ touches. These include a windscreen washer fluid cap that doubles as a funnel and smartphone storage pockets in the seatbacks. Neat!
On the outside, the Octavia looks rather a lot like a downscaled Superb. Not necessarily a bad thing, but is it just us, or does the front grille make the car seem a little…pouty?
Perhaps a vRS makeover will sort that. We await the inevitable renders…