1 Oct 2013
Skoda opened a new chapter in Australia with its repositioned Octavia.
Prices tumbled by 13 per cent in the entry-level version, despite gains in size, packaging, efficiency, technology, safety and equipment levels to go with the bigger redesign.
Available in a trio of engine guises initially, all are built on the Volkswagen Group’s MQB modular transverse architecture that also underpins the Mk7 Golf and Mk3 Audi A3, bringing streamlined engineering solutions as well as a circa-100kg weight drop compared to the previous model.
However a more basic torsion beam axle in all but the most powerful 132 TSI liftback, has replaced the multi-link IRS independent rear suspension system found in the last generation Octavia.
The Czech-built family car has evolutionary styling. Dimensionally it is closer to medium-sized rivals such as the Hyundai i40, by way of a 90mm length, 45mm width, and a 108mm wheelbase stretch compared to the 2003-vintage Mk2 model.
The upshot is a measurably roomier interior, as well as a bigger boot.
Gains have also been made on the drivetrain front, thanks to the arrival of a trio of all fresh or thoroughly overhauled four-cylinder units.
The majority of buyers are expected to plonk for the 103TSI models fitted with the 103kW/250Nm 1395cc 1.4-litre direct-injection twin-cam turbo petrol engine, driving the front wheels via a six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG gearbox.
Audi’s 132kW/250Nm 1798cc 1.8-litre direct-injection twin-cam turbo is what powers the IRS-equipped 132TSI DSG, while the 110kW/320Nm 1968cc 2.0-litre high-pressure direct-injection twin-cam unit introduces Stop/Start and Brake Energy Regeneration technology to the Skoda range in Australia.
Steering is electro-mechanical rack and pinion, while MacPherson struts continue to be the norm at the front end of the Octavia. Torsion beam vehicles include trailing arms and a coil spring, as opposed to four-link coil spring design with anti-roll bar found in the IRS-equipped I32TSI.
In mid-2016 Skoda announced the MY17 update, claiming at the time that it was the most affordable vehicle in Australia with standard adaptive cruise control and autonomous emergency braking.
These were on top of the engineering upgrades received in October 2015, when the NE series switched to Euro 6-compliant powertrains, as well as Apple CarPlay/Android Auto multimedia connectivity.
Since then, the 110TSI Ambition and Style front-drive variants have been powered by a 1.4-litre direct-injection four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine delivering 110kW and 250Nm of torque.