By Stewart Smith on 2017-02-13 - Stewart was the former motoring editor of the Coventry Telegraph and is now a freelance contributor to Eurekar. He is based in Scotland and specialises in First Drive reviews.
New Skoda Octavia an
even better buy
SKODA has given its big-selling Octavia a facelift and has gone to town offering a bigger list of useful standard and optional driving aids and safety gear for the hatchback and estate models with prices now starting at £17,055.
At launch the UK range features six engines, two body styles and seven trim levels - including Scout and vRS.
The range structure remains familiar with S, SE, SE Technology, SE L and Laurin & Klement. Order books for Scout and vRS models will open later.
The new look isn't that dramatic, but changes to the front include a quad split headlight design, the bumper has been lowered and lengthened fog light have moved higher up making it more like the more modern design of the recently launched Skoda Kodiaq.
It also comes with a larger radiator grille and wider honeycomb air inlets in the redesigned bumper. The front headlights are available with adaptive lights featuring full-LED.
Space available in the revised Octavia remains one of the largest in its class. Both the saloon and estate offer luggage compartments measuring 590 and 610 litres, respectively, and with folded rear seat backrests, up to 1,580 and 1,740 litres, making this a practical family car or for fleet use.
Inside, the Octavia comes with a redesigned centre console with a new-generation infotainment system plus all the heating and ventilation controls have been updated a heated steering wheel is also available as an option.
The interior also features many of Skoda's "Simply Clever" features, including standard and optional equipment including heated steering wheel ambient lighting with ten colour choices, and even a bottle holder which grips the bottle base and allows you to open the top using one hand.
There is increased technology and equipment on the new Octavia and all models, including the entry level S, feature alloy wheels, touchscreen infotainment systems, SmartLink ensuring that Apple CarPlay and Android Autoconnectivity is standard across the model range, LED rear lights, air conditioning, XDS electronic differential lock and automatic post-collision braking system.
SE models add cruise control, three-spoke multifunction steering wheel, driving mode selection, acoustic rear parking sensors and driver fatigue sensor. Dual-zone air conditioning, driver personalisation (including three keys), front fog lights and chrome finished door handles are also included as standard.
SE Technology models, which could be the biggest choice, feature even more equipment, including adaptive cruise control, Amundsen eight-inch touchscreen navigation system, wi-fi hotspot, and front and rear parking sensors, while SE L models add Alctantara and leather upholstery, full LED headlights, front assist, intelligent light assist and an umbrella under the passenger seat.
SE L models are also equipped with sunset glass from the B-pillar back, front grille finished in gloss black and a colour maxi-dot trip computer as standard.
In addition, the new Octavia also offers state-of-the-art connectivity. Skoda Connect comes in two categories: Infotainment Online services that provide additional information such as weather reports and parking space availability, along with real-time navigation details. Care Connect provides remote access as well as assistance.
As far as power units go there are plenty to choose from, ranging from the hatchback and estate 1-litre TSI petrol with an output of 115bhp, a 1.4 TSI with 150bhp and up to the diesel TDI 2-litre with 150bhp. The hot version vRS hatch and estate (orders opening later) offer units ranging from 184bhp TDI diesel to 230bhp TSI petrol.
On a run on mixed roads I chose the SE TDI manual hatchback with 150bhp under the bonnet which produces a very low CO2 emission of just 106g/km, and was pretty impressed with its handling and comfort.
It's a comfortable motor for long distance driving and, although not very sporty, it handles very well on twisty roads and the ride is good with the suspension soaking up all but the biggest potholes and rough surfaces.
Prices range from £17,055 and up to £30,025.
It's a quality product and well worth considering.
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