All eyes on new

Skoda Octavia

Skoda Octavia reveal, 2019, with Bernhard Maier
Skoda Octavia, reveal, 2019, side
Skoda Octavia Estate, reveal, 2019, catwalk
Skoda Octavia Estate, reveal, 2019

SIXTY years after the first Skoda Octavia took to the road the company unveiled the latest model in an extravaganza of light and sound in its homeland‘s capital city, Prague.

In the splendour of the Prague National Gallery to the sounds of the city's philharmonic orchestra the Czech car maker revealed its new best selling model to the world's press.

And for good measure the country's Prime Minister Andrej Babis was on the front row.

The Octavia is the icon of the Skoda brand and by far the best selling model with more than 6.5 million produced.

Last year it represented 31 per cent of the company's total car production so a new version just has to be right and designers and engineers have been under pressure to deliver big time.

And deliver they have, with a car that - while still instantly recognisable as an Octavia - is now bolder, more elegant, more dynamic and far more hi-tech.

The fourth generation of the Octavia has not only increased in size it's also been given coupe-like styling to ensure it's a good looker.

Expected to be available in the UK in the second quarter of next year the new Octavia hatchback is 19mm longer while the estate is 22mm longer. Both are 15mm wider than the outgoing models.

And when it comes to baggage space the estate can now take 640 litres - up by 30 litres - and the hatchback 600 litres, up by 10 litres.

But that's only part of the story.

The new car is the first Octavia to get full LED Matrix headlights not to mention the sweeping rear indicators first seen on Skoda's sister brand Audi.

It's also packed with innovative new assistance systems including one - the Exit Warning system - which let's the driver know if another vehicle or cyclist is approaching when opening the door.

Then there's Collision. Avoidance Assist which actually increases the steering response if the car detects you are likely to collide with a pedestrian, cyclist or car.

The Octavia even checks every 15 seconds whether you have your hands on the steering wheel in case there's a medical emergency, in which case the car can be stopped in it's lane.

The ultra smart new-look interior now features a multi-level dashboard and a large freestanding touchscreen, a plethora of elegant chrome detailing as well as a new two rather than three spoke steering wheel giving a cleaner view of the dials at all times.

A head-up display is also now available as option for the first time.

The traditional gear shift on automatic models has disappeared and been replaced by a tiny rocker switch, freeing up space on the centre console.

The move is as a result of the new car being the first Skoda to get aircraft-style shift by wire technology.

It means there's no longer a physical connection between the gear selector and the gearbox.

And while the petrol and diesel engines available will pretty much reflect those on the outgoing range a 1.0-litre and 1.5-litre hybrid and a 1 0-litre plug-in hybrid will also be available just after launch for the first time.

And if your family happens to buy two of the new Octavias you won't have to worry about changing the driver's seat position or tuning into your favourite radio stations when you move from one to the other. You simply key your PIN code into the Skoda app and it will all be done automatically so you're ready to drive off.

No official prices have been released for the Mk IV range yet but it's widely expected that they will be up by around £1,000 across the range, which given all the new kit on board is pretty impressive.

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