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First look: New Skoda Octavia revealed

First cab off the rank: Skoda has revealed its Octavia liftback, but a wagon will appear early next year, probably at the Geneva motor show in March.

Larger and lighter than ever, Skoda’s new Octavia liftback emerges in-full

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Skoda logo12 Dec 2012

SKODA has whipped the covers from the much larger new-generation Octavia liftback ahead of its European premiere early next year and arrival in Australian showrooms in the second half of 2013.

The latest iteration of Skoda’s top-selling vehicle is 90mm longer and 45mm wider than its predecessor, and has an extra 108mm in the wheelbase to yield substantially more cabin space.

The new Octavia is based on the Volkswagen Group’s lightweight, modular and highly adjustable MQB platform that also underpins the new Golf and Audi A3, and will find its way beneath a host of other VW models over the next decade.

Despite the extra size, the use of more high-tensile steel and the MQB platform are said to have yielded weight savings of up to 102kg over the previous model.

Despite the growth spurt, the new model is about 200mm shorter than the new Mazda6, meaning the latest Octavia – like its predecessor – slots somewhere between traditional small and mid-sized cars.

In the European market, where the Octavia is priced broadly in-line with smaller cars like the Golf, Skoda claims the new model will offer class leading interior length (1782mm) and boot volume (590L), plus more knee room, front head room, front elbow width and rear elbow space.

Penned by former Audi designer Jozef Kaban, the new Octavia has been designed to look like a sedan but offer the extra practicality of a hatchback courtesy of a roof-hinged tailgate. While recognisably Skoda, the new model features a more dynamic kinked C-pillar and shorter overhangs.

A wagon bodystyle will soon follow – GoAuto understands it will premiere at the Geneva motor show in March next year – while a high-riding all-wheel-drive Skout version will hit the roads in 2014.

A hot RS version, probably powered by the new Golf GTI’s 162kW/350Nm 2.0-litre turbo engine and an unidentified hot turbo-diesel, reportedly will appear at the Goodwood festival of Speed in July 2013.

The more upmarket cabin features new touchscreen infotainment systems and a number of Octavia-firsts such as a panoramic sunroof and keyless start, plus clever touches such as rubbish bins in the doors and a reversible boot floor, with carpet on one side and rubber on the other.

Higher-specified variants get active safety technology such as adaptive cruise control, high-beam assist, traffic sign recognition, lane assist, autonomous braking, a fatigue detection system and an ‘active’ bonnet to boost pedestrian safety.

A lighter and more rigid body structure and the fitment of up to nine airbags – including Octavia-first rear/side bags – completes the safety story.

Four petrol and four diesel engines will be offered in Europe, including an 81kW 1.6-litre TDI GreenLine version that consumes just 3.4 litres of diesel per 100km and emit 81 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre, plus a 132kW 1.8-litre turbo-petrol.

Other likely engines include the new Golf’s 90kW/200Nm or 103kW/250Nm 1.4-litre single-turbo petrol engines, plus1.6-litre 77kW and 2.0-litre 110kW turbo-diesels.

All engines are available with idle-stop and can be matched to either manual or DSG transmissions. For now, power is sent to the front wheels, but an all-wheel-drive version is confirmed to be in the works.

Skoda CEO Winfried Vahland described the Octavia as “the heart of the Skoda brand”, and said the new model had been improved to match the bigger expectations customers are placing on the brand as it matures under Volkswagen ownership.

“It embodies the good Škoda genes in the best sense of the word: lots of room, quality, precise workmanship, modern, mature technology, timeless design, high functionality and the best price-value ratio,” he said.

“Our customers’ expectations have grown. Our aim was to make this car even better for its third generation. This is reflected in the values of the new Octavia – it is a class of its own.”

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