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New Škoda Octavia joins iV range with PHEV option

The fourth generation  Škoda Octavia has been revealed and thanks to a new PHEV powertrain, will join the brand's iV range. As well as new, cleaner powertrains – which also include MHEV options – the new Octavia brings with it new design language and a plethora of new toys and features.

For Škoda the Octavia is a car that it can't really afford to get wrong. Since the first Octavia went into production 60 years ago the Czech brand has made over 6.5 million of them. It is by far and away the best selling Škoda internationally and, certainly since the VW Golf-based second generation car hit the road back in the 90s, has built a reputation for build quality, dynamic ability, practicality and value for money. And probably a load more things ending in 'y'.

Škoda hasn't gone bonkers with the fourth generation Octavia. Instead it has opted for more of the same – just better in every way. Whilst the fifth generation car might head down the full EV route, for now Škoda has plumped for the half-way house of PHEV motivation. 

Powertrain

From launch the Octavia will be available in the iV sub-range of Škodas which thus far includes the all-electric CITIGOe and the Superb iV PHEV. In fact, the Octavia shares a lot in common with its larger sibling with a 154bhp, 1.4 litre TSI petrol engine being the same unit as in the Superb. On the electric motor front, the Octavia's comes in at 101bhp – 13bhp less than that in the Superb which is almost certainly simply as a point for differentiation between the models. Total system power is 201bhp with torque rated at 258lb-ft.

The Octavia iV gets a 13kWh battery which is good for 34 miles on the WLTP cycle and can be charged from a three-pin or wall box. Boot space is slightly compromised compared to the standard cars, with the hatch sacrificing 150 litres (600l down to 450l) and the COMBI estate also losing 150l (640l down to 490l). Efficiency and emissions figures aren't available just yet, but we hope the PHEV efficiency makes up for the five litres of fuel tank room that have also been lost...

Transmitting the power to the front wheels is a 6-speed DSG automatic gearbox (the conventionally-powered range gets a 7-speed) which has shift-by-wire tech – a first for Škoda. Octavia iV is available on any spec level above base level Active for the hatch, and SCOUT for the COMBI.

New exterior design language

On the outside the Octavia has had a thorough re-working, although it is still recognisably 'Octavia' at a glance. Size-wise, the hatch is 19mm longer and the COMBI 22mm longer than the third-gen car, with all models 15mm wider. Whilst the COMBI estate uses shallow roof rails to elongate the shape, the roof of the hatch blends into the boot giving the car a sleeker profile; in fact, both cars are the most aerodynamic in their segments.

At the front, the wider, chrome-surrounded grille dominates proceedings and is flanked by all-new headlamps which use LEDs for high beam, low beam and daytime running lights as standard. This use of LEDs is carried over to the tail lamps. An optional smartbeam function for the headlamps enables drivers to leave them on high beam for more of the time. By utilising a camera located in the windscreen, they blend the spread of light around oncoming cars ensuring an optimal light spread in all conditions.

Alloy wheels measuring up to 19 inches are available on all models, whilst new paint colours have been added; Crystal Black, Lava Blue and Titanium Blue. A Chrome and a Dynamic package are optional extras.

Interior tech and features

As you'd expect, the new Škoda Octavia isn't short on interior tech and features, but this isn't at the expense of comfort. Rear seat legroom is marginally improved over the previous model and optional Ergo seats promise to keep you as comfortable as possible. They even have approval by the German Campaign for Healthier Backs.

Up front, the cabin has received a full makeover. A multi-function steering wheel can control 14 different things on-the-move, whilst a modular dashboard is arranged on several levels with the centrepiece being a free-standing display screen. This is available from 8.25 to 10 inches in size and integrates with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Thanks to an eSIM the car is always connected and can take commands through Laura, a digital assistant. Apps enable music, TV and other online streaming services, and there are several levels of navigation available depending on how much you want to spend. Up to five USB ports can be used for device connection and charging.

Other features controlled through the central infotainment system include the LED ambient interior lighting and optional tri-zone climate control, as well as the optional CANTON sound system.

The driver benefits from a 10.25 inch virtual cockpit which can be altered to display information an individual most wants to see. It also displays commands from the navigation and informs what's shown on the brand new head-up display. Safety information is also displayed depending on how the system is configured.

Driver assistance and safety

Keeping occupants safe is a range of safety and driver assistance features. Area View provides an overview of the car’s immediate surroundings when parking or manoeuvring. Side Assist warns the driver of vehicles approaching from behind up to 70m away. In urban areas, Front Assist including Predictive Pedestrian and Cyclist Protection warns of a potential collision visually, acoustically and by gently applying the brakes, automatically slowing the car down in an emergency.

Predictive cruise control automatically adjusts the Octavia's speed depending on that of the car in front at up to 130mph. This can bring the car to a standstill and pull away again, as well as taking information from the speed limit and traffic sign recognition system to adjust the car's speed for cornering.

An overall Travel Assist System pools the data from traffic sign recognition, lane assist (which now identifies road works) traffic jam and emergency assist to help deliver safer day-to-day driving. In addition, hands-on detect monitors the steering wheel every 15 seconds and can bring the car to a halt if it detects continuous hands-off driving which could be a sign of a medical emergency. In the event of an unavoidable accident being detected, Crew Protect Assist pre-tensions seatbelts and in the event of a roll-over, closes windows and sunshine roof. Nine airbags protect occupants and the brakes are engaged automatically to help stop the car rolling into potentially more trouble.

Price and on-sale date?

There's no official word on the price or when the new Škoda Octavia will go on sale. Given that the Mk8 Golf goes on sale in December and the Octavia continues to share components with it, we'd wager early 2020 for an on-sale date with deliveries starting in time for the next plate change, if not before.

Similarly, prices haven't been confirmed yet, but for conventionally-powered models we'd expect them to start at a shade below £20,000. Our best guess for the Octavia iV, based on the Octavia iV's £32k starting price, is the higher end of £29,000. We'll cover any further developments as they happen.

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