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Facelifted Skoda Octavia lineup firms for Australia

Inner beauty: Skoda Australia’s globally unique high standard specification for the Octavia sedan and wagon range will continue when the comprehensively facelifted version launches here in July.

Largely carryover specs for mid-life Skoda Octavia range refresh arriving in July

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Skoda logo11 Jan 2017

By HAITHAM RAZAGUI

SKODA Australia has confirmed that the Octavia mid-size sedan and wagon range will carry over current standard equipment levels when the facelifted version arrives here in July.

The news follows the Octavia facelift’s full reveal at an event in Vienna, Austria overnight, the first time the mid-life refresh has been seen in the metal since official photos divided opinion over the dramatically restyled four-headlight front-end in October last year.

Skoda Australia general manager of corporate communications Paul Pottinger told GoAuto the Octavia specification and price realignment launched last June will be maintained with the facelift, meaning adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, rear parking sensors and a reversing camera will be standard across the range.

The new Octavia will also carry Skoda’s recently announced five-year factory warranty.

Mr Pottinger said Australian-delivered Skodas carry a uniquely high standard in contrast to the brand’s positioning in other markets where it is marketed as Volkswagen’s budget offering.

He added that Australian customers regularly option their Skodas with extras, including a longer warranty, which has proved so popular the company decided to make it standard.

Specification highlights on the base Ambition Octavia variant, currently priced from $22,990 plus on-road costs for the manual sedan, include 17-inch alloy wheels, a front central armrest, rear air-conditioning vents and an eight-speaker audio system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity.

Further up the range, the mid-spec, auto-only Style (currently from $33,790) and ruggedised all-wheel-drive Scout wagon (currently from $33,290) are expected to have their existing bi-Xenon headlights replaced by the facelift’s hi-tech adaptive full LED units, while all other lighting is also LED-based, including the slicker-looking C-shape tail-light clusters.

As confirmed in December, petrol versions of the facelifted, performance-oriented RS range-topper that will launch here in August also gain a 7kW power hike to 169kW, while torque remains at 350Nm.

These figures are inherited from the manual-only RS230 special edition that went on sale here with just 70 examples available for Australian consumption, as is that car’s 0-100km/h acceleration time of 6.7 seconds, 0.1s quicker than the current standard RS. Top speed remains electronically limited to 250km/h.

Facelifted RS sport variants also gain LED fog lights as part of the illumination upgrade.

Non-RS petrol Octavia drivetrains will carry over unchanged from the current Australian line-up, with a 110kW/250Nm 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine powering the majority and Style variants available with a 110kW/320Nm 2.0-litre turbo-diesel.

The Scout can be had with either a 110kW/340Nm 2.0-litre turbo-diesel manual or 132kW/280Nm 2.0-litre turbo-petrol automatic while the sporty RS is also available with a punchier diesel option producing 135kW and 380Nm.

Driver assistance technologies have been significantly upgraded for the Octavia refresh, with predictive pedestrian protection and additional sensors for the various driver aids, such as lane keeping and parking assistance, which functions even when reversing a trailer.

The latter – first introduced on the Audi Q7 large SUV – is unlikely to apply to this market as Audi found its version of the system to fall foul of Australian Design Rule (ADR) tow hitch specifications.

Adaptive dampers will also be available, with driver-selectable Comfort, Normal and Dynamic driving modes altering the handling characteristics along with the steering weight and drivetrain calibration. Skoda has also increased the Octavia’s rear track by 20mm on non-RS variants and 30mm on the RS, promising greater cornering stability.

Inside, a trio of upgraded multimedia systems with fancy glass capacitive touchscreens of up to 9.2 inches in size form a cornerstone of the cabin refresh, with the top-spec Columbus unit providing a Wi-Fi hotspot and SIM card module with high-speed mobile Internet connectivity plus access to various in-car online services.

Rival Ford appears to have inspired other additions, including a system that automatically notifies emergency services if an airbag is deployed, and customisable keys that enable multiple drivers to program their own vehicle settings.

Bottle holders designed to help with the opening of bottles and a removable torch in wagon variants bolster Skoda’s ‘simply clever’ brand mantra, with the wagon also now available with an optional powered tailgate.

A pair of USB charging points for rear passengers, colour-selectable ambient lighting, fold-down rear tray tables and a heated steering wheel are also on offer.

Skoda managed to beat its Australian sales record by 10 units last year, with 4760 of the Czech brand’s vehicles departing showrooms.

Mr Pottinger said the company was pleased with the result considering 2016’s heavy swing towards SUVs and Skoda’s only entrant in that market being the compact Yeti.

Octavia sedan and wagon sales were down 7.3 per cent, but it is still Skoda’s best-seller in Australia on 1973 units in 2016. The Octavia Scout was down 22 per cent with 341 sold. Globally 436,000 Octavias were sold last year, of which 255,000 found homes in Europe.

The Superb large car and Fabia light car were largely responsible for maintaining action at Australian Skoda dealerships, with sales up 177.7 per cent on 733 units and 38.7 per cent on 857 units respectively.

A sales drop of 42.8 per cent for the Yeti crossover and 18.1 per cent for the Rapid small car translated to 367 and 489 units respectively.

Mr Pottinger expects the all-new Kodiaq seven-seat SUV to significantly boost Skoda sales once it arrives in July this year.

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